Being told to “Man up”.
In the UK, 75% of all suicides are committed by men, taking 84 lives per week. (ITV, 2018)
Us guys have feelings too.
It drove me to numbness, insecurity and nearly off the edge.
Now there’s always a cause for the effect, what could possibly create this defect?
[Find the Full VIDEO breakdown on HERE]
- Society’s Expectation (The “Attractive” Paradox)
An attractive man is to be “brave”. Why? The status quo is to blame. Where the idea of “brave” brings back men’s stiff-lipped, hard-boiled, hunter-gatherer heritage; to suck everything everything up, get on with it, and provide.
Whilst in the wake of danger, fear, or a moments of trauma, men are sought to be the stone-cold protectors. Protecting themselves from expressing their immediate, unfiltered reaction.
What’s to blame?
The media and big screens create a facade of what Attractive “Masculinity” should be. Mostly the warrior, superhero, antagonist/bad-guy personas that shed light on getting flowery with feelings as weakness. You don’t see it. Men’s instinctual nature, is put on the pedestal, rather than compassion. So much so, women are indoctrinated to seek these compulsive traits of our movie heroes in their romantic pursuits, and disregard anything dissimilar as “undesirable”.
2. Alpha Male Sociology
Fighting to fit in. This hits the spot with me and the way I grew up.
Conditioned by the sports team and alpha-male environments – I was “confused” and numb to the fact self-expression was really the cure to this cancer. ⚗️
Growing up, “popular” was to be jack-the-lad – the guy of the moment, throwing out no “uncool” emotion.
To be the laughing stock, leap the bridge first, or call captain of a team.
This was all makeup for coping.
The footy scores, girl-talk, and who received “man of the match” beat getting “flowery” with feelings amongst your pals. Quickly excused as “being a pussy” or thrown under the bus by banter or a swift subject change to the footy. ⚽️
So we conform. “Man Up” by submitting to human nature to surrender to the things that have us fit in, to self-protect and first feel accepted. Maslow’s Hierarchy shows before we can share our own ideas, we must feel safety. I was once in survival mode – unable to express my feelings, replaced by “lads” mentality and submitting to toxic “banter”, tear each other down rather than empathetically discussing feelings and each others general wellbeing.
Now this is what probably saved my life. I remember the time I was an absolute mess, mentally burned out to the brink of not being able to walk straight, or find direction. It was only until the role models I can gratefully call my parents stepped in to nurture my trauma, to listen, to love, and to coach me through.
Parents ft. University Graduation 2018
It’s not like this for everyone. Turn the tables to Dysfunctional parenting. Where our most dependant role models become toxic examples. Scarily
From birth to age 5, a child’s brain develops more than at any other time in life.
The most important years of our lives are spent consuming the actions of our parents.A child’s relationships with the adults in life are the most important influences on brain development. We learn, act, behave and form behaviours around the learning and teachings, we had no control over.
If views, opinions aren’t so healthy, then tricky adolescence is when views, opinions and behaviour can be corrected. For most it’s dampened by insecurities of parents or unwillingness for them to allow their child’s development.
Upbringing. Toxic parenting can either be the imitation or hide and seek game for our behaviours. Breeds our most difficult mental battles, scars that never heal, and an even stronger need for resilience to the other toxic examples of those very role models.
How can we overcome this?
Simple. Care less what peers and society think – lead first with your actions, and emotions then soon become a better example of what men should be:
1. Let emotions guide you, not imprison you to compulsive behaviour.
Mindfulness, meditation, and ways to understand how you feel in any given moment is the core to any improvement or awareness to needing to change. Confusion, irritation or bottling emotions up is dangerous, even deadly. Causes suicide, dysfunctional relationships, and personality disorders.
Without the key of self-awareness, we are wilfully ignorant of our powers to heal.
2. Know that you’re anything and everything in any given moment.
To be comprehensive. It’s OK to dip in and out of the attributes.
It’s human balance which should not be defined by the boxes society creates in gender.
To be truly special – be the best of both worlds. ⚖️
Strong and vulnerable
Funny and grounded
Intellectual and relatable
That’s ATTRACTIVE. When you’re a guy who can be open rather than reactive in any given situation. Besides, you’ll be a more interesting pursuit by being more than one dimensional, and most women love emotional availability… (Speaking on their behalf – from women I know).
Leave behind the “Rubik’s Cube” Game-Playing – where you’re becoming the bustle of pieces that need rearranging, and a lifetime to be figured out. It only creates more disconnection from yourself and furthering you from opening up.
3. Introduce Affection to your Arsenal
To feel connected we must first connect. To connect, we must communicate.
Especially amongst our fella pals. The male world is short of expression, and appreciation for one another, both verbally and physically. Let’s call it MAD (Male Affection Deficit) heard form a friend of mine, Tim Conkling.
What’s been stripped of male culture is the ability to bond. Torn apart by a competitive environment, for men to see each other as threats or a benchmark to “beat”.
Instead look at your fellow males – with an open nature, one that sees the other’s suffering, with compassion. Go give a hug, genuine compliment or simply care about how they’re feeling – even a simple ask goes a long way.
Time to step out of anxiety-inducing cultures and into our personal power; be OK to cry, share openly, and stop reciprocating hate to start resonating with our true nature. Let’s unpop the bottle, and heal the hurt. Sheesh it could be the thing that saves your life – it did mine. Now that’s what you call “Man Up”.
Let’s break the mould – and be the example.
A life without judgement, would be so much better. Don’t you think?