Working Remotely is Here to Stay

I am in full belief that working remotely is the future. With what has been going on in our world and everyone getting used to a new norm, I believe reform is necessary. We as humans are always adapting, making strides and always improving. This is a good thing, as constant improvement shows that our species will only continue to grow and prosper. The pandemic has forced us to look at what we saw as a normal process and make critiques in order to keep everyone safe as we recovered. One big discovery was that working from home wasn’t so bad for some industries. As a matter of fact, productivity in those industries actually went up.

Several studies over the past few months show productivity while working remotely from home is better than working in an office setting. On average, those who work from home spend 10 minutes less a day being unproductive, work one more day a week, and are 47% more productive. 77% of those who work remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period of time according to a survey by ConnectSolutions. These statistics are quite a shock to management, as the fear was always that working from home would reduce productivity and result in lower company revenue and progress. Such a fear isn’t unfounded, but at the same time makes light of the integrity of us workers, especially those of us who are aggressively trying to climb the ladder in spite of the changes around us. A lot of management tends to only care about the bottom line and money being made, not caring about employee health and wellbeing. Working from home has shown that when employees are more happy and comfortable, more work gets done and money gets made. Despite the naysayers (who are mostly management (isn’t that funny?) ) working from home has not caused the damage that it was purported to have.

Being able to work from home has done wonders for me:

  • I don’t have to pay to commute to and from work everyday saving me money
  • I don’t have to commute every day, which means I don’t have to be on a stuffy train everyday (during a pandemic, which means less of a transmission rate. Omicron doesn’t care about vaccines, lets limit the risk, no?)
  • I don’t have to engage in meaningless conversations at the office. I mean let’s be real, how many conversations do we have in the office that just pertain to work? My time is valuable and my work is important.
  • I get to be with my family more. I care about my loved ones and I have a 3 year old that needs his dad to be involved. I much prefer him running around me bonding instead of only seeing him while I’m tired at the end of the day
  • Things need to be done around the house (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc) Working from home has allowed me to stay on top of things and I feel less like my life is in shambles working most of the week and only having the weekend for housekeeping
  • I am way more productive at home. I am ready to work even earlier and I can work my comfortably. I actually want to work knowing that I am in my own space and can do my own thing while I work. Something about waking up and not having to get dressed and do a grueling commute makes me want to work even harder.
  • I was able to work out more at home, being a lot healthier working out during my job downtime

I could go on and on forever about how working from home has benefitted me and I am sure some people can agree with some of the bullets. The biggest boon working from home has had for me is my mental health. I don’t do good around a lot of people. I live in NY and anyone can tell you about how “eh” the subway is here. I always hated the commute ever since I was in school. It was always so much people and unnecessary shit you had to deal with just trying to get to class or get to work. All that just to go somewhere I did NOT want to be, having to leave people I wanted to be around to go be with people I did NOT want to be around (at least not everyday). Working from home changed all that. I was fully remote in the beginning of the pandemic and it was a huge breath of fresh air. Working was awesome. I was able to do even more work than before. I felt a rush of energy knowing that my “office” was right there. I felt more proactive to do the more mundane parts of my job. My PC was more equipped than the ones in my office, and I was able to multi-task with even greater efficacy. I felt closer to my son and I was able to notice his growth as a little person. I cooked more being home, saving money instead of buying overpriced city food and Uber Eats. I was even more receptive in therapy and my therapist heard the elation in my voice when we did our sessions. I felt better about the 9-5 grind knowing that the more annoying parts of it were being mitigated. I felt good overall, period. My mental health soared and I made strides with the many issues I was dealing with.

Now, I won’t pretend as though everyone can work remotely. Some industries literally cannot work remotely as per the nature of their jobs and responsibility. Some jobs are too essential to allow remote work and I get that. For those positions, working from home may be out of the question, but for the industries that do have room for remote work, the argument for it will only get more powerful. Even the industries that don’t should experiment with ways that allow their employees more flexibility with work. I’ve even seen some employers testing out a 4 day work week. That could be the starting point for an answer to working from home for those industries that can’t work remotely or do it for the majority of the time. Hire enough employees for the coverage needed to allow even one day a week for a necessary recharge and reconstruction of employee psyche and morale. I am no manager, but I still think that things can be done in the way of factoring the current climate into how we will do things going forward. Hybrid work schedules (what I currently work and am a BIG advocate for) allow for both in office work to be done as well as allowing workers to work remotely as well. A 3 day in 2 day out or 2 day in 3 day out schedule seems almost like a no brainer to me. It allows for all the benefits of working in the office (office camaraderie, socializing, etc) with the benefits of work from home (the aforementioned housekeeping, family bonding time, comfortability, etc)

Nevertheless, at the end of the day, companies that can should try their best to allow flexibility when it comes remote work. It’s 2022 and people have been working remotely long before Covid. Covid just opened the blinds and showed a lot of industries that stuffing workers in an office five days a week was not at all necessary. A lot of people faked it to make it and most of us wanted to work, just not in the office. We felt more comfortable on Teams calls in our pajamas. We liked writing reports and designing in our big comfy couches. We got more work done in ALL aspects of our lives. We were more productive. Companies saved money on unnecessary office space and equipment. Remote work is the future and anyone not down with that may unfortunately get left behind in our changing world. The next generation is here, and we are for remote work. We care about our wellbeing. Our physical, social, economic, and mental health matter to us. Let’s get with the program, people.

Over Sexed Media

Okay, let’s get it out of the way, sex is good. It feels great. It makes you feel alive and it’s just what humans do for reproduction. It’s an activity that adults partake in order to connect, feel pleasure, bond, etc. It’s natural! What I don’t like, however, is how much sex is shown in the media and the audiences that can take in the messages sex can put across. Sex can be seen in almost everything, from TV, to movies, to smartphone apps. It’s broadcasted to us, constantly reinforcing our want to perform sexual acts and keeping us in the mindset. It’s overdone, and it’s polluting what we are as people. We are not just sexual objects. We are all individuals who do other things and can appreciate other things.

Yes, beautiful woman are eye candy. There are nice to look at and they bring up primal desires. Thats normal. That doesn’t mean that when I go on Instagram that I want to see scantily clad woman all the time. Women aren’t just sexual objects. The algorithm all too easily would like to just shove over-sexualized women and concepts in general in our faces. Even trying to alter and shift the algorithm, it feels like overly sexual undertones are the default type of content that Instagram tries to show us. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, no matter the avenue, sexualized concepts keep getting pushed into our faces, trying so hard to get us to give in to our more primal instincts. What’s even worse is the fact that the over-sexualization is then profited off of, which was the ultimate goal. Humans love sex, so naturally let’s sell it to them anyway we can.

There are so many ways that sex can be profited off of. Scantily clad women in video games to profit off horny teens and young adult males. Instagram “models” selling their more sexual assets and prowess for a quick buck. The prevalence of these “models” that attracts men to the platform in the first place, men who then bring money and attention. I mean, let’s be real, the women are why men for the most part are even on the platform. Instagram being a primarily picture focused platform makes this all the more apparent. I am primarily using Instagram as an example, but all the platforms do this in some way or another. Sex is over broad casted, utilized for gain, and no one cares about the after effects.

No one is thinking about the women who lose a piece of themselves having to keep up with sexual standards that dehumanize them. No one thinks about the youth who will be exposed to these images and ideas due to the very low amount of policing done on these platforms. No one thinks about the hit to mental health and the effect that over-sexualization will have on future generations. Young women will grow up, trying hard to keep up with each other in gaining attention the best way they know how. Society will continue to undermine women and place them in a bubble of sex, disregarding what skills and talents these women may have. This cannot be allowed. Humans are sexual creatures, yes, but that is not all we are. Especially women, who get most of the attention from the sexualized media.

Humans are more than sex objects. We are more than just our horny mindsets. We can indulge in more than just sex and carnal pleasure. We know what our bodies do, we don’t need the constant reminder with all the images we see on social media. All the rap lyrics that scream sex acts in our ears. The Netflix shows that throw it in randomly to remind us that people have sex. Like damn, we get it. We are more than that. In order for society to truly continue to evolve we need to put more of our skills on display in all forms of media. We are scholars, engineers, architects, entrepreneurs. Both men and woman can aspire to anything we put our minds too. Sex is just a part of the bigger picture that is human civilization.

I welcome any arguments to my thoughts, as maybe I am trapped in seeing the constant sexualized media pushed to me. I just feel it’s a detriment to our society for sex to be at such a forefront. I would very much like for that to change and for the media to show more of our talents and abilities as humans more than trying to ignite the desires in us for personal gain.

Remorse

You know what you did. You know what was done to you. It was despicable. The action may have gone against your morals or you may have done it out of revenge. Maybe you felt wronged and needed to release vengeful energy. Maybe the person who wronged you was blinded by selfish reasoning and needed to see the light while they were shrouded in darkness. Human kind has all types of reasons for why we do the things that we do. Everything isn’t all black and white and humanity has no perfect being. People make mistakes and can come back from them. The only thing is, do we have remorse for our actions? Can we look at the man in the mirror, bring him to trial, and list his crimes in front of a jury? (the jury being your morals, ideologies, and general sense of right and wrong) Can the man in the mirror take responsibility for his actions and formulate a plan for redemption?

What is remorse? Remorse is a feeling of deep regret and guilt someone may feel from actions they have performed in the past. It’s a gnawing feeling that eats away at people who have done things in their past that go against their moral and belief systems. The feeling can persist for quite a while depending on the action, with some people living with the feeling for a lifetime. You do a bad thing, and maybe at first you don’t feel the gravity of your actions. You then see the repercussions of your actions and then guilt starts to erode your soul. “How could I have done such a thing?” “What is wrong with me?” “Oh god, what have I done?” You wonder to yourself what could have set off the series of events leading to this wicked thing you have done. You absolutely regret what you have done and wish you could take it back. That, is remorse. I believe people should feel remorse after doing bad things that hurt people. That shows their humanity and a doorway to forgiveness and taking responsibility.

It takes a twisted person to do evil things to people and not feel remorse. I am in no way a therapist, psychologist, or any of that. I am just a man trying to advocate positive mental health. Thus, I do not believe positive mental health lies in wronging people and not feeling any type of way after doing so. People’s lives are not the playthings of others. I can’t understand people who can do nasty, dirty things and just continue on with life as though it was just another Tuesday. To me, that showcases a need to seek help. It blatantly showcases a lack of consideration and empathy for your fellow man. It also showcases a deeper anomaly within one’s psyche. To lack remorse is to lack accountability for one’s actions. Being a heavily empathetic individual, it almost hurts to be in the presence of someone who can continue to do horrible things and not feel anything. It goes against what I would consider to be a societal norm (that is feeling bad about doing bad things)

Now, when someone is showing remorse, and I mean true remorse for their actions, they need to be able to live in that truth and also be able to redeem themselves. Humans are not perfect. We make mistakes. We do things that don’t align with positivity and happiness. Hurt people can hurt people. It’s what we do after causing the hurt that will forge the path into the future. How do I make up for what I have done? What can I do to show rehabilitation and a general intense care for never repeating the action? How can I be a better person in the future not only to those I’ve hurt, but those I will interact with in the future? Redemption is a dish best served hot. It needs to be reheated every so often so that those partaking of it can enjoy it hot and ready, not cold and without care. Remorse is not something that you show only on your terms. It’s not something that can be synthesized. It needs to be consistent, especially with actions taken in the future.

Remorse can be demonstrated in many ways, but it usually starts with an apology. An apology where you blatantly admit to wrongdoings and apologize for your actions. You take responsibility for what you have done and the pain you have caused. You take ownership of the feelings you had and don’t shift blame to the wronged party. You don’t let too much time elapse, where the interpretation of the act can get compounded and seen as worse. You own up, put on your adult pants, and make plans to set right what went wrong. You go to therapy to figure out what motivated you to do such things and ways to prevent repeat actions. You talk to those in the support industry that can help you towards positive reflection so you don’t self-condemn yourself. You ask your god or governing deity for forgiveness and plan to act on your request to be forgiven. You practice empathy in order to better understand the feelings of others so you can have perception on when you are going down the path to wronging them. You don’t blame others for your misstep, rather you blame yourself for even considering the actions in the first place. I’ve wronged my fair share of people and I ruminate on my actions to this day. Sometimes a sorry or changed action may not be enough for forgiveness, but it can make the world a better place with one less wicked person in the world. One less person to continue the spread of negativity and toxicity.

I try to continue my mental health journey to showcase my remorse for the horrific things I have done to people. Things I have said and done out of anger, low self-esteem, lack of self-love, lack of accountability, and my general lack of an understanding of my mental makeup. I attend therapy every week to keep up with my learning of myself with my therapist who can tell me with experience how he feels I am progressing in my journey. My therapist also helps me with not condemning myself to oblivion and giving up on myself after considering the gravity of my actions. It’s one thing to do wicked things. It’s a different ball game having to see the results of your actions constantly. Watching the pain I inflicted and the wounds it caused made me truly consider who I even was and what I was really doing to better myself. I was a horrible person. I am trying every day to be a better one. I am trying everyday to never go down the dark road that led to my actions. I learned that some scars never heal and things done and said can’t be taken back. So all I can do is accept who I was, and look forward to who I can become. I am eternally sorry for what I’ve done, and can only hope I can be forgiven someday for it.

Mental health is a journey and remorse is part of that journey for some people. Those truly remorseful for their actions can walk a path of redemption. It is a path that you need to want to walk down. Despite the twists and turns. Despite the accountability that needs to be taken. Despite the hatred, anger, resentment, and slew of other feelings the wronged may have towards you. You know what you did. I know what I did. We are all well aware of the actions we have taken. We also know what we need to do not just for the wronged, but for the future of our entire race. We need to look at ourselves and right what may have went wrong for us and the way we were thinking.

The Man In The Mirror

If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change!

The late, exceedingly great, Michael Jackson used these lyrics in his iconic song and they have never been more accurate. A lot of times, we tend to put blame on the world around us for our state of mind. We blame other people and their actions on our state of mind and being. We think and move according to how we feel we have been treated and end up recycling negative energy into the world. This does nothing but spread continued negative energy and discord, which is of course detrimental to our collective mental health.

A mirror is an object that reflects an image. It shows the image in its truest form. No abnormalities or imperfections. Thus when we go in front of one, it reflects us. It reflects YOU. It shows you who you are and allows you to see yourself the way the world sees you. Try talking in the mirror the way you do and see how you look. You may be surprised by what you see. That is why to truly begin to make change in this world, we need to look at ourselves and see what we put into the world. There are many questions you can ask yourself to get an idea of what energy we put into the world:

  • How do I treat other people?
  • How do I respond to other people?
  • How do I take criticism?
  • What do I expect from other people?
  • How do I want to be viewed by other people?

We all want to maintain our individuality in this world and I do not advocate living your life just in accordance to how other people may see you. Nevertheless, I do believe that positive actions beget positive actions. Being kinder to your fellow man goes a long way into making the world a brighter place. For you and for me, and the entire human race. The goal of making the world a better place is a goal we all need to work towards. Being nicer to people doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t lose you respect. It builds towards more peaceful environments where we can comfortably be our best selves.

Making the world a better place starts with you. It starts with me. We need to look in our metaphysical mirrors and take a look at how we deal with people. How we talk to them. How we greet them. How we stand in the face of disagreement with them. How we respond to them when they need help. How we respond when they need discipline. All of our interactions with other people can be examined and optimized to not only demand respect from our peers, but also to show care and compassion to them as well. We gotta start with the man in the mirror and ask them to change their ways. For the better good and a better world.

Trauma Bonds

Relationships are one of the cornerstones of our society. From friendships, to partnerships, we continue to connect, share experiences, and learn together as individuals. Humans are social creatures, so relationships with other humans are very par for the course. We find things we like in other people and it attracts us to them and makes us want to learn more about them. So we get to know them and we build a bond with them over time. We build a bond from similar experiences and an interest in the other person you just feel. There is no abuse. No misconstrued passion disguising hurtful intent. You should not experience trauma.

“The difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism is the presence of a personal attack and impossible standards. These so-called ‘critics’ often don’t want to help you improve, they just want to nitpick, pull you down and scapegoat you in any way they can. Abusive narcissists and sociopaths employ a logical fallacy known as ‘moving the goalposts’ in order to ensure that they have every reason to be perpetually dissatisfied with you. This is when, even after you’ve provided all the evidence in the world to validate your argument or taken an action to meet their request, they set up another expectation of you or demand more proof.”— Shahida Arabi

Relationships are the one of the cornerstones of our society. “I’ve just met my soulmate! We share literally all the same interests and the way we met was magical, almost electric!” “I can’t leave him, he’s my everything. He was just mad from work. Barely a scratch!” “He pays all the bills, I can’t afford to leave him. Makeup does wonders, no one will notice!” “I can’t leave, he needs me, he has no one else” A relationship should not be a prison sentence. You do not exist to give someone else a reason to. You should not be obligated to bolster anyone while you serve as collateral. You should not feel trapped in your relationship, rather it should be a source of happiness in your life. You should be free to challenge yourself and pursue what you want in life with a supportive, caring partner. Bonding with someone while dealing with the trauma that they cause you can bring up some very dangerous codependent habits that halt our growth and keep you entitled to the abuser. The bond is powerful despite the abuse and can go on for far longer than we hope to believe.

No one deserves to be abused. Don’t ever let someone believe that they have some power over what you do or how you think. We are all deserving of being treated like we matter in this world, and a trauma bond will have you believe that you deserve no less than imprisonment. The signs of a person trauma bonded can hard to see, as a lot of the abuse can be mental or emotional. Nevertheless, the effects of the abuse can travel far, seeping into the lives of the person who is being abused. Children can be affected too, seeing their parent unfortunately show the wrong version of how to be loved by someone. A person being abused may not even want to admit to the abuse, shaking it off like the examples in the previous paragraph. Without admittance, it because even more difficult to escape the toxic and maybe even life threatening situation.

No one should ever dictate how your life will go and what your place in the world is. No one should ever have the power to make you feel less than you are. The people who gain power from treating people like this need no more power from you. You don’t need to supply their fragile egos with more essence that you should be putting towards yourself and your growth. Someone wants to hear your story and help you become strong enough to not be held down by people not fit for you and your journey. People in the support community, your friends and family, etc. You don’t need to stay in that situation and if you know someone that is in such a situation, please let them know they are not alone. We all deserve a life without the weight of wrongful expectation. We deserve to live without being hit. We deserve to live without being badmouthed by those saying they love us.

A little Reminder……

Hypervigilance

Hypervigilance is a state of increased alertness. If you’re in a state of hypervigilance, you’re extremely sensitive to your surroundings. It can make you feel like you’re alert to any hidden dangers, whether from other people or the environment. Often, though, these dangers are not real. Being in this state of mind can be very exhausting and can disrupt your normal way of life. Constantly being alert and feeling on edge isn’t good at all for positive mental health and steals from more positive aspects of your life. For a lot of people, it is a state of feeling that can’t be helped, having developed from feelings of danger, inadequacy, or a feeling of powerlessness in your situation. Anxiety, and the mental illnesses that can derive from it can make you especially vulnerable to feeling hypervigilant.

Anxiety can cause a multitude of of mental issues for us, with hypervigilance being a big one. Anxiety already makes you fearful, and can sometimes activate a fight or flight response within you. Hypervigilance on top of this can be devastating, as you are always feeling a sense of danger you can’t perceive, thus your fight-or-flight is basically always on. You will live a life of constantly surveying your surroundings, never being able to trust that you are truly safe. You can’t trust what people say out their mouths and you presume the worst to happen in all situations. You may go as far as hallucinating the threats as your mind is tricked into thinking the illusion of danger is real. This can cause and heighten the efffects of schizophrenia, especially the paranoia. This can all get as bad as you starting fights with the simplest provocation in order to get the “upper hand” or bringing a weapon anywhere you go to feel “safe”. You may even avoid public interactions altogether.

I have a lot of experience with hypervigilance. I involuntarily live life surveying my surroundings and I don’t trust people easily. I haven’t had the best experiences with people and it has made me wary of just about everything. I lost my mom suddenly, which has me look at loved ones with more than a watchful eye in case something happens to them. I grew up in neighborhoods that were not the safest, and you needed to be alert and ready in order to survive. I’ve struggled with my self image, which made me feel as though I was never prepared for anything that might happen. I sometimes feel as though mistakes I make or not being able enough will put me in a place of vulnerability, no matter how slight. I feel as though I live my life on go, and it is very draining. I swear my head feels hot as though my brain is always active, even in my sleep. Sometimes I may mishear people when they regard me, automatically assuming they insulted me.

Through therapy, I’ve been able to be more mindful of how I perceive the world around me. Not everyone has it out for me and not every situation will end up a dire struggle for survival. Being able to open up about my fears and insecurities has allowed me to be more comfortable being uncomfortable. I feel less energy being put towards observation and trying to read people’s actions. Once you can understand yourself on a deeper level, you become more confident. Being a naturally observant person, it is hard to throw away old habits (ie: constantly analyzing my surroundings for change), but being more in control of my appropriate reactions really lessens my anxiety in unknown territory.

Hypervigilance is a state of self that can really get in the way of a happy life. You are not some weirdo for always having your eyes darting around. Nevertheless, you don’t have to be a slave to irrational thinking. The world has good people. Some unknown situations may turn out really well! Don’t let past trauma get in the way of you living a life of wonder. And never forget there are people out there willing to listen and help you get through whatever might hold you from your best life.

Facebook/Instagram, Take Accountability!

Social media is a driving force in our society. I have stated such already and no one can contest that idea. There is so much money, networking, and opportunity that can be gained from utilizing social media. Alas, there is a cesspool of negativity that comes from it that effects people of all walks. Young people are especially susceptible to the envy and jealousy that social media can spread. I have noticed that social media sites generally don’t try to lessen the effects, instead granting users freedom to post whatever and stuffing the show offs in your face. For the younger audience, especially younger women, this can foster low self-esteem and a lower sense of self worth due to illogical comparison and coveting what other people have. Instagram and Facebook are two of the bigger sites where the effects of social media can be seen and measured.

The above is a twitter poll where an overwhelming 92.1% of voters voted that social media is unhealthy for teens. 92.1%! This is a big issue that has been having a snowball effect for years. This can be seen clearly with the latest trends (body alteration, filters, the rise in scamming, etc) Most of these trends are unfortunate people artificially changing themselves or their situation to show off to the other people on the platform. This way of thinking and way of living is not the appropriate way to foster positive mental health in our society. According to internal research done by Facebook into their own platform, the site causes body issues in one in three girls who use the site. 32% of girls that use the site said that it made them feel even worse about their already ongoing body issues. This is absolutely alarming and needs to be taken much more seriously. Young people as a whole state that Instagram (and by extension Facebook and other sites) increase their feelings of anxiety and depression. I know that people have a freedom to post what they want and to interpret what they see how they want but nevertheless this is a problem with a increasing ripple effect. As it stands now, succeeding generations of youth will be more and more effected mentally by the “pandemic” that is social media.

I like how Facebook can do internal research and be aware of these findings, yet in our face they want to act like their platform has little effect on the mentality of it’s users. A large number of people blame instagram for feeling “unattractive”, comparing themselves to “instagram models” and celebrities who have done questionable things in the pursuit of success and popularity. This is fuckery at the highest level and its maddening how Facebook just continues to operate without trying to consider the effect it’s having on us. “It’s just business”, right? It won’t be when the suicide rate continues to climb. It won’t be when the public’s majority opinion is that we are not worthy enough compared to fake people.

I have detailed ways to improve mental health and will continue to as long as I draw breath. These companies need to also take accountability and be more transparent about these kinds of findings. Mental health professionals can use the findings to alter practices to help the users of these sites. The general public can use these findings to have a better idea of what is really going on to protect our loved ones and monitor our usage more. Facebook cannot conduct this research and then want to gaslight the world into believing that the effect is miniscule. There is a growing effect on people all over from social media use. If this research is being conducted, there needs to be action taken from the findings. Our collective future depends on it!

Mental Health and Men

This post is going to be a little different from my previous posts. I was trying to educate the masses on the topics of mental health that I myself have come across. Mental health has become a topic that I have really become enamored with, constantly researching topics and coming to understand my place in the spectrum. Society is in a strange place now, with the state of the world and affairs in general. The status quo has taken quite a blow and the standards of the world have morphed over time. I feel this especially in regards to the mental health of men. As a man in this world, I was taught to suppress my more volatile emotions and the condition of my mental health wasn’t really the at the forefront of what should have been important to me. Thankfully, I feel that society has taken strides to make mental health an issue that encompasses everyone.

Men are looked at as the pillars of strength in society. Whether we would like to admit it or not, men are expected to lead, protect, and provide. It’s been that way since time immemorial. Over time and generations, this ideology may have changed or morphed, but the basic idea stays the same. Living as a man in this world, I have no problem with this idea. It’s instinctively built into my mainframe. Nevertheless, there is a mental weight that gets placed on an individual in regards to maintaining a solid frame to withstand the gravity of being the first line of defense in terms of your family/tribe/etc. The role of the pillar can be a role that requires a level of mindfulness to keep up. The man needs to lead, and a good leader has a level of self reflection that allows him to know the needs of his people while considering the best for them regardless. To be a good provider and protector, a man needs to understand a level of empathy for his family and a level of masculinity in order to keep up a powerful shield and sword to defend against threats. I mean, we aren’t cavemen/tribesmen so the physical aspect of protection isn’t as pronounced in our society, but it is still expected to hold this stature of immovability when it comes to threats to our family. These expectations can come with a degree of weight that can cause a man to buckle and thus be seen as weak and unable to do his duty. This is where I feel mental health awareness comes in.

Men’s mental health awareness is a big thing for me, especially in this climate. Men can be strong by working out, eating right, keeping masculine frame, and just exhibiting the traits of masculinity in general. What makes a man truly powerful is all of these things while also dealing with and working through the mental and emotional issues we may have to carry with us day to day. Men can be suffering on the inside with insecurity, emotional instability, fear of the unknown, etc. In my experience, it was difficult for me to admit that I may have been struggling with my growing responsibility in my life. I did not want to be seen as weak. I didn’t (and still really don’t) allow myself to feel 100% of any emotion in order to hold my frame. I could not live with the idea that someone somewhere saw me as being weak and unable to perform my duties. I hold myself to a high standard and want respect. What I failed to realize is that I needed to look not only at my actions and physique, I needed to look within for the clarity and mental fortitude to continue on my journey.Learning about mental health has been an amazing journey. I have chronicled how many different changes I have been through in my posts, and I feel like other men can relate to some of my struggles. We are trying to find our footing in a world that likes to place labels on us. A world that likes to assign roles and demand optimal performance once you are placed in that label. I don’t feel bad about what is expected of me, as it pushes me to greater heights everyday. I am even more motivated to do my best everyday now that I have a greater understanding of how my mind works and what I want to live a fulfilled life. I work to find the root of my emotions. I work to bridge the gap between what the world expects of me and what I expect of myself. Therapy and learning to love myself despite my flaws and weaknesses has allowed me to find a power that I never would have found otherwise. I lived a life where I thought I knew all there was about me, but you learn more about yourself everyday. Sometimes as men, we think straightforward and over logically. This has allowed us to stay vigilant and strong. It drives our decision making and our decisions usually impact much more than us. We stand at the forefront of our families and in gaining a better understanding of what makes us tick, we can find the strength to not only shoulder the needs of our families, but also allow them to strive.

Mental health in men is extremely important and I am glad to see it being taken seriously in so many communities. Our society’s continued growth and improvement depends on it and it also opens the door for mental health exposure for everyone when we take the step to lead others to do the same.

Idealization – Take Off The Rose Tinted Glasses

We are all human and capable of some truly epic marvels. When we are born, our potential is only limited by our imaginations. We can also look at other people and feel as though we see something no one else can see. We can look at someone’s more positive attributes and base our interest and level of concern for that person on these attributes. Now, there isn’t a clear inherent problem with seeing someone in a positive light more than a negative one. It is when you do it in overabundance where things get problematic. This is when you look at an individual through what are called “rose tinted glasses”. Basically, you see them as someone that can do no wrong and make excuses for them. You put them on that pedestal that honestly no human should ever be placed. You see them as perfection.

I need to be as blunt as possible. This is wrong. It is fallacy. Feelings, emotions, thoughts, they can truly blind us when they take us over. We can tend to idealize people for just being nice to us. We idealize because of unresolved childhood trauma. We idealize because we want the image of this perfect person to be reality . We idealize as a defense mechanism to hide from the scary truth. This can lead to placing others above ourselves or forsaking our own ideals for their sake. You give power to their words, beliefs, and values at your own expense. You damn near deify them! No one on this earth is a god. No one. We all have negative aspects of our personality. We need to learn to look at people for what they are in your face, not what you think they might become. Or even worse, how you fantasize them to be.

Idealization prevents growth in a relationship with others. When you idealize, you see no wrong, and thus you don’t confront questionable behavior. You trivialize antagonism and dis-respect. It may not be apparent, but you can stunt others growth by idealizing someone. You keep them from being able to approach their negative aspects in an impartial way by providing them a unconditional worshipper. You need to be able to look at a person impartially and form an opinion of them based on the good and bad of their personality. You must then be able to continue to observe them from a place of not putting them higher than their actions show.

It can be easy to idealize people who we find interest in. We want to believe that they are the wonderful people we hope them to be. And they can be the best version of their authentic self for us. Idealizing them takes that away from them. It takes away who they are from how you perceive them. It takes away from the criticism you can have for them that can allow them to grow and develop. Idealization can also take away from you what makes you who are. By pedestalizing someone, you put aside what you look for and respect just to have that friend or companion. Altogether, you never develop a respectable rapport with the other person, and the relationship is hollow.

We should all try to see the good in others. Humans are very powerful creatures, full of potential ever growing. However, we are not perfect beings and we will never be. Don’t ever look at someone as being infallible. The best connections with people are formed when we can look at a person’s good and bad and make conscious, unbiased conclusions based on their actions and our feelings. You should be able to see them in a non-blinding light and truly connect with them the way they present themselves in reality, not the fantasy you have conjured up.