The Counselling Shed
‘Basically, men live under the pressure of one unrelenting message: Do not be perceived as weak.’
In today’s world where ideals of masculinity include images of power, self-assuredness and determination, men are supposed to be strong and certain, they are supposed to be able to hold it all together.
Shame researcher Brené Brown says that metaphorically men are handed a box when young, with the words ‘CAUTION: Do Not Be Perceived as Weak’ stamped on the outside, whilst added to this is the cultural expectation: ‘You had better be great and all powerful’.
It is no wonder then that men commonly harbour feelings such as:
Am I successful enough?
Am I capable enough?
Am I rich enough?
Am I powerful enough?
Is my contribution important enough?
Am I big enough? (including status, popularity, height, phallus size, muscles…)
Am I certain enough about my direction in life?
All human beings experience times of self-doubt, uncertainty, fear, low mood, anxiety, sadness… but when men experience these feelings they can often feel as though something is wrong because they are not measuring up to this cultural ideal of being solid, stable and in control.
Men often fear being ridiculed or shamed for appearing weak and/or for expressing feelings of uncertainty, not being sure, being scared: feeling vulnerability. Sometimes it’s hard to be a man!
Men tend to be good at hiding, ignoring or dismissing difficult feelings – such as feeling flawed, inadequate or not enough – and so the prospect of opening up to another human being about such feelings is understandably threatening and scary.
It can be very difficult for men to find a situation or a person who they feel they can open up to without being judged or shamed for not measuring up.
Such a space can rarely be found in the workplace because men are supposed to be demonstrating how well they are performing. It can be difficult to open up in a relationship too because men are supposed to be stable and in control, and with friends men can sometimes feel a pressure of appearing to be happy, self-assured and content.
(* The limitations of a Counsellors confidentiality will be discussed in the first session).
If you have been struggling with not feeling enough or with any other difficulties that are not mentioned above, and you think I might be able to support you, then please get in contact for a no-obligation 10 minute chat, or email.
Please click here for my contact details.
‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’
Sometimes when gay or bisexual men read phrases such as ‘we are putting together a team of men’ there can be a tendency to question whether it includes them. So just to be clear I am affirmative of all sexualities and have experience of working with heterosexual men, gay men and bi men.