Can men truly change? Ah, the million dollar question that lingers on every frustrated spouse and cynical single woman exhaustingly swiping left on their favorite dating app.
Healing is a word we sometimes use loosely without much thought to its profound power and value. Externally, we are constantly healing, replacing dead skin cells and old hair follicles. Internally, healing takes place in a different way. It requires a lot more self awareness and motivation.
When I made the promise of being the best dad, I took it seriously and still do! Naturally, I stumbled along the way from time to time, being a dad who was impatient, selfish and angry, mirroring many similarities to my own father. However, I always managed to self-reflect after I faltered, hoping I wouldn't repeat the same mistakes by trying to identify any recurring patterns. By self reflection, I mean working with counsellors, meditating, journaling, and doing the work.
I've never been a "handyman" and it still puzzles me especially in this day and age, we still call it a handy "man". Let's just say, I'm not very good when it comes to fixing or building things at home. When it comes to being a Man, what's more important to me has been listening, sharing thoughts, being compassionate, being encouraging, sharing my feelings and challenging others to think deeply for themselves. That's been more of my scene ever since I could remember as a kid, but I've only finally come to embrace in the last 5 years.
Does love mean accepting the person as they are? If that's true, we wouldn't be fussing at them to turn off that gawd awful TV show the Bachlorette, would we? Yet, we still love them regardless of their different interests. Thus my perspective's changed. You can still love someone, and not accept them entirely. So, my quest continued to define what love means for me. Here's what I came up with and jotted down...
Remember when we used to describe a person who was quiet and didn't show much emotion as the strong, silent type? I don't often hear that phrase anymore to describe a someone, and I'm glad. I mean, how strong is a person who is silent, especially when it comes to their mental health? Isn't that an oxymoron? For generations, it was seen as a positive trait, to be the strong, silent type. You're cool, collected and can withstand internalized pain. Movies stars portrayed this imagery very well, often looking cool and sexy in the movies if they were stoic.
It's a sad loss today for those who followed Mr Bourdain but I also want honor those who have taken their own lives and aren't recognized in the media. Too many lives are lost due to suicide and depression, and there certainly isn't one simple solution that's going to end this growing concern.
One of my goals is to reach out and connect with men particularly in ethnic communities. I'd like to break the stereotypes and barriers that ethnic men don't talk about mental health. Needless to say, I'm proud to share that I am an Asian male openly talking about my struggles with depression, anger and anxiety.