Be a man. A man’s man. Man up. Take it like a man. A man provides for his family. Never send a boy to do a man’s job. Real men don’t cry.
Enough already–we get it.
Throughout our lives, we’re always thinking about not being man enough.
What does that even mean? Who sets these standards? Why are they set in stone, and why is the bar set so high that we all feel like we’re falling short?
It’s tough out there for a man, too.
Men today are constantly being reminded of their privilege. And the people reminding us aren’t wrong–there are undeniable advantages to be a man in this world.
But along with that privilege come unique stressors and challenges.
We care about our families.
From one generation to the next, how to be a partner or father changes dramatically. Suddenly we’re expected to have skills no one over taught us or allowed us to practice.
Our families expect us to know how to balance providing and being present at the same time, and this balance can feel nearly impossible to figure out.
Why is it always about feelings?
As men, we’re supposed to transcend the unavoidable human experience of having emotions. Yet, simultaneously, we seem to be falling short when it comes to sensitivity and understanding of other people’s feelings.
And when (not if) we do feel something, we’re not necessarily sharing our deepest feelings with other men.
We don’t ask for directions.
All our lives, we’re groomed to present as strong, capable, independent and powerful.
How can you be all those things and admit you’re lost? What do you do when you’re overwhelmed? Who can you talk to when your go-to phrase is: "I don’t want to talk about it"?
We all need a place to put our stuff.
The stereotypical mancave, den, study or shed is the perfect metaphor for what it’s like to be a man. In homes of any size, somehow men enter a contract where there’s little to no room for their stuff.
Sorry, but you can’t not have stuff! Whether you like it or not, you do have feelings. You do get lost. You aren’t sure about everything, and you can’t fix everything without asking for help.
Holding it in isn’t the answer.
When we push down our feelings, they don’t disappear–they come out sideways, or they circle back in a big way. You’re a 3-liter bottle of soda that life is always shaking up, and you need to release some air a little bit at a time.
Therapy is an ideal place to let it out!
Maybe you need to ventilate, talk things out, brainstorm or even just admit that you don’t always know what to do. Or maybe you simply need to hear that what you’re going through is normal and that there are answers to your questions.
Therapy gives you the opportunity to take up some space and talk it out with someone who isn’t going to judge you for it or throw it in your face later.