I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to help a good friend of mine through a rough breakup. Through this process he brought up something very interesting that has stuck out in my mind for some time – dudes have no where to go for self-help & personal development, or at the very least, they don’t know where to go.
At first I must have looked at him like he was nuts, but he continued anyway, “When you went through your break-up a few months back your girlfriends took care of you. They got you out of the house, they supported you when you were down. Plus, you had all these women empowerment groups to go to which helped you focus on something else other than your break-up. Women who read your blog sent you encouraging emails from all over the country. You even knew what books to read! Us guys…yeah we don’t have that. We’re told to suck shit up and deal with it on our own.”
He was right. I was floored.
This inspired me to do a little research for all the amazing dudes who read this blog (my friend being one of them). After all, I’ve always got sweet stuff for the ladies (being that I am a woman it’s just easier) but I’ve never put anything together for my male readers.
Some of you may be rolling your eyes, but I know for a fact you deal with a lot of the same crap us ladies do. Why? Because we’re all human and we’re all in it together. Besides, you read this blog so clearly you have some sort of interest in your own well being.
Granted, the difference lies in how you deal with stuff. Am I going to tell you to get in lotus position and share your feelings? Not exactly. Unless that works for you, of course.So bear with me as I dish on why men should get on the self-help bandwagon.
How many times have you felt like you had no outlet for how you feel?
Probably quite a few. That’s because entire generations of men have been told to conceal their feelings and “man up.” They’ve been told to pick themselves up by their boot straps and dust themselves off. Don’t get me wrong I love a strong confident dude as much as the next girl & I certainly don’t want the guy I’m dating to be more into chick flicks than I am, but that doesn’t mean you have to shut down and suppress how you actually feel.
As humans we need to deal with life. That means we get curve balls thrown at us, go through heartbreak and encounter disappointments. Emotions come up regardless of what genitalia you happen to don and for that reason alone you must learn how to deal with them. Take WWII vets for instance, they were expected to just forget about the war and move on with their lives. Consequently, many vets did just that and ended up with PTSD instead.
Moral of the story: deal with your emotions.
Does this mean get in a pow wow, take up Pilates and share your feelings with every person you encounter? Absolutely not. It just means find something that works for YOU. For instance, does working out help you get clear? Maybe you can take up mixed martial arts or some sort of sport. I have one male coaching client who boxes and has started a daily routine of plugging in his headphones and jamming out to some tunes. Those two things alone help him deal with whatever is coming up for him.
How many times have you felt alone? Like you’re the only one feeling a certain way?
Again, probably quite a few times. Old habits die hard, and even today men are much less likely to seek help from others or therapy than women are. In my own experience with dating, the only thing that really ensues is a distant man who pushes away for the sake of “being strong.” With the more severe cases they only end up projecting whatever emotions haven’t been dealt with and hurting people in the process. Women have, of course, been taught to do the exact opposite and what usually ensues is an argument we see mimicked on sitcoms all the time.
Now if all if you dudes are doing this it’s no wonder you feel like you can’t read that book, call a friend or find a therapist. Hell, you may feel like you can’t even talk to another dude! Notice how absurd it is that a man feels like he can’t talk to another man about problems they both share! Given that you are all hard wired differently than women are, wouldn’t it make sense to talk to a person who can see eye to eye with you?
We, as a society, need to change the conversation. It’s not just women who deal with emotions, men most certainly have them too and there is no reason they should be less encouraged to deal with them in whichever healthy way they see fit.
Did you know your health could be at stake?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, men turn to drugs and alcohol at twice the rate of women. Men are also more likely to experience anxiety disorders like PTSD. Some research suggests that women suffer from more cases of depression, however experts are starting to think that the numbers are skewed simply because women are more likely than men to recognize their depression and seek help.
Men are also more likely to deal with their emotions in unhealthy ways. This usually results in self-medicating with substances, anger, frustration, irritability or even violent outbursts. Men are also more likely to die by their own hands than women are. Why? Because although women are more likely to attempt suicide they prefer pills while men tend to go straight for the hand gun.
Clearly, whatever it is men are doing (or in most cases not doing) in the interest of their own mental health isn’t working out.
Where can men go for some self-help?
Lucky for you I’ve become somewhat of a self-help aficionado thanks to this blog. Below you’ll find a list of resources for all you gnarly dudes.
TokiiLab – They have games, fun articles and yes, self-help resources for men! In fact, you can thank these guys for shedding light on a lot of the astonishing statistics found in this blog post.
The Daily Love – This breakout blog which was recently featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday was started by a guy! It also features a ton of other male health experts, coaches and thinkers so you can live your best life.
Tony Robbins – You can’t have a blog post like this without mentioning Tony Robbins. You just can’t. YouTube the guy and prepare to have your mind blown.
Kute Blackson – Check this guy out for some awesome videos that are all focused on liberation. He’s also go great relationship advice.
Deepak Chopra - An incredible speaker, teacher and doctor who has a nifty way of mixing spiritual principles and practices with science. Whatever you’re dealing with, he’s got a meditation and a million books.
Ekhart Tolle – A powerhouse whose books will change your life.
The Art of Manliness - This blog is just effin’ awesome. A blog full of substance and smart content to counteract all the crap in men’s magazines. Also a nice power of example that argues against the recent theory that millenial men are louts.
Perhaps this list isn’t as a long as it would have been if it were written toward women, but it’s definitely a start! Do any of you men know of any great websites or books for your fellow dudes? If not, how about you start one? There’s clearly a need for it.