Mental Health: The “Silent Epidemic” Killing Men

The epidemic may be silent but enough is enough, men, we need to continue and raise the conversation on mental health. Did you know that suicide rates are higher among men, than in women, and that this seems to be a global trend? Furthermore, the suicide rate is steadily increasing with age, which means, guys, the longer we keep bottling up our emotions and suppress what we feel, we’re only more likely to arrive at that point of no return. There’s hope though, but keep in mind my advice and concern can only go so far. In truth, only you can truly save yourself, but you’ll have to drop the ego to do so, and let go of every way in which you define yourself as a ‘Man’.

Despite what we’ve been led to believe, we’re not born as fearless heroes and we’re not born to rule the world. I promise you that the world will not fall apart if we express a little emotion and communicate the truth about how we feel. In-fact, we’ll be doing the world a favour by doing so, making it more equal and life more liberating for all.

I coach a wide variety of clients internationally, but this year alone I have worked with more men, and first off let me tell you, mental health does not discriminate. Whether you’re white and powerful or you’re brown and proud, no one is protected from this. If you’re old and wise, or young and resilient, you are not protected from this either. Money, sexuality, what you do for a living, your relationship status, your good morals, your tough exterior, your balanced upbringing, and whichever other way you define and associate yourself with, will not protect you from the emotional ailments that feed on the suppression of truth. So if you think that this does not apply to you, you are very very wrong, and is just another reason why this problem among men has been dubbed a “silent epidemic

Coaching both men and women, I’m constantly learning of the many perspectives people have of the modern-day man, and the issue restricting men really comes down to representation and how it shapes expectation. For example, what parents expect of their sons, what partners expect from their men, and what men expect for themselves is something that is probably learnt and not naturally inherited.

Everywhere we turn there seems to be a representation of men being brave, bold, strong and successful, predominantly fearless in the face of a challenge and affirmed in his character. Physically weaker men and emotionally sensitive men are often portrayed to desire a stronger more masculine exterior, for they’re usually presented as inadequate and unattractive; as the ‘lesser-man’. Watch nearly any mainstream superhero or action movie, and it won’t be long before you see these characterizations.

Men with emotional ailments are taught to “man-up”, because, again, it is taught that it isn’t natural for a man to suffer emotionally. It seems the message we receive as boys teaches us that our self-worth is determined by our masculinity, and what it means to be a “Man” – which is a message that is very much incorrect. Now I’m not saying that these representations are negative traits, I mean as men we have little to complain about when it comes to positive representation, but if that’s all we’re represented as, then is it any wonder we have a difficult relationship with vulnerability?

We’re rarely represented in a vulnerable light, which is why the world doesn’t expect us to be vulnerable, nor do we really know how to be vulnerable without compromising our emotional integrity. It’s why we fear being seen as vulnerable too, because it conflicts with our learned expectations. As men, we need to widen the representation pool and campaign for more vulnerable depictions of the male identity, and we can only start this process when more of us open up about how we feel behind closed doors. It seems as if we’re programmed to forget that feeling vulnerable is a human trait, and that every man is human. Which I suppose is an accurate statement to make, as we only have to look back at religious texts dating back many millennia – the media of the day – to realize that most Gods and God-like characters in society were referred to as “he” and depicted as men.

I work with motivation for a living and as my career develops, I realize everyday the fundamental mistake we make when defining ourselves as men and why so many of us, all genders included, fail to attain any sense of self-realization. Truth is, we put our gender identities before our very own existence. We somehow fail to realize we’re human, and that our conscious experience is a human experience first and foremost, not just a gendered one. Any emotions you see depicted, and every single emotion you experience, they’re all human emotions, and any emotion that humanly exists can impact any one of us at anytime. It’s entirely a myth to believe that men aren’t affected by certain emotions, such as: insecurity, anxiety and depression, because they’re all human traits designed to help us navigate through life. Therefore, to deny or suppress such emotion is, from my experience and understanding, an extension of self-harm.

Being a “Man” is the equivalent of playing a character, and it’s when you don’t feel like that character, is when you fail to perform – in every interpretation of the word. It’s a human trait to want to survive, so if you’re not feeling like you can go on any longer, and you’re losing the will to live, then drop the role and realize you’re having a human experience, instead of a male one. Don’t think about resolving your issues like a man, you must resolve your issues like a human, unbound by gender.

Crying is a human trait; sadness is a human trait;  fear is a human trait; expression is a human trait; desire is a human trait, and anyone who judges you (yourself included) for any human trait, is just another being who has lost touch with their humanity, and submitted themselves to a restrictive human-like character.

Our human potential is where our focus and attention should be, and exploring life as a human as opposed to just a man, will detach us from the roles and ideologies which meddle with our self-worth and esteem. Deal with your emotional ailments as any human would, and set yourself free from the limiting beliefs of Man.

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CliffNotes Guide to Kick Starting a Life of Fulfilment

Rocket launch

Repression, frustration, doubt, uncertainty, anxiety, fear and insecurity are just some moons that orbit around a lifeless planet called Judgment. Today is the day to climb into your rocket and take off to rediscover your world, a world that is simple and exciting.

To help launch your life into fulfillment, here are 5 of my favorite lessons that may help ignite your identity…

  1. Love and cherish life.

Life is incredible; it’s completely wide open and available to be explored. There’s nothing really holding you back from anything you wish to achieve. Negative thought is your only restriction. Start by appreciating life by finding gratification in small and simple things, things that are available to you naturally.

Remember to maintain your desire for freedom, fun and fulfillment and define them in your own way.

  1. Let go.

So many people are fed up with life because they’re living life constricted. You may not even realize that you’re holding onto chains of perception, onto an idea of how others perceive you without any quantifiable evidence. It causes you to box yourself into walls of comfort, fearing the freedom on the outside.

I would bet that most things you wish you could do are completely possible; the only thing keeping you from your potential is judgment. Let go and stop torturing yourself with words and ideals created by man. Start living and start feeling, listen to the heartbeat of emotion and let your feelings guide your destiny.

  1. Say “yes” more.

Embrace the spontaneity of life and expand zones of comfort. Get comfortable with confidence; share your deepest desires and discover them. Experience and explore curiosity.

We’re all artists. We have many skills and abilities lying dormant just beneath the surface of our conscious awareness, don’t be afraid to access them, fear will limit your potential.

  1. Work hard.

Life is hard, living is easy. The harder you work to live, the less you live to work.

Consume knowledge, test knowledge and challenge it. If what you learn doesn’t make sense then don’t be afraid to ask questions. Work hard to expand your horizons; don’t idly accept what you’re told as fact.

Also remember, the great things we have in our lives today are thanks to the hard work and boldness of great people before us. Work hard to leave behind a legacy, work hard to reach self-actualization, pay homage to greatness and pay greatness forward.

  1. Embrace others and build a community.

There’s a reason why we have emotion, not only do they guide our lives; they connect us to one another. We’re all beings connected by the very things that make us human, invite people into your life should they graciously want to enter and be there for those you can help.

Life can be great when explored alone but phenomenal when shared with others. It’s never been easier to meet new people and expand your reach; you have access people across the world at your fingertips. Network.

I guess the message in this entire post is: don’t spend your life creating moments and memories of regret just because someone else’s judgment held you back. Success is reserved for the brave and the bold, be fearless to find fulfillment.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

3 Ways to Identify a Hater – Dealing With Negative People

From being bullied as a child to being discouraged for having the guts to dream today, I always thought shutting out negativity was the only way to deal with a person whose sole purpose was to bring me down, known as ‘the hater’. We all know that keeping persistently positive and moving closer to our dreams will often attract people who want to try to break our spirit rather than elevate it. I’m going to give you insight which might help you deal with these people better – it just takes a little understanding.

I found there are three types of negative people:

1. The hater that got left behind – the most common type of hater, these are the people who feel you’ve surpassed them in life. People who aren’t doing what you’re doing because insecurities and fears hold them back. They fail to understand your goals, dreams and ambitions but for some reason have formed an opinion on you and your mission. Often closed-minded in nature, these types of people are coming from a lack of understanding. To deal with them is to hope that one day they can overcome their fears and embark on their own journey.

2. The competitive hater – these people are the ones often difficult to distinguish, because they do have their own goals and dreams and they are working towards them. So why are they so negative towards you? To put it simply, your competition. Often jealousy driven, they believe dishing out negativity to those on par with their lives will bring them success. Remember what I said about brands? (click here if you need a reminder) Your brand image is conflicting with theirs, rather than brand themselves up; they try to bring you down. The unfortunate thing here is that there is an opportunity to learn from each other and find new ways to grow, here is a person that has all the qualities to be successful but they hold themselves back because they allow other people to determine what success means to them and allow other people to determine their confidence. My only opinion is to just be true to yourself, if you have a firm belief, believe in it, if you have passion, go with it and if you have a dream, stick to it. Appreciate this person for their potential, remember – if you want people to believe in you, you need to believe in others, show them how you’re happy on your way, hoping that it will encourage them to focus on their own path.

3. The hater on top – this type of hater, oddly enough, is the one we want to hear from but are affected by the most. They are the people ‘living the dream’, who are successful but dishing out negativity towards you because you’re on you way to greet them. Ironically, their hate stems from your journey, they fear your on that path to achieving success and they do not want you there. They’ve become complacent but you’re challenging them. Don’t mind them, if you’re hearing from them, then it simply suggests you’re heading in the right direction. You’re an upcoming threat in their eyes, they’re trying to knock you out of the game. As they focus on you, you focus on yourself

Remember to always return a positive favor when faced with a hater, insecurities and fears breed negative people, which is why I say stay persistently positive, your energy will eventually rub off on others and you’ll notice you’ll attract less and less negativity. The moment you give in is the moment you begin losing your way.

I noticed that the more these people tried to bring me down, they made me just want to aim higher. I hadn’t realized how motivating these people can actually be. Now let’s not get carried away, I’m not saying I need these people in my life but understanding them opens my eyes to motivations I can draw from them. On a side note, always remember there is a thin line between concern and negativity as well as critique and judgment so don’t start categorizing everyone as a hater who doesn’t agree with you. Positivity wouldn’t exist if negativity wasn’t around, we’ll always have to deal with it, so I say embrace them once you understand them.

VanCity