In recent years mental health has become more talked about, understood and accepted. But there is still lots of stigma, especially around men and boys, as well as those who identify as male.
It’s odd that the world looks at men and treats them as though they should “toughen up” and “be a man” when in reality we are all humans, we all have emotions and that’s okay! Hearing parents saying to there young boys when they get hurt “your okay, your a big man” is sad. Most of us don’t even think about how often we invalidate children’s emotions and get those ideas are ingrained in them for life.
As I have been sharing my stories and experiences honestly I have come across a lot of support and outreach, I have also come across how flawed the worlds perceptions are when it comes to men and boys who struggle.
I found an account n Instagram quite a while ago, it’s called Andy mans club, it is run by a guy (shocker) names Andy who struggled with depression and got very close to ending his life. He has now created this community of men who gather together and are able to be vulnerable with each-other and talk about the real shit that they are dealing with. There are HUNDREDS of men who attend and participate in these meetings and it is very inspiring!
This got me thinking about how men are viewed in North America (Andy is in the UK) I have discussed this topic with fellow male instagram connections who have chosen to share their stories.
Have you ever noticed when you scroll through social media almost 100% of the content towards mental health, and self care or coping is decorated and aimed at females?
Aside from the dogs, it is all feminine content and I now take this into consideration before sharing on social media.
It is important for us all to understand that it’s okay to be emotional, Hiding them only makes you suffer and it doesn’t make you any tougher then if you were able to open up and be honest with yourself. Life is tough, beyond tough, it can be a bitch, and all of us have walked different paths but at the end of the day we are all humans.
I hope if you are reading this you will be able to reflect on your perceptions, the way you might be sharing personal content and how that can influence society and how you may talk to your son, husband, friend or co-worker .. any man or boy in your life and notice when you are being invalidating (even when you don’t intend to be!) as well as when you may have the chance to simply say “hey, I’m here for you”.
Starting today, take a look at the list below and try one maybe two out and see how you feel.
- Instead of saying “toughen up” or “man up” try .. “hey buddy, I know your hurt would you like a hug?” Or “ya that sounds tough”
- Make yourself aware of the content you create and share and what audience it is aimed towards.
- Reach out to those in your life who may feel that they need permission (sadly) to be human.
- Start a conversation with friends and family.
If you are a male, I want you to know that it is okay to be sad, to cry, to feel hurt. Horrible things may happen in your life and your allowed to feel whatever it makes you feel!
If your curious to see Andy’s man club you can find him on Instagram and the profile picture has “👌🏻” this symbol, and as he always says : 👌🏻it’soktotalk
I hope this gives you a smile!
Continue social distancing and staying safe! Now is a great time to spend time with family and have these conversations.
Talk again soon!