We all have the potential to develop mental health problems no matter how old we are, whether we are male or female, rich or poor, or which ethnic group we belong to.
I think men may need to be taught to think beyond their own stereotypes because our boys are being taught it’s not manly to cry or show vulnerability. Some men see mental issues as a sign of weakness or as something they should know how to snap out of it. They would often rather bottle up their feelings than to seek help, hard men(Smiles).
How can we let our young men know it’s ok to cry? We as a society are failing our boys, we as a society are putting a lot of pressure on them or are they being hard on themselves?. How do we create a culture that doesn’t leave them so lonely, isolated and in pain? .
Having solid mental health doesn’t mean that you never go through bad times or experience emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change.
Anyone can suffer from mental or emotional health problems and over a lifetime most of us will. This year alone, about four in five of us will suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. It’s normal to be afraid, of course, it’s a frightening time. We’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, with cities and even entire countries shutting down. And all of us are watching the headlines and wondering, “what’s going to happen next”.
As long as we’re focusing on questions with unknowable answers and circumstances outside of our personal control, this strategy will get us nowhere. Like my sister will always say, “Feel what you need to feel, and then let it go, do not let it consume you. It’s ok to be afraid, it is ok to be sad, it’s ok to be stressed, you just don’t let it consume you.
I used to feel uncomfortable seeing a grown man cry, then I asked myself, “Are they not human” ? Sometimes, they need to let those tears out, tears are emotions that don’t have names, tears can be healing, crying it out can reduce tension and increase feelings of relief. Zora Horston said “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it”.
Men have feelings too, people have the preconceived notion that men simply do not have feelings. The truth is that men have a much harder time processing those feelings. Societal expectations have taught men not to display any emotions, men are taught from an early age that they need to be strong , they begin to equate emotions with weakness. Some men are afraid of being judged or looking like a “girl”. Men are usually ridiculed if they express the softer emotions, especially in the presence of other men.
They need to know talking about their feelings is crucial to their well-being, bottling up their emotions on the other hand, can lead to a build up of stress in the mind. We need to champion vulnerability, We need to let them know they are allowed to have and express their feelings, they are allow to cry and they are allow to screw up without calling into question their “Manliness”. It’s time to redefine manhood to celebrate emotionality and softness.