We can’t always be strong.
Sometimes we just need to be honest with our mates and say…
“Actually bro I’m not doing very well.”
Some will look at our vulnerabilities and call them weaknesses but those who actually care will just be there with us, regardless of the situation we’re in. Guy’s in New Zealand have this shocking habit that I want to reframe in today’s conversation where they just can’t seem to muster up the strength to actually admit their vulnerabilities.
It comes down to trusting other people enough to open up about it. We won’t rely on other people to help us reflect on things. Because we can’t talk about it with our friends, we hardly talk about it at all.
How we reflect is really important. How often we think about our day, how often we think about our priorities and not just which shop does the meanest pies or which clubs attract the hottest chicks.
Reflecting is not my strong suit either. Ironically it takes a reflective blog piece to figure that one out… It doesn’t matter how many times we come to this digital space and admit to ourselves that we are flawed beings, but what matters is what we take away from it.
How we mold our perspectives will ratify the decisions we make. It determines our lifestyle. It defines the method we use to action what we say and how we actually learn from our life lessons. Knowing is knowledge and knowledge is, after all, learning in action. Knowing when to lend a hand out to our brothers, not needing a prompt because we probably won’t get one, but taking the initiative to ask our boys if they’re all good.
Guys enjoy spending time mucking in together. Playing Xbox, driving, eating food, working alongside our mates, playing sports with the boys. Letting off fireworks with our mates, breaking into abandoned buildings with our mates, females included. But too often the boys fail to cry with each other. Share our vulnerabilities with one another. Say precisely how we feel with absolute clarity, no bullshit.
We as guys just assume that we’re not allowed to feel sad. We believe it’s unacceptable to be straight up. Born and raised in a culture we feel is never going to change, but what good is that culture if we can’t just be ourselves?
How can we learn to accept and appreciate our differences if we are so transfixed on staying inside the norms of our grandfathers? We shouldn’t expect other people to tidy up our mess after we screw up as a result of not dealing with our issues. Mental stability is about as important as having legs. We are liabilities to other people if we cannot express our issues, we need to say how we are feeling instead of feeling ashamed of having a bad day.
Loving people and celebrating the relationships you have with them is more powerful than being alpha. Guys have a tendency to forget how important relationships are in their lives. We easily run our mouths off and say shit that doesn’t mean anything. Like acting tough at the pub and causing domestics in front of everybody. Like abusing our kids because there is something wrong in our lives that makes us need to feel powerful.
These are real problems locally here in New Zealand. We abuse our kids. That may not account for me as I do not have any kids. But people not much older than me and not much younger either often are parents.
History cannot repeat itself. Young people cannot be collateral damage to our undisciplined lifestyles. Our generation needs to be the gang that confronts the systemic abuse. Our generation needs to take the lead and be leaders in shaping a new culture of men who grow up willing to show their love of others. That starts with being honest with ourselves and showing gratitude for the lives we have around us, for the people who we call friends and family.
Because too often we get lost in translation. The most common way a man shows that they are hurting is through violence and aggression. In that space, we lose loved ones. In that space people get hurt. In that space, we lose our sense of identity and we forget that relationships are more perishable than we think.
One night I was at my old halls of residence and the news that my girlfriend had slept with another person was kind of relaying in the back of my head. I’d been going through a really hectic stage, working multiple jobs and studying architecture full time. Basically, my health was being affected because I wasn’t sleeping or eating properly.
My GP had me taking antibiotics to fight some of the viral infections I’d developed from my weaker immune system. One of the things my friends and family always taught me was to never mix medication with alcohol… But again out of that desperation factor, I kind of didn’t really give two shits about it and drunk heavily anyway.
I’ll spare you all the gross details but essentially what happened was I ended up taking out my rage on some of my closest friends. Out of anger and all the sadness that had built up from the weeks of not dealing with my stuff and failing to get the help that I needed, it left me with broken friendships and cuffs around my wrists.
The reason I resorted to drinking was that it numbed my anxiety towards feeling rejection. It was out of a deflated self-esteem and that overwhelming fear of rejection that built up into this massive, out of proportion outburst. It was my way of getting back in control of the situation, my way out.
You cannot catch an escalator to inflate your sense of self without standing on top of others. I loved my friend, she meant a lot to me then. There were endless apologies, conversations detailing every reason behind why I had said what I did, but I never got that relationship back again. Not even now.
We used to be there for one another and draw pictures for our assignments after school. Banter over Facebook and walk each other home after nights out on the town. She was my friend and I still dearly miss her as that person. But what I didn’t take into account was recognizing that my relationship with her was only a one-off thing. There was no respawn of an unaffected her, it had happened.
Guy’s in our country don’t realize that when they take out their aggression on other people, it cannot be unseen. Guy’s don’t take into account that they are very strong and that using that strength in the wrong way can leave them out of the loop. They can become “Dave.”
It’s so important to cherish the relationships that you have with other people. Those relationships can be the anchor of our suffrage. They can be the voice of reason when we decide to lose the plot. They can help us with our homework after our teachers have left. They can drop us off at the airport early in the morning with a hangover after a night out of town. They can bail us out of jail when we stuff everything up. They can support us through the tough stuff that we all need to go through.
Who knows, maybe we might just find out that our mates need help too…
Thanks for checking in!