Men’s Well Being
“A brave man steps forward courageously into the shadows of the unknown and discovers who they are in those moments”.
If you do an internet search for ‘men’s health’ the first thing you come across are sites regarding fitness and image. However, to really get to the core of ‘men’s health’ it is more meaningful to discuss men’s ‘well -being’. Good health comes from healthy well being.
In my professional role providing counselling, I often observe an initial resistance by men to receive support, until they trust that they are not going to be judged for being fallible. This resistance (defence mechanism) is based on the conditioned belief that men need to maintain a front of ‘having it together’.
Men feel pressure to prove themselves as ‘having it together’ on many fronts. For example, men often need to present themselves as being ‘successful’; and may measure this success by having careers that others will approve of, or being able to buy ‘things’ that make themselves feel visibly important.
There is a conditioned competitiveness in men (and boys) that seek to be better than their perceived rivals. This conditioning is evident in sports, in their schooling and their peer dynamics. This inherent competitiveness drives men to do more, so as to be seen to be more.
However, this incessant drive comes at a cost and the demands internally placed upon the average man to do better can become toxic to their well being.
Men tend to struggle to feel their emotions and to be vulnerable in their expressions, as this may reveal a perceived “weakness” and a chink in the armour of their presented self.
As a member of a men’s group I’ve experienced the transformation that comes with being welcomed by other men and encouraged to be vulnerable. Within healthy vulnerability there is healing found in the process of revealing the ‘shadows’ of that which we may repress or deny in our selves. By shedding light on theses ‘shadows’ an awareness is gained that may provide guidance as to what healthy changes we can make to improve ourselves. Without this awareness and giving attention to these concerns we remain in ignorance or denial and allow ourselves to stagnate or deteriorate in our health and well being.
There is no bravery in pretending to be okay when you’re not. It takes courage to risk being vulnerable. A brave man steps forward courageously into the shadows of the unknown and discovers who they are in those moments.
Written by David Kalmar