The Importance of Understanding Healthy Masculinity
One of the broad conversations happening lately is around the topic of masculinity. More specifically, masculine behavior and beliefs that define men. A healthier perspective to take is one that focuses on how the traditional view of masculinity is defined so much by cultural, what’s popular, what’s hot now, and what celebrities do as well that it is harmful to everyone, especially men. It is important to focus on releasing stereotypes and get a better perspective.
Shame can be toxic for both men and women, but especially for men because it is not something that is easy to talk about. It is probably harder to pin down what exactly shame is like for a man. Men often shame themselves based on cultural norms that are expected like being the breadwinner of a family, rising to the top of a corporation, being a lumberjack who works with his hands in the forest. There are myriad views of what a man should be, but it only really matters what kind of a man a man wants to be and become that carries meaning. However, families, friends, and cultural norms can dictate often how men are seen and it can lead to internal and external shaming, which can lead to issues like substance abuse, trauma, and other issues.
The natural state for any human being is to be highly emotional. Anyone who has spent time with a baby and a toddler knows they feel all their feelings right this moment, right now, and live right in it. If a person sits with them long enough, they let the feelings go until the next one comes along. They feel hyper excited when they feel great and feel really badly when they are not feeling good. But the feelings pass and they move on. If a man, for instance, is shamed for being emotional because that is not ‘what men do,’ there can be a tendency to not acknowledge the pain of the moment, and cause interior harm to that person’s self and possibly others down the road. Depriving a man of emotional vulnerability is one of the worst things that can happen to becoming emotional and owning those feelings. Those feelings matter and they are important to the journey of recovery. It is okay, and acceptable, to feel whatever feelings come up as a child and as an adult.
When a man feels threatened by others, it can be damaging to their self-esteem to have others contradict their world view. Perhaps that world view is that they are only man enough if they have lots of money, lots of girlfriends, or can drink someone under the table. None of these things define a man, woman, or anybody else. What defines a person is how they live into their purpose and become a better person with each passing day. Acquiring status and things is not going to help a person become better, even if it helps life feel good at the moment. When men can feel liberated from outdated ideas of who they should be, they are free to become who they are meant to be and start living into that purpose, clean and sober.
The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.