My fellow men and my friends, pay attention. We need to confront the elephant in the room—our mental health. We’ve built fortresses around our emotions, impenetrable even to those who want to help us the most, each brick laid with cultural expectations and age-old myths about what a “real man” should be. It’s high time we had this conversation.
The Emotional Straitjacket
Men are often bound by what I call an “emotional straitjacket,” a restrictive social construct that silences emotional expression. Picture this—you’re at a pub, or at a golf course, surrounded by your friends, but would you dare bring up that you’re struggling with anxiety? I thought not. We keep it light, maybe even share some ‘locker room talk’; we’ll talk sports, technology, business, women, or politics, but emotions? Rarely do we dig deep into our emotions. Ask yourself: why does that feel awkward? Look, this emotional straitjacket does more than just keep us from seeking help when we need it most; In the long run, it also clips our wings, preventing us from soaring to new heights of success.
So, next time you’re with your friends, consider sharing one thing that has been bothering you recently. Test the waters of emotional openness.
The ‘Man-Up’ Syndrome
You’re likely familiar with the phrase ‘Man up.’ This well-intended but often harmful message suggests that showing vulnerability is a sign of weakness. However, the reality is that asking for help when you’re struggling emotionally isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s an act of courage and maturity. If the idea of professional therapy seems daunting, remember that these are experts trained to help you navigate emotional complexities. While it’s true that there can be wait times in the healthcare system, you don’t have to navigate this period alone. Your circle of trusted friends, mentors, or support groups can offer interim emotional support. If you can find a ‘match’ 100 miles away by swiping right, surely you can find help when it comes to mental health. Seeking help is not an admission of defeat, but a step towards a fuller, healthier life.
Do this today, Identify a trusted person in your life, whether it’s a friend or family member, and practice showing vulnerability. You can start small—discuss a recent challenge and how it made you feel
Physical Strength vs. Emotional Resilience
I get it, the gym is the modern man’s sanctuary. And who wouldn’t want a ripped physique and washboard abs? Every time you see a bad breakup story on social media, the guy’s friend’s first comment is “See you in the gym in the morning, King”. But consider this—can you benchpress your anxieties and insecurities away? It’s a short-term relief and yes it has its value. Physical strength, though empowering, is only one facet of being a man. It doesn’t automatically bestow emotional resilience. Trust me; I’ve seen men who can deadlift twice their body weight but are paralyzed by the weight of their unspoken fears. The latest stats are startling:
- More than 4 times as many men as women die of suicide in the US
- 40% of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health
- 20 to 25% of men develop substance abuse in their lifetime.
- At home in Canada, on average, approximately 3,000 men take their own lives each year.
I reject this delusion. Don’t let the societal molds inhibit you, my brothers —luxury cars, ripped abs, glorification of guns and violence, substance-fueled escapades, body count tally—are merely fake facades. True Kingship-true leadership strikes a balance between staying physically fit, emotionally strong, and spiritually fulfilled. Achieving this balance can positively impact all other dimensions of your life—financial stability, fulfilling relationships, career satisfaction, and a harmonious home life.
Mindfulness: A Route to Healing
Mindfulness is not just a buzzword, nor is it a new-age gimmick (although it may seem so because of the commercial wave of advertisements and apps), it’s a scientifically proven age-old way of living. In today’s day and age, it’s a lifesaver. Meditating every morning has turned my life around. In my journey, I have taught this to many and I’ve seen it do wonders for other men too. It teaches you to watch your thoughts without judgment and to face your emotions without letting them overwhelm you. And hey, if you’re unsure how to start, give me a shout. I offer a solid beginner’s guide to mindfulness that could be your gateway to a healthier mind and life.
Try dedicating just 10 minutes today to sit quietly and focus on your breath. Notice how it feels and consider making it a daily habit. If you want to start, you can read here.
Can you benchpress your anxieties and insecurities away?
The company you keep can make or break your mental health. In my life, I’ve realized that true strength often comes from meaningful relationships. The idea that men should be lone wolves is outdated. Honestly, if you read history deeply, you will know, right from the kings of the past and army generals of the last century, it never was really true. Engage with friends and family, and create a circle where it’s okay to talk about how you’re really doing. Maintain relationships that contribute positively to your mental well-being. There’s power in unity; remember that.
Build trust by caring for those in your circles—work, school, sports clubs, friends, and family. As you show care, others will gradually open up to you, making it easier for you to share as well
Break the Mold, Break the Silence
It’s time to tear down these paralyzing stereotypes that shackle us to outdated notions of masculinity. Let’s embrace a balanced, realistic form of masculinity that includes emotional openness, compassion, and the willingness to seek help. If you’re like me, struggling at times but willing to change, make that decision now. Reach out, break the silence, and let’s initiate change from within. Just as we are influenced by societal norms, we can be the influencers of new, healthier norms. By creating spaces where emotional openness is the rule, not the exception, we can inspire others in our community to join us on this important journey.
One last thing
Before I let you go, I will ask you to write down, what is the one thing that you will do from tomorrow onwards to improve your mental health. Just one thing. Write down in your notebook, phone reminder, or your bathroom mirror. And start doing it. if there is anything I can help with, reach out to me at email@example.com. I wish you all the best in this journey we call life, my friends.