If I had to pinpoint one thing that was the main cause behind the shocking suicide rate right now it would be this.
This one thing heals most problems in time, but it's one of the hardest things to do as a man.
I strongly believe this makes you a real man... but the pressures of society would typically tell you otherwise.
Because whether you like to admit it or not men have feelings too, emotions, negative thoughts and weaknesses that have a long term damaging effect if they're not dealt with.
Men have huge egos, fed by the modern society, the media and what we watch on TV, our fathers, our mates... this painted picture of what it takes to be a 'real man' is defeating us.
A man takes his own life every two hours in the UK.
Out of all suicides last year, 76% of them were men.
Turn your ego off for a second, put aside the 'banter' and listen.
Real Men Talk About It
Opening up and talking about how you feel is one of the hardest things to do as a man.
We protect an image we create, a perception, and we protect a strong ego which is hard to control.
We strongly believe opening up, talking about our weaknesses, pressures and emotions is a sign of being weak, feminine and unlike others.
But it isn't. It's a sign of strength, power and a sign of you becoming the most successful person you can be.
The Way We Deal With It
We mask our emotions and replace them with short term solutions.
If we feel worried, anxious or depressed about a situation we push it back and replace it with distractions.
We work more, buy more, drink more and even date more. Football, the gym, social media and starting 'banter' are again all distractions we use to mask the underlying sh*t we've got going on.
These distractions that mask how we truly feel make us feel good for short periods but deep down the worry, the anxiety and the depression simply hasn't been dealt with.
It's still there.
Marinating, getting worse and ready to arise at a time when you're not ready.
Years pass, months, sometimes even days and the issues we've been distracting ourselves from suddenly resurface, causing breakdowns, deep depressions and simply not wanting to live anymore.
All because we didn't open up, deal with them and instead masked them with short term fulfilment.
Sure it's one of the hardest things to do, but it's a lot easier than 80% of the things you do day to day.
It's just because you're not used to opening up...
How We Should Deal With It
The majority of women find it easier to open up, they find it easier to let go, to talk about their issues with their friends... We don't.
Sure, the pub on a Friday night with 5 of your mates might not feel like the right place to let go and open up but it's important you let go and open up somehow.
A close friend, a family member, a counsellor or even giving CALM a call (they have a support line at www.thecalmzone.net) will all have a huge effect on how you feel.
'The feeling is almost like when you've been dying for a piss and you finally get to go.'
I remember reading this and it's probably the most manliness way of explaining the benefits of letting go.
When you finally open up, let go of your issues and release your emotions the feeling is like a huge weight off your shoulders.
It's a feeling that will change the way you feel and secure a better future.
Being able to talk about the challenges and pressures you face rather than using distractions for them is the biggest thing you can do.
Real men cry.
Real men deal with their issues and aren't afraid to let go and open up.
Burying your feelings and masking them with short term fulfilment is a weakness. It doesn't show strength, it doesn't show courage, and its hugely damaging your future.
The options are there for you to open up... don't be afraid.
It can be as simple as writing it down.
Write how you feel, write the challenging thoughts you're having all down on paper. Sometimes just writing your thoughts allows you to remove a bit of that weight off your shoulders.
It's simply just you acknowledging how you feel and it's the first step to dealing with it.
Feel ok writing it down? Take it to the next stage and share the letter with a loved one, with a friend, and this will open up conversation. Conversation which now allows you to verbally open up too.
Get it all out, cry like you've never cried before if it feels right, express yourself and just know that opening up shows strength, courage and true masculinity.
Write it down, say it aloud, talk to someone, anyone... just express how you feel.
Open up and watch the weight from your shoulders fall.
Think about this for a second...
Ever walked into work and seen a woman upset in tears?
Sure it catches your attention and makes you wonder what's wrong but typically you pretty quickly believe she'll be ok.
But what happens if you walk in to work and you see a male employee crying his eyes out and getting consoled? It's more of a shock right?
It shouldn't be.
I'm not saying crying is the answer, it isn't. If you open up and don't cry it doesn't mean there's less of an effect.
Just deal with your thoughts, deal with the pressures, the anxiety, the stress better than you do now.
If you want to be that masculine alpha male take responsibility.
Take responsibility for your thoughts and emotions.
You control how you feel and how you deal with those feelings.
Ignoring them, burying them and replacing them with short term fulfilment isn't you taking responsibility.
It took me 4 years to open up, talk about how I felt and realise I'd been masking the underlying issues I had.
When my Dad died I cried, punched a wall, cried again, and then buried how I felt and how I was going to deal with those feelings.
I was 18, I went clubbing about 10 days later, got drunk...
I spent the next 3 years trying to show strength doing everything a typical young adult would do, and I worked as much as I possibly could to simply distract myself from having to deal with it.
I wasn't doing this purposely, it's just a natural response men typically have.
The anger, the grief, the sadness and the questions of why started to arise quickly.
No short term solution, no nightclub, no job, no one could distract me from it now.
Luckily I opened up, I spoke about the issues I was facing and learnt to deal with them.
They were normal. I was normal.
From this point forward my life turned around. I handled what happened to my Dad, my relationship with my family became stronger, my business started to improve and I started to grow and take on more opportunities.
Opening up is the best thing you can do.
Burying how you feel and using short term distractions is the most damaging thing you can do.
It will resurface, and when it does no short term distraction will ease it.
Again all it is is fear. Don't be afraid of fear. Face it.
Open up, break that fear and then talking about things becomes easier.
It's just that one breakthrough, that one shift in how you deal with it which will lead to you being able to talk about things more openly and handle things better.
A real man knows his place. He knows his purpose and he isn't afraid to talk about how he feels.
He's strong mentally.
No one is going to laugh or call you weak for opening up.
If they do, they've got more underlying issues than you have!
If someone can't accept that you need to open up about how you feel to move forward they're not someone you need in your life.
Write it down, talk to a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a counsellor, give Calm a call today (0800 58 58 58) or use their web chat service here and break that fear.
It's the best thing you can do.
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You can also find out more about me and my personal development here.