Men's Issues

When I think of the song "It's a Man's World" by James Brown, I think sadly we have made a rod for our own backs - or maybe previous generations have made it.

After all, the picture most of we males build in early life says that in order to "be a man" we have to embody values like strength, sexual prowess, being good at work, fighting, looking good, sports, driving (in my case it was riding motorcycles), and in fact, being the best at everything - including things like being able to drink lots of alcohol, attract the most women, eat the hottest curries and so forth!

Identity and Values

We cannot all be the best at everything, so somebody has to be "less than". If there is a particular attribute you cannot embody and significantly, one that you have come to value highly, you are in deep doo-dah my friend! That is because you will most likely feel you have somehow failed. Failed to be who or what you should be.

Changing World

Another problem we face, particularly as we get older, is that the world and cultural environment shift over time, so that the expectations we think that we have to live up to are sometimes the opposite to those nowadays. Perhaps you can think of some examples of this phenomenon. Here's one that springs to mind for me.

"When I were a lad..." you got kudos if you went out almost every night and downed many pints of foaming ale. In those days, I thought women stayed at home and did their hair/nails etc. However, the tables have turned since then. It is no longer acceptable to get plastered, but rather, it is often frowned upon if you overdo it these days.

Misogyny

Not only that, but as the lines above confirm, there used to be quite an attitude towards the females. These days apart from the tabloid press and other nefarious media moguls, there seems to be a distinct movement towards a fairer society, that values diversity.

I applaud this, which is just as well given my vocation, but it just serves to illustrate how things change and it is easy to forget, depending on who you associate with.

Mental Health

There are several problem behaviours men can develop if their masculinity is allowed free reign. Do any of these figure in your life?

  • Porn
  • Sex addiction
  • Heavy drinking
  • Anger
  • Feeling powerless

All of these may arise in your life because you are still trying to live up to the expectations you had in your youth. It may even lead you into bouts of depression, anxiety as you may feel you have failed, or feeling lonely because objectifying women led you to lose the ability to enjoy intimacy.

Existential Counselling

Looking at your identity and the world contextually is very helpful in tracking how you got to this point, and also useful as a way to re-examine and reconfigure how you see things.

It doesn't take very long, and doesn't hurt to take a deeper look at your priorities, so do think about getting in touch if you are having problems because somebody moved the goal-posts.

After all, I have a pretty good idea of where you are coming from!