Before disregarding this post based on what follows, I’m quoting a line from “this is us” which has been an indulgence this winter and as cheesy as it may seem I just love its rawness and the multiple existential micro epiphanies that are demonstrated by its characters in each episode.
In one episode, Mandy Moore’s character ponders on the stressed-out state of her husband whilst in the maternity ward and I thought this related a bit to the subject of men’s mental health. “Anxious can be a strange colour on our men. Their whole lives they are told to be men, to be in control, to “act like a man”, “take it like a man”, … And then all of this happens and it must make them feel so… useless, like they are no longer in charge. It must take a lot of courage for them to let other people see this part of themselves, this scared little boy who existed before the world told them they have to “be a man”, the little boy who once only needed his mother. “
I believe some men find it hard to reveal that vulnerable part of themselves, the part that they are “ashamed” of because it doesn’t fit the narrative of the person they are trying to be in the world, because they’re afraid it makes them weak and they will be called-out on it. But one can only be whole if one shows every part: the part that knows what they’re doing here and the part that is scared, scared of not being enough, scared of failing, scared of the uncertainty.
It’s important to let that part out in the light as well, even if it feels raw, embarrassing. In reality, everyone has that part within themselves, and it comes up more in certain life situations, depending on the person and their core values, so better know what that part looks like before it creeps up unannounced, unleashed even. When one reveals their vulnerability, they allow for others to do so too, they also open the opportunity for connection, with someone else who shares this vulnerability but also can become an example and inspiration for someone else.