I spend a lot of time in my work holding therapeutic space for young men to contact, explore and critique their own masculinities. This article highlights five things that I believe (based on observation and personal introspection) men need to do more of. I hope you find it useful!
Men Should Read/Explore Things That Go Against Their Worldview
This is something we all need to do, but as men, we are definitely guilty of being stubborn and extremely dogmatic at times. A part of learning is actively challenging and seeking out information that challenges our own perceptions of “reality”. Men for the most part often approach life with the "this is what it is", "what is the truth", and "who is wrong" lenses.
However, what we think we may know, can 99 times out of 100 be challenged by someone out there - you just have to open your eyes and ears. Life is about adding to the richness of your experience, and keeping things as they are is ultimately stagnation. Challenge those beliefs!
Suggestion 2: Explore The Therapeutic Path
Mandem, everyone needs therapy. It is important to understand that we are not a lone island that exists out there to fend for itself. There are people out there that will understand and support us, we just need to be willing to let people in. A lot of our anger, hurt and frustrations come from experiences we have not confronted and/or dealt with appropriately. The “defense” is often to push people away and self tend, but this only isolates us further and lets the cuts run deeper. Talking does help, and it is something that we all must do.
Suggestion 3: Cry
This holding onto tears BS needs to stop – crying is cleansing. It doesn't make you “beta”, it doesn't make you "weak" - it makes you human. Men often sacrifice their humanity in order to appear tough, but it is often those who aim to appear tough that end up doing the most harm to themselves. Express those emotions and give yourself the release you need.
Suggestion 4: Identify Your Privilege To Support and Advocate
As men, we have a position of power that we often don't see or acknowledge. It is important to use this power to support those that need us – not from a position of “saviourship”, but allyship.
I spoke in a past episode of my podcast about privilege, and culturally, generally speaking, men have that in abundance.
Our privilege blinds. It harms. It enables violence to occur. So, one thing we can all do as men is learn, listen and support those around us who don't benefit from our privilege but are most likely harmed by it, perhaps not through us, but through others. I am not saying be heroes, I am saying be human. Understand that there will be things you can't fully grasp, and is not your job to. Our job as men is to listen and uplift wherever we can to support and nurture.
Suggestion 5: Apologize - and Mean It.
Ownership and accountability is key in every area of life, not just business or friendships. Again, apologizing doesn't make you “weak” or “beta”, it shows that you are able to take responsibility. It shows that you are able to hear someone out, understand their frustrations, and apologize for any harm that you have caused...intentionally or not. Drop the ego and address your wrong doings!
This article was heavily influenced by a Winsider Podcast episode I released last week (at the time of writing). The Winsider Podcast aims to provide an insight into the minds and practices of high performers to provide clues and pathways for those wanting to change the world.
If there is anything that I have missed or skipped over in this article, please let me know! If you are attempting to learn from me, I would love to learn from you.
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