To Be a Man
Heartfelt message from Tina Thrussell
Neil sent me the YouTube video below earlier this month and halfway through watching/listening I started to cry. The lyrics broke my heart. It is so incredibly sad to hear that men can feel this way…
By the time the song was over I was really crying and feeling so badly. I turned to Neil and tearfully asked, “How did we ever get to this? How did our society get to this place of making men feel like they don’t matter as human beings?”
I still cry when I listen to this song. I think of all the men who feel like they have no voice, who can’t share how they feel, who live with such pressure to provide… All the men who quietly hold all their frustration inside that develops into deep, sometimes unmanageable anger. All the men who live with depression and hopelessness. All the men who have taken their lives because they just don’t feel that life is worth living.
I cried when I thought of these things, and when I realized that every time I ever took a man for granted, expected more of him than is reasonable, or spoke ill of him in public, I emasculated him and contributed to his plight.
The idea that men have been given a really bad rap since Feminism hit the streets a few decades ago isn’t new to me. Decades ago I started to feel compassion for the plight of men who struggled to find their place in a changing world. (My thoughts on that follow in the p.s.) And this video brought it all home to me at a deeper level.
When I tearfully shared these thoughts with Neil, he said, “Feel it… Uncensored. Feel as badly as you need to. And when you’re done with that, recognize that all of that doesn’t matter, what does matter…”
“…is what I do going forward!” I finished his statement.
Here is where this article turns around and STOPS turning this issue of Heart and Mind Matters into a downer, when it’s supposed to be an uplift.
Going forward, I’ll be more conscious of how I treat men. And when I see women emasculating men, I will gently and lovingly point out that men are human beings, too, who have feelings that they’ve been taught to suppress…
And point out that it’s time we give men support and space to be heard… especially the young men we are raising. Maybe it’s time we stop telling little boys, “Big boys don’t cry!” and give them space to honour whatever feelings they are experiencing.
Women’s groups have been quite pivotal in elevating women’s positions. It is very encouraging to me to know that men are beginning to find support and strength through men’s groups, too.
Women and men alike need to know these organizations are available, so that we can encourage men to seek the support and understanding they need to work through their issues.
I’m sure it’s no accident that Neil ‘happened to come across’ the video I referred to (and we show below) at the beginning of Movember. No, that’s not a typo. The month of November has been dubbed Movember by the men’s movement. Movember – Changing the face of men’s health – Movember This month is a time for men to unite, to grow a Mo (let their facial hair grow without shaving) to raise funds for assistance for men.
The Movember website says, “We Give men the facts, Change behaviour for the better, Create services that work for men, Unite the brightest minds, Listen to the community and advocate for men. We’re doing what others can’t. We unite experts from around the world to collaborate on projects that will fundamentally change the way men in need are treated and supported.
To ensure our impact is significant, far-reaching and long-lasting, we prioritize funding for the three biggest health issues facing men: mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.”
There are two other men’s organizations that I am quite familiar with, through indirect personal experience:
MKP ( Man Kind Project ), which Neil has been involved with for a few years. The MKP website says,
“We believe that emotionally mature, powerful, compassionate, and purpose-driven men will help heal some of our society’s deepest wounds. We support the powerful brilliance of men and we are willing to look at, and take full responsibility for, the pain we are also capable of creating – and suffering. We care deeply about men, our families, communities, and the planet.”
MDI (Mentor Discover Inspire ), of which a couple of good friends of ours has been involved with for several years. MDI says, “MDI is not a support group. We’re ordinary men who hold each other to a higher standard and help each other break through barriers to create successful families, careers, and communities. And we all joined after a conversation with another man.”
There is even a website called mensgroup.com that lists a number of men’s organizations and says, “There are numerous benefits associated with joining a men’s organization. For men, one of the hardest things for them is opening up about their issues. Men find it hard to talk about their feelings or emotions, even when their back is against the wall. Being part of a men’s organization gives men a platform to speak openly and share without fear or intimidation. This is the first step required to be able to get the help one needs.”
After feeling heart-broken by listening to that music video, I now feel encouraged that there is a movement to stop the cycle of despair and create supportive change for men.
My going forward is asking you to check these groups out and share them with the men you care about.
I am very proud to say that two excellent coaches, L. Neil Thrussell, and our good friend, Eric Mortimer, are in the midst of creating a new men’s group that blends the best of what they’ve experienced in the men’s organizations they’ve been involved with. I have no doubt they’ll make a powerful impact on many men’s lives.
Jordan Gray, Relationship Coach, has a webpage about how to start and run a men’s group, on which he says:
A men’s group is when a group of men meet regularly in order to better themselves as individuals.
It is not a spiritual group, though spiritual things certainly can take place. It is not a therapy group, even though therapeutic benefits do occur for all who attend. It is not a self-help group, even though selves do get helped.
It is simply a regularly held group container wherein men are able to heal parts of their psyche, and become sharper, wiser, and more well-rounded as people.
More on his webpage here
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