According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 115 people take their own lives each week in the UK. Seventy-five percent of all suicides are male. Unfortunately, men are often wrongly taught from a young age that expressing emotions is a sign of weakness.
Society perpetuates the notion that men showing emotions are weak. Phrases like ‘man up,’ ‘grow some balls,’ or ‘don’t be a pussy’ are commonly used. In the UK, men aged 40 to 49 have the highest suicide rates, which may coincide with the onset of a midlife crisis. During this time, feelings of dissatisfaction, lack of motivation, and disappointment with life decisions can arise. It leads one to question, ‘Where did I go wrong?’
The influence of social media and the overall state of the world only aggravates these struggles. Feeling powerless and lost in a world that often seems detached from human values is challenging. The constant struggle of slaving away just to survive and pay bills takes its toll.
Society has ingrained the belief that 45 is old, and if you haven’t achieved “success” by then, you are deemed worthless.
But it’s essential to ask yourself, ‘What does success mean to me?’ Success varies for each individual. For some, it may be a big house and a car, even if it means a lifelong mortgage and debt. For others, it may be a healthy family, although not every family is characterized as ‘healthy.’ Some individuals remain in toxic family environments due to a lack of alternatives or fear of judgment from others if they choose happiness.
For some success means maintaining strong relationships, pursuing personal growth, making a positive impact in their community, or finding happiness and contentment in life.
Defining your own version of success starts with identifying your core values and beliefs.
Learning to recognise and label your thoughts and emotions is crucial. If you feel unsatisfied, take a moment to describe why.
Ask yourself thought-provoking questions:
~ If you had only one year left to live, how would you spend it?
~ What does that reveal about your passions and interests?
~ If you had enough money to do anything you wanted, what job, career or passion would you pursue?
~ How would you explain to your children or grandchildren the accomplishments you achieved in your chosen path?
We have been conditioned to believe that our worth is determined by material possessions, but this is far from the truth. You can be the most successful and wealthy person and yet possess a heart devoid of empathy or love. On the other hand, you can work as a plumber or a handyman and have a heart full of kindness, love, and helpfulness. People appreciate you for who you are, and your practical skills are an added bonus.
“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.” ~ Dalai Lama
I write this post to remind you that it is not your fault that emotional intelligence and self-awareness were not emphasised in our upbringing. Don’t give up. Explore new ways of sharing your pain. Start by having a conversation with yourself as if you were your own best friend. Remember, not everyone needs to understand you, and that’s okay. Step on a path to your personal development, become open minded, see beyond the illusion.
Reach out to your friends or seek help from a specialist who can provide a listening ear.
Turn your PAIN into your POWER.
Take care of yourself,