G’day folks, welcome to another coaching blog. Today’s topic is going to be “How to overcome your problems as a man”.
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So why is this topic interesting? Well, in my experience a lot of men have great difficulty processing the emotions that come up in the event of a stressful event. Often, they resort to anger, tantrums, or retreating into themselves. However, one thing they struggle to do is open up about how they are feeling.
So why do they do this? Well, probably because they’ve never been taught how to discuss their feelings effectively and are afraid of looking weak and vulnerable in the eyes of others.
However, being vulnerable and discussing your feelings doesn’t have to be done in a needy way. It can actually be incredibly empowering. And we’ll get into how to do this later.
But first I want to talk briefly about my thoughts on the current mental health situation with the modern western man.
What is the Current Situation?
First of all In my country On average, one in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives. Statistics are similar in other western countries around the world.
· Also, according to the Bureau of Statistics, the number of suicide deaths was approximately 3 times higher in males than females.
MRA’s (Men’s Rights Activists) and movements such as ManUp! have come about through most men’s inability to deal with their own emotions effectively. Unfortunately, especially with men around my own age this is the result of having fathers who have in turn been traumatised by their own fathers, many who have served in WW2 or Vietnam and had undiagnosed PTSD, which resulted in physical, mental and emotional abuse.
Now I’m not saying this so you can begin resenting your father, rather as a way of being able to understand that their father “did the best they could with what they had”. Remember that in the 40’s through to the 60’s going to a psychologist meant you were crazy (to this day that idea is still prevalent) and self-development and mental health was unheard of. That’s why if you talk to most older men the idea of Personal Development is akin to astrology or tarot card reading. It’s wishy washy mumbo jumbo to them.
Also, if they had an absent father, or a father who had skipped out on the mother they would’ve been taught to run away from their problems, ignore them and never face them head on.
So, how can a man overcome his issues effectively?
· First of all, I just want to say that if you are experiencing severe anxiety or depression, or thoughts of self-harming, then you MUST seek help from a medical professional. You have a medical condition caused by a brain chemistry imbalance. Basically, your brain is trying to kill you. This needs to be treated by medical professionals using medicine. It can’t be treated effectively by your guru or mentor or your life coach, and those coaches that say they can cure you of your depression are, in my view, fuckin dangerous.
· I think problems begin when people confuse clinical depression with a general displeasure with life. A coach can help you with the latter, not the former.
How does a man overcome his issues WHEN THEY DON’T HAVE CLINICAL DEPRESSION? How does it affect a relationship?
· Well, for starters, and this may sound obvious, but It’s important to acknowledge that there’s a problem. A lot of people, especially guys, get hung up on bullshitting themselves that everything is fine. So, this is the first step to get past.
· Then, seriously consider the problem, either by yourself or if you’re comfortable, talk about it with your partner. I think it’s important to consider your partner and how they might be feeling while observing you in your distressed state. If you’ve been distancing yourself from the rest of the family, or acting strange, she’ll likely be disconcerted at your behaviour. So, talk to her, openly and honestly about how you’re feeling. I’ll admit this can take a fair amount of courage for some men, because for years men have been told to never put themselves in a position where they are vulnerable. This is a mixed-up notion based upon the idea of showing strength in the face of your enemies. However, this is your intimate partner we’re talking about here. A good partner will only feel closer to you if you share your vulnerability with her.
· It’s important to note at this stage that a man takes responsibility for how he is feeling, and doesn’t attempt to push responsibility for how he is feeling onto anyone else. For example, attempting to blame others for how he’s feeling, or the situation he’s in. Or demanding that someone else change to make him feel better. That’s simply pushing your problems onto someone else. Conversely if a man’s partner allows him to push or blame his problems on her and she capitulates to this, then that’s no good either, as she’s enabling her man’s bad behaviour. You’re dealing with your problems, she doesn’t have to step in like she’s your mummy and make everything better for you.
So, it’s ok to cry and express your feelings as a man, and it’s healthy to feel your emotions authentically. But a man takes action while feeling these emotions to make breakthroughs and move towards achieving a better result for himself.
It’s through this process of taking action that confidence is rebuilt. Confidence, like success, is a journey. Not a destination. It’s like travelling through a country you’ve always wanted to visit. It’s always been there, you just needed to take action to discover it. This is what a woman wants from her man, to solve problems and move forward in a positive manner. This allows her to feel safe. A man not living to his full potential will dither and procrastinate and be unable to make decisions that will continue to enrich and improve his position and circumstance in life. It’s when a man is in this situation of being unable to make decisions and take action that his woman will begin to doubt his strength and therefore fear for her safety. When she initially notices this behaviour in you she can begin by mothering you and gently encouraging you to improve. However, if your behaviour persists, she will grow more frustrated with you over time. Eventually she will lose confidence in you as a man and have to move into her masculine in order to make up for your deficit in that area. This will cause her to be bitchy towards you, as she resents having to be the man in the relationship. The sex will dry up, because she’s not a lesbian and doesn’t want to have sex with a man acting like a woman.
· A man takes the negative experiences he has in life and asks himself, “what can I learn from this”? How can I improve my life based upon this experience I’ve had? If you view the world through the lens of even the most horrible of setbacks contain the opportunity to learn something that will enrich your life in some way, then you can never be beaten. You have to dig for the diamonds in every negative situation you encounter. Only then will you be able to move through the experience being thankful for having it.
· It is important to have the patience, persistence and perseverance and confidence that, if you do more things right than wrong, your life will improve incrementally. It is not reasonable to expect that massive changes can occur overnight. Long lasting changes occur over time after focussed action has been taken. You can’t grow a successful business in a month, and you can’t grow a successful life overnight.
· But, as Dale Carnegie said ““Inaction breeds fear and doubt. Taking action breeds confidence and courage”.
· Focus on what you can do right now today, one little thing, that can move you towards attaining your goal, whatever it is. If you do one small thing each day that moves you towards your goal, you will gradually build momentum towards achieving that goal.
Or In other words, “You have to be a participant in your own rescue. Or for those who are religious, God helps those who help themselves.”