We arguably live in a patriarchal and hierarchical society. As a result, some people think that men cannot be victims. After all a society which operates this way should be favourable to men. But this is not the case.
Sadly, there are many occasions where men have been defeated by their own vulnerabilities, which often lead to a range of mental health problems, or even worse suicide. Take for instance Avicii and Mike Thalassitis who have both succumbed to this chasm.
Some men face obstacles which they struggle to get past
It’s a myth that men do not face obstacles. As Julie Zeilinger explains: ‘Even with ever-present privilege, men face their own set of destructive barriers that restrict what it means to be a man and how a man can express himself. This is especially true for men who are also members of marginalised groups.’
As a man, when you grapple with overcoming obstacles, you are faced with challenges that seem insurmountable to deal with. One thing you can do – before calling it quits – is to try and shift your perspective. As Harvey Mackay puts it: ‘When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at often change’.
Some men lose motivation to go on
One clear example of this is at work: while women are gradually climbing the ranks, a growing number of men seem to be losing their motivation.
This loss of drive holds men back more often than anything else. It can be very difficult to maintain motivation over long periods of time.
Motivation only lasts so long when we’re focused solely on ourselves. Think about how your mission will help others, and you’ll tap into a fresh surge of motivation.
Some men live their lives stuck on autopilot
So often, men can find themselves living on autopilot. This means that you are going through the motions of living without really feeling alive – living with very little intention on a daily basis.
The greatest agony in life is often boredom. If you find yourself feeling like you are living a dull life, or feeling disillusioned, you are only existing rather than truly enjoying your life. Chances are that you are stuck in the autopilot mode.
Next time you find yourself doing something that you have done a million times before, why not pause and ask yourself what other options are there? What would someone else consider? Life is full of surprises. We just have to find ways to add colour.
It might help if you connect with like-minded individuals. At MenPowerment Academy, we regular set up event to help men share spaces with other men.
Some men are scared by their own vulnerability
It’s been an almost universal expectation of that girls become women simply by reaching physical maturity. But it’s not the same with boys: they have to pass a test. They needed to show courage, demonstrate physical prowess or mastery of certain skills.
Essentially, the goal was to prove their competence as providers and protectors. In turn, this rite of passage conferred to men shapes their views of masculinity.
Some men are sitting on a dream that seem so far out of reach
When you first get the big idea, you’re excited. Maybe you’re going to finally run that London Marathon, or write that great British novel, or spend the summer in Spain. But all of sudden, these dreams become unachievable.
A useful tip that comes to mind is that you should remind yourself daily of the ‘why’ of your goal. How will you or your life be better after you’ve achieved it? Maybe you’ll be healthier, , a published author, or fluent in Spanish – whatever the benefits are, keep them at the forefront of your mind.
This is a topic so close to my heart. In fact, we touched on this on our recent visit at Men’s Radio Station in London.
Some men are constantly rejected
Rejection itself is seemingly a straightforward ‘no’. The other party places a firm boundary that they do not want to be deal with you – No, there will no second date. No, you don’t have the job. No, we don’t want to hang out with you.
But these ‘no’s’ are far from the only times many men experience intense feelings of rejection. They experience is in other forms, because there are so many expectations that men must fulfil.
There’s nothing wrong with being rejected. It happens to all men. What matters is that you learn something out of these rejections. Consider them as opportunities to improve yourself. Why did that person turn down your approach? What went wrong? How can you improve?
Some men face unrealistic expectations
Our society puts pressure on women to be slim and the link between this and eating disorders has been widely talked about. Unfortunately, the negative impact that societal ideals have on men is often overlooked.
This should not be the case. Men account for 15% of those who suffer with eating disorders. This figure is even more predicted to be going unreported, investigating the effect of the pressure put on men to be lean, large, and muscular is becoming more and more important.
Men deserve a safe space to talk about their frustrations.
If we strive to address the disease (and not just the symptoms), we’ll fix these challenges men are suffering with.
These are our motivations to create spaces for men like MenPowerment – We are determined to offer spaces and opportunities for networking to men so that they do not feel vulnerable.
Prashant Kotecha is a co-facilitator for MenPowerment. He brings wisdom, spiritual depth and humour developed through a decade of running international retreats.