This week starts the beginning of Men’s Health Week. What does that mean for you?
In my life I have amazing men, husband, sons and grandsons. Each has their challenges and triumphs but mental health plays a part in their daily life as it does for a lot of us. Men are unique in their outlook, emotions and in what we as partners, parents and society place on them. As a wife, mother and grandmother, I consciously try to pause and remind myself that they are not me and nor do that respond like me. That’s a good thing, yes it is. The world would be a boring place if we were all the same. We each have our own unique story. The past 2 years for me have been in equal parts, hell, joyful, filled with love, frustrating, confusing and overwhelming. I’ve learnt a lot about myself but more importantly a lot about them. Age really does give prospective. It not my job to fix everything or shield them from the world, rather love and support them to be in the world their way.
So, what do I try to do for my men? I practice patience and kindness. I breath in and pause, so I am responding and not reacting. That is not to say I always get it right. I, like them are human. Yesterday I had a human moment and throw a wobbly but it was short lived and my gracious hubby held space for me to step in and say, I’m feeling overwhelmed and acted badly. His silent hug and I love you, were magic.
What can we do to support the men in our lives?
Let them solve their own problems their way, without running interference for them. Unless its asked for, its not helpful.
Consider them in decision making. Does this decision support their way of being? Is it respectful of them, is it kind?
Hold space for them when they go silent. Its not, I don’t want to talk. It’s I need to think and work through it in my head and heart before I talk. (I know, I hear you. It can be hard to manage silence and it can feel like rejection, but often, its not).
See our men. Really see, who they are and what they love. Notice what upsets/ troubles them and make it known, “I am here for you if and when you need”.
Surround them with great role models of all ages so they have men to go too for support and encouragement. Men need other men, the same as we need our women friends.
Give them opportunities to lead and to support you. (Okay it may not be helpful or necessary for us, but its so needed by them).
Notice when they use their manners and are respectful to others. Encourage and model this behaviour to them.
Give them SPACE to cry and ARMS to fall into, that offer unconditional love, silently.
Most of all, celebrate that they are in your life, for without them life would be a lot less exciting.
For all the J’s and the A that are in my life. You are seen and loved.