I don’t know who else needs to read this. -
I know I do. -
Many men attach their self-worth to their ability to “produce”, provide and protect. This is the very reason why the current pandemic is hard for many of us. Many men associate their identity with their ability to perform; when this ability is weakened or when it disappears, we tend be feel swallowed into the deep void of anxiety. While I know this theoretically, I have not been socialized this way. The deeply ingrained performative and restrictive view of masculinity is part of me; and I know it is part of many of us. Therefore, it is also up to us to openly talk about it and to change it.
If we don’t value each other and ourselves, how can we expect society to do so? If men want empathy and compassion from the world, we need to have empathy and compassion for ourselves and for each other. Society knows how to shame men, how to punish men but society is currently unequipped to deal with the emotional wounds of men: it should not be surprising since men have been “making the rules” for so long.
o We need to stop enforcing emotional stoicism as the norm for “performing masculinity.”
o We need to break the lethal cycle of isolation and silence that leaves us disconnected and unfulfilled.
o We need to let little boys know it is ok to feel, and to express emotions outside of anger. We need to let them cry if they need.
o We need to openly talk about our mental health issues, and our struggles.
o We need to prioritize our health: physical, mental and emotional.
o We need to make the conscious effort to honor the full spectrum of how we feel and to learn how to process our emotions in healthy ways.
All of this to say, my brothers, that you are worthy; even when you are tired, unproductive, sick, struggling, jobless, sad or worried.
Thankfully many advocates like @daringtodad
and organizations like @acalltomen and @_evryman_ are amplifying this important message and are encouraging the mental, emotional and community care of men.
You don’t have to “produce” anything to have inner value.
Internalize this important message: You are a (hu)man being, not a human doing.