Why Toxic Ideas of Masculinity Need to Change
There is no doubt that the statistics surrounding mental health amongst men makes for difficult reading. Media has been both a force for creating social awareness but has also done its fair share of instilling and perpetuating negative masculine stereotypes that weaves itself into the fabric of everyday life. It begins from a very young age and starts when we associate ‘thinking’ as a male trait and ‘feeling’ as female. These gender roles can be harmful, not because of the expectations that surround them, but rather because of the defensive nature that comes with trying to suppress entirely human behaviour.
In the U.K, surveys have shown that men aged 20-59 in England, Scotland and Wales found 41% do not seek support when they need it because they prefer to solve their problems themselves. The amount of pressure this can put on an individual can be debilitating, physically and mentally. Expectations of ourselves rise as responsibilities become increasingly important, and these can find their way into the only place where a stable identity and purpose may exist: the workplace.
So often, ideals behind masculinity are contradictory and trying to live up to these is impossible. Handsome, but not traditionally handsome. Successful, but not excessively wealthy. Strong, but with a soft side. How can one person be expected to encompass all of these traits? It is a substantial amount of physical, mental and emotional baggage for someone to carry. Men need to talk to men. However, the pressures associated with these feelings of inadequacy directly cause feelings of isolation, making any effort of sharing a problem to break down.
Additionally, there is a genuine concern that there is a lack of space to open up and communicate honestly without judgement. Some 34% of U.K men fearing their job could be at risk if they discussed their mental health at work. It is essential to acknowledge the health of men, and society as a whole is dependent on there being enough support to explore and mature emotional intelligence.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy offers a neutral space dedicated to a better understanding of the self by forming positive ways to break down problems that can seem overwhelming.
CBT Therapists want to encourage positive behaviours that will benefit both your personal and public life. Understanding who you are as a person can be vital to understanding how you can help others. English culture can present a harmful, stoic attitude. Normalising mental health care needs to be given the same stigma as a broken bone. For a broken bone, there is no questioning that one would seek medical aid. For mental wellbeing, there ought to be no question that seeking medical assistance would be the healthiest thing to do. Turning to loved ones or friends may seem daunting, and it is essential to know you are not alone in feeling these pressure. There is no shame in seeking help from someone who is outside of your support network, only wasted time for those who do not take control of their lives today.
Taking care of your mental health can break toxic habits giving you a more positive outlook, and drastically improve your ability to connect with those around you. Managing mental health with CBT is not about changing behaviours. Instead, it is about analysing your core beliefs and how they may have an impact on recent experiences.
If through this therapy, you find negative core beliefs which are holding you back, we can review where they may have come from and start working on techniques to help you manage them.
If you are wondering if Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is right for you, take a moment to look at the relationships you have around you. Not every relationship will be perfect, but if this affects how you see yourself or gives you anxiety, CBT can provide you with personalised assistance to manage and thrive. Our therapists are BABCP Accredited, so you can feel assured the advice you receive is approved and backed by medical professionals.