Blog 5: Being a Man Today

Written by Jim Sheehy

Hi.  My name is Jim Sheehy.  This is reallyhuman.ie and this podcast is about Being a Man Today.

Being a man today is confusing, exciting, terrifying. Confusing because how we see ourselves as men has been completely transformed in the past 50 years.  My Dad saw himself as a protector, provider, citizen of State and Church.  I see myself as communicator, flexible and insecure. 

My Dad’s world was full of predictability and social identity and the roles of men were plotted from cradle to grave.  My identity as a man has gone through the washing machine and is currently in the dryer on the ‘spin cycle’.  Society today keeps moving the goalpost about expectations around my preferred gender and sexual orientation, how my feeling world feeds my relationships, my fluid employment and salary options. It’s a fast-moving drama and some men struggle with managing all the inner and external pressures.

But all this change is exciting as well.  We men are talking and listening more to the potential inside our skins and heads and outside of ourselves as we interact in a world going like a bullet-train.  We’re better educated, we travel and meet many views around the same issue, we are more outspoken and less dictated to by family, society and religion.  Our relationship with women in family, community and work is in mid-stream. 

We have dominated women until about a hundred years ago.  Now, we are partners in deciding stuff about finance, having children and whether we continue or separate as life-partners.  Women are sometimes clumsy in inviting us men to express our feelings, bake a cake, change a nappy.  This is new territory, not a priority in our gene-pool.  And we are sometimes clumsy in allowing them to take the lead, juggle motherhood with work, display courage in getting the most out of life.  This equality is fairly new for most women and men.  An attitude of empathy in wondering how hard it might be for the other gender is the best we can do and be in these difficult situations.    

Did I mention ‘terrifying’.  Often, when I work in therapy with men, they begin by presenting issues that they find overwhelming: breakups, redundancy, little motivation or purpose.  We then see what the mix is like inside them as to what they believe is worthwhile and enduring, and the other stuff that freaks them out and makes them feel, think, communicate and relate like pieces of trash. 

I see men curl up because they, at some point in their journey, found their vulnerability abused and disrespected. They cry, rage, deflate and are scared because life is very grey with little changing.  But, as they bravely move from saying ‘there’s something wrong with me’ to ‘What’s happened to me’, stuff shifts inside.  They sniff the air and realise they are taking charge, not choosing to remain victims of stuff done to them.  They ‘tool up’ with supports that ensure they are well resourced for the next chapters in their life-story.  Put simply, men, we can have hope in ourselves, our world and our future.

Our life-project as men continues to be confusing, exciting and terrifying.  We take the best of our Dads’ generation about how they found pride in being strong and honest men and add the best of what we’re learning today.  Boys still look to adult men to model how to talk / listen/ work / feel and think. They watch all the time and sometimes they allow us the huge privilege of mentoring them, shaping and encouraging their efforts. They, in turn, remind us adult men how to play and explore, risk and experiment, grow and thrive.  Yes, men, we need to get ‘down and dirty’ in the swamps and fog of sharing our fragility as well as standing tall because we are men who work hard, do our best in being partners and Dads and will always support our brothers on less-travelled trails. 

In upcoming presentations for men, we’re going to look at identity, purpose, motivation and support network.  These are the four legs of the table we all feed at.  I look forward to meeting with you again.

Presentations on the 4 zones are also available on video and blog through the website – see www.reallyhuman.ie

If you enjoy the material, please get the word out there among those you care for.  You can contact me with comment or suggestion via Facebook at Jim Sheehy Therapy and on Twitter @jimsheehy2017

Take care,


Clarifying Disclaimer:  While the material I am presenting is well-researched and suitable for the general population, I believe each person’s issues and needs are unique.  I encourage you to seek medical and/or therapeutic support if you struggle with an issue or condition that negatively and seriously impacts your life.

All material in Jim Sheehy Therapy as presented in video, blog and podcast form is copyright and may only be redistributed with permission of author.

 

 

 

 

Contact

Contact me:

Jim Sheehy M.Ed. MIACP
Leitir
Kilcar
Co Donegal 
F94 WV99

087 2137922

jsheehy@hotmail.co.uk

 

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