Many men today have lost their way. Some have said that we are in the midst of a crisis of masculinity. Perhaps you are confused about what is expected of you as a man? Or you feel stuck or inadequate in some way?
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 40 in the UK. Let that shocking fact sink in. I believe that this is because most men don’t talk about their struggles, they bottle things up thinking that is what it means to be strong. I call bullshit. It isn’t strong to hide, bury or run away from your feelings. It takes true courage to face them and work through them.
Some men hide their fear and confusion in an unhealthy, ego-driven masculinity that is about bullying, manipulative, power and control. These are the men whose behaviour has given rise to talk of ‘toxic masculinity’. This is not true strength but is driven by fear and insecurity. Strong, empowered men don’t bully, intimidate or control others.
On the flip side, some men have become passive, sheepish and timid – afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. Too scared to take a risk or challenge themselves. These men retreat from life, seeking out what is comfortable and easy, settling for a kind of existence that is much less than he is capable of. Just like the ego-driven bully, the timid man is also driven by fear. He often sees himself as a victim and will criticise, blame and complain without taking responsibility or decisive action to change his circumstances.
Some men, sensing that they want more than these two fear-driven alternatives, set out to master the body through sports, martial arts and strength training – building impressive physiques, competing in various sports and becoming strong, skilled and capable physically. Or some channel their energy into intellectual and academic pursuits. But as impressive as these men may be, many of them still run from their emotions and bury them deeply, avoiding and numbing them through alcohol, pornography and technology addictions.
Some men have gone the other way, men of the heart – those who have rejected traditional ideas of masculinity and embraced vulnerability and spirituality. Many of these men are beautiful, sensitive and self-aware individuals, but could some of them defend themselves or protect their loved ones if called upon to do so? Do they possess the physical and mental strength, the grit and discipline to overcome adversity?
Better Man Coaching starts from the position that we don’t have to choose. That we can become empowered, integrated, actualised men.