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“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.”
It is closing in on the end of Movember. We all have grown accustomed to the furry upper lips floating majestically around our offices and the city. Sadly they will soon be disappearing. With the month coming to an end comes a big ask: take the time this weekend to talk about health with a man that’s important to you. It doesn’t have to be a clinical interview; just taking the time to check-in can make a difference.
Across the world, men die an average six years younger than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable. Which means that it doesn’t have to be that way: we can all take action to live healthier, happier and longer lives.
From humble beginnings in Australia in 2003 supported by New Zealand in 2004, the Movember movement has grown to be a truly global one, inspiring support from over 5 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world. Movember’s initial focus on men’s health and prostate cancer expanded over the years to include testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Since 2003 1,250 men’s health projects have been funded by Movember, including:
- three-part series ‘Man Up’ that tackles gender stereotypes, the pressures of manhood, and why so many men are driven to suicide.
- the ‘Making Connections’ project delivered across multiple sites in the USA. This initiative connects men and boys within their communities to promote resilience across generations – working in particular with boys and men of colour, military members, veterans, and their families.
In 2016 Movember united with the National Breast Cancer Foundation Australia – funding research to transform the lives of both men and women. The move allows researchers to leverage genetic similarities between prostate, breast and ovarian cancers to create progress in treatment methods.
The Movember website has great resources about men’s health and how to start a conversation.
Let’s join our efforts to shine a light on the health risks men need to know about, increasing awareness to stop men dying too young…
Credits: All photos are from the Movember website.
Have you ever wondered how early childhood pain or trauma affect ones capacity to love? And to those who have been seriously hurt, is it possible to be so damaged emotionally that you actually can’t love again?
The skills necessary for achieving an intimate relationship are both the ability to be self-aware enough to be in touch with your own feelings and than be able to relate to the feelings and experiences of the intimate partner. Lacking these skills leaves one with a diminished ability to both give love and receive it.
We live in a fast-paced culture and the result is we want everything to come as a quick delivery. Love takes time to develop; it is not a process that can be accelerated. Loving someone deeply requires taking the time to truly know them. It takes honesty, it requires some risks and it takes a tremendous amount of trust. Yet many people think they can just fast forward the process like some steamy scene in a romance movie and begin a real relationship with sex instead of communication. It is doomed to fail because microwave love misses out on real intimacy…
Could it be that we hurry through love, rush relationships, speed up sex, and race through life in general because we are all too wounded to be willing to take the risk of loving someone deeply? Or could it be that our culture has just lost the ability to love because we have become too narcissistic and self-centred? Hurrying through life keeps us so busy that it steals the important solitude that we need to be healthy and whole, both psychologically and spiritually. In other words it keeps us from fully feeling our emotions of loneliness and emptiness. Maybe that’s why some people stay so busy and never take a minute to slow down, because if they did it would mean getting honest about what’s missing in their life and that would be too painful, so it’s off to another busy activity to avoid getting real…
You get to choose the level of intimacy in your relationships. Do you have the courage to open your heart and really love, or are you too damaged, wounded or narcissistic to love again?
(From Too damaged to love again?)
Credits: Photo from Pininterest
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As Seth Gillihan points out many of us struggle with a general negative feeling about ourselves. Maybe you think awful things about yourself—that you’re stupid, disgusting, unlovable, or worthless. Perhaps you’re constantly on your own case about not doing enough, or “messing up” everything you try. Or maybe it’s hard to find words for your sense of inadequacy, and while you don’t believe you’re bad, you have a chronic sense of not being happy with yourself.
It’s hard to feel at ease when you have a pervasive feeling that, in some fundamental way, you’re not OK. Self-neglect can be more subtle but similarly damaging. We might be very considerate toward everyone in our lives except for the person who inhabits our own skin.
Try these four strategies to show yourself some care:
- Take the time to plan your day in a thoughtful way.
- Prepare a nice lunch for yourself.
- Carefully consider your own needs and how you can meet them.
- Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you.
It’s very difficult to force ourselves to feel a certain way about who we are. Changing unhelpful thoughts is useful to some extent, especially if those thoughts are overly harsh and simply not true. Try replacing any negative self-talk with a positive framework. As an example, try treating yourself like an ANGEL:
A – Awesome
N – Nice
G – Goodhearted
E – Exceptional
L – Loveable idiot (reserved for very special occasions only 😜).
While ‘loveable idiot’ term was coined by Alain de Botton in the context of interpersonal relationships, I think it applies very well to our relationship with ourselves and helps us to learn to treat ourselves with laughter rather than criticism…
Not all angels reside in heaven.
Some walk the earth.
Just like you…
Adapted from Psychology Today
My nanna was a real expert in miracle cures. She had a very special magic healing potion for that. It was a pretty strong brew of 99% medical alcohol ethanol and chili pepper that she used for all sorts of things. Once she gave it to her friend’s husband who had a sore throat. He was supposed to rub a small amount of that brew onto his neck to increase blood flow and improve healing. Poor guy took a sip of it instead and… his throat was no longer sore, and his level of fitness improved dramatically judging by how fast he started running around the house….
Nanna used that brew as a healing rub for all sorts of inflammatory things: radiculitis, arthritis etc. So we regularly saw someone getting miraculously healed as soon as that brew was applied and running around the house… In fact pretty often it was both the ‘patient’ and the ‘healer’ dashing to the bathroom at the speed of light to wash that brew off…
Nanna never widely advertised her magic potion. It was reserved for her nearest and dearest and a few close friends… It surely gave all of us plenty of stories to share at various family gatherings…
“Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories.”
I have three children only and a million of theories, which all turned out to be just a trial and error in practice. Parenting is as crazy as circumnavigating the world without a map…but, oh, what a journey, what an adventure! Journey that at times felt agonisingly frustrating and was driving me absolutely mad! Journey that helped me to get to know myself better and re-evaluate a lot of things in life. Journey that taught me:
- to focus on enjoying the ride rather than getting to the destination
- to stop being perfectionist: there are no perfect children, but there are plenty of perfect moments with them
- to be kind to myself: after all the only ‘perfect’ parents are those who never had children…
And that journey does not end when they become adults. Today I came across an article on parenting adult children with some useful tips:
- Recognise and respect your differences
- Discover your own strengths and weaknesses as a parent
- Let them learn from their own mistakes
- Avoid making them choose between you and their family
- No unsolicited advice – let them take their own decisions without interrupting them.
I would also add to this list ‘get your own life sorted’, take care of your own happiness and well-being. On airplanes we are always advised to put our oxygen mask first before helping our children? If we run out of oxygen ourselves, we can hardly provide any help to them…
What are your key parenting lessons or tips?