International Men’s Day Thoughts

International mens day 2

It is International Men’s day. Since we work in the field of mental and emotional health I thought I’d put a couple of random but interrelated thoughts down.

This years themes are

Making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys
Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity

 

Women can be part of the problem

A lot is written, and very much of it is true, about our misogynistic society. There are unhealthy parts of our society and there are also expectations that run the other way. There are still plenty of women who expect men to be the stronger, handier, more solutions focused part of the partnership. As we know with attitudinal changes that are much needed, such as those around racism and misogyny, they take time to happen. Part of the process is those that resist, learn to speak the language but not really believe it or act upon it. 

This also happens in the “it’s ok for men to be vulnerable” part of our world. There are women who talk the talk but their expectations of their man do not walk the walk. Ergo, even if they don’t say it their men folk know that to feel vulnerable and to need support is, in that relationship, a sign of weakness.

Don’t think that we already have our support groups in the mates we play football with or go drinking with. They form a different part of our lives which often has no room, either, for vulnerability.

Women please, genuinely, openly, supportively give your men permission to be human.

 

True strength

We have stated this before and it applies to men and women alike. Feeling vulnerable and ploughing on regardless to the point where you feel ill is not a sign of strength, or intelligence for that matter.

Recognising your limitations in that moment and taking time to adjust means that you can come back later and push yourself further. Recognising limitations is not giving up, it is simply looking after yourself.

To quote Simon Sinek “True strength is the courage to admit our weaknesses.”

 

What is the anger hiding?

Our cultural inability to deal with vulnerability is most pervasive in men. This means that many of us have two ways of dealing with feeling vulnerable. Either we bury it, in which case it will come out later with more power than it was buried with, or we mask it with anger. This means that for those facing an angry male, he may not actually be angry. He may be covering up his sadness, his fear, his hurt or his shame with anger. It’s a form of protection. 

Of course us humans, being the complex beings that we are, he could simply be angry because that is a feelling too.

We need to get better at accepting feelings of vulnerability for what they are. They are feelings. They come and go. None of us expect, when we feel happy, for it to last forever. It would be quite boring if it did. Yet, when we get visited by feelings of vulnerability (sadness, hurt, shame, fear) we act as if they are going to be here forever and bury them as deep as we can. This is a self fulfilling prophecy. By burying them we consign ourselves to carrying them with us forever increasing their power over us the longer we do it. By accepting them for what they are they can visit us, hang around a little while, and move on.

 

How do I tell my loved ones I need support?

This is a common question we get asked.

The first step is acknowledging that we are at a place when we need support and understanding that the acknowledgement of that is a sign of strength. 

The next step is to put that into action. It is no one else’s responsibility.

Language such as “I am feeling over challenged and may need to take some time out” or “I recognise that I may be letting things get on top of me. I could do with some support for a while” Whatever suits you.

It is worthwhile understanding that if you have been bottling stuff up for a while, because you think you are meant to be strong and not talk about it, it is quite likely that the moment you articulate that to someone it will feel emotional. You may even cry. That is ok. Crying is cathartic. It is a sign you have made the right choice. It is a sense of release and relief. Welcome it, smile through it and afterwards give yourself this message… “Well  done!”

 

Finally, none of us are perfect. We all know that. So stop putting yourself under exceptional pressure to appear to be perfect. You don’t have all the answers. It is ok to ask for help. In fact, it is a sign of a capable and healthy strong person that they recognise when things are not going the way they thought and they take actions by asking for help.

 

Ways we can help

  1. Contact info@calmpeople.co.uk and ask for a chat. If we don’t think we are the right people to help we will tell you and guide you to the right person. We don’t abandon you because your challenge is outside our skillset.
  2. Join a weekend workshop. The link to them is here. They started off as Anger Management based programmes but actually at least 50% of people who join them are there to develop emotionally. Never underestimate the power of group work.
  3. If you really don’t want to get help from a human go to www.myinternalworld.com and subscribe to that for just £5 per month. In there you can get a full emotional health assessment, a personalised 20 page report to learn all about yourself and about £600 worth of workshop material to help you learn strategies and tactics to improve and maintain your emotional health.
  4. If you are an employer wanting to help your staff then take a look at our range of workshops and seminars here and look for some of the things people have said about their experience. We really do make a difference.

 

There is no shortage of resources and help out there. It’s about acknowledging you need a little support and making the choice to seek it out.

 

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