The "Man" Conundrum: The Importance of Support



By Dai Manuel

As men, we tend to privately own our problems, ensuring that every issue, big or small, is on a need-to-know basis. If you’re ANYONE outside of our own heads, you don’t need to know. The manly dialogue that plays out in our egocentric minds is “suck it up buttercup”, “I got this!” As men, whom do we turn to for help when faced with challenges beyond our ability to cope?


As far back as I can remember the males within my lineage have struggled with communicating our emotions. It was easier to remain silent than to try to say how we feel. I was reminded of this a few years ago when during a seemingly casual phone call with my father I learned that he had been dealing with a “minor” bout of prostate cancer. 

My father is a controlled, confident man, and as far back as I can remember, he’s always been that way. Our conversation was matter-of-fact, direct and to-the-point, allowing no opportunity for concern or worry. In hindsight, just the nature of the issue in itself was challenging. After all, men talking to men about problems below the belt is a no-no by almost all current societal male norms, let alone the idea of talking about a cancer down there.  


But there’s hope for men yet. In today’s overtly connected society, groups are emerging and taking shape by way of social sites like Twitter, Facebook and Meetup.com Groups dedicated to men connecting with men without fear of judgment, hostility, or ego. These channels provide a safe environment whereby men can drop their façades to meet with other men openly and offer mutual support.

A perfect example is recently founded #YVRDads, a group of men who’ve created a space to meet and share theirpersonal challenges surrounding fatherhood in an effort to better themselves as parents and husbands. In addition to father-focused groups, the creation of groups connecting men dealing with prostate cancer provides another avenue for men to share with other men.

Providing opportunities for men to connect and empathize with other men to discuss the effect life’s pressures have on them is the new era in men communicating, sharing and supporting.


Dai Manuel is just a guy trying to inspire, motivate and educate others to live healthier, more active lifestyles. He’s also a fitness professional, motivational speaker and leader of the YVR Dads support group for fathers.


 
 
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