One of the challenges for men in the modern world is to accept that they have stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. Women now expect their man to be open and share his feelings. In previous generations men were expected to go to work and provide the money. This was not healthy as men have as much of a need as women to express and heal their feelings. This article will give you tips on how to seek therapy and handle your feelings in a productive way.
- find a therapist whom you are comfortable with
- notice when you get angry and see if there is anything else you are feeling
- examine who your supports are in your life, and develop your support network
- recognize that talk is not the only thing that helps men, but it should be included
- use your own personal style of sharing
Since it is often hard for a man to share his feelings, it is important to find a therapist that you are comfortable sharing with. If you feel comfortable by the end of the first session, then you are with the right therapist. If you are not comfortable, it is okay to shop for another one.
Many men mask their vulnerable feelings with anger. Men have been taught to be tough and protective of others. Consequentially, if you feel sad, scared, or your feelings are hurt you cover it with anger. Many men believe that it is unmanly or weak to cry, look scared, or care what others think, so they express anger instead. It is healthy to be objective and ask yourself what you are really feeling. Your therapist can help with this.
Many men have friends who they play sports, fish, or hunt with but would not talk to about their concerns. It is important to have at least one or two friends whom you can share your personal concerns with. This could include concerns about work, your family, your kids, your ambitions. Ideally, you could have at least one male friend and one female friend. This could include family members and your spouse.
When men get upset, what’s the first thing they do besides yell? You may go out and run, tinker with the car, or pack the fishing gear. Often you do not want to talk immediately. It is okay to do an activity first as long as you then talk to a trusted person.
You rarely if ever see one man approaching another and saying “You hurt my feelings.” We just don’t express ourselves that way. There are ways to express yourself without feeling embarrassed about your vulnerability. In men’s groups, when the members get comfortable, they begin to trust each other.
There are many men who still think that they are supposed to handle everything and any expression of vulnerability is an assault on their manhood. It makes more sense to believe that part of being a man is to have your full range of feelings and express them comfortably. You are not weak just because you express your feelings.
If you are asked what’s wrong as soon as you get upset you may not want to talk immediately. However, keep in mind that the person only wants to help. A good compromise would be to politely tell them that you don’t want to talk now but you will talk later. This works as long as you really do approach them later and share.
While many men have trouble expressing their feelings, some men go to the other extreme and complain about everything. These type of men come to therapy when their wives, mothers, or other significant people in their lives get tired of hearing them complain. There is a difference between a man who had a rough day at work and needs to vent, and a man who complains about everything. If you tend to complain about everything, share that with your therapist and work towards a solution.
Many men might think of therapy as long and boring because you tend to want instant solutions to problems. Often the work towards solving emotional problems takes time, and may not be as fast as getting a new contract or putting in new piping at work. Ironically, it is useful to think of your issues as challenges and goals, the solutions are not always clear cut, and it takes time.
This idea is a continuation of the previous advice. Therapy can be an opportunity to learn about yourself, including things that you never suspected. You can learn about beliefs, feelings, and other attributes you have. If you learn things you do not like about yourself, you can see the resolution as a challenge. It can be an adventure!
Men can benefit from therapy when they have the right attitude and keep an open mind about it. If you follow the leads from this article, it can help you get the help that you need and maximize your use of therapy.
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