At some point in all of my work with male clients, a discussion happens about who is a male in their life that they admire or someone that they wished they could be more like. At first glance, this guy is typically described by their power, financial status, ability to be independent and provide or protect those around them by using this status. A term you may have heard: the Man Box (https://www.acalltomen.org/resources/video-what-is-the-man-box/) often describes this type of man but also places limits on who you get to be. Without always being aware, by the time we are adolescents we are nudged away from expressing feelings, showing compassion, or acting outside of the expectations of others. Sometimes the answers I get when discussing what an ideal guy include: strong, confident, provider, protector, cut throat, aggressive, a boss. Stepping outside of this box is challenging but fortunately necessary and becoming easier the more we look more closely at who our real role models are. For example: Current statistics on depression and rates of suicide are higher in males and there are links to being limited in being the person you really are, or to receive help or support from those around you. We can incorporate new words into being a man and notice enormous benefits personally, or professionally. They can include being: caring, nurturing, kind, passionate, patient, intelligent, talented, etc. The purpose of this exercise is to see if we can include other qualities beyond those that exist only inside the “man box”.
I would love to hear your thoughts, please feel free to visit me at dapsychotherapy.ca