“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.” – Dalai Lama
This weekend we ventured off to surprise a close friend for her birthday. It’s a quick, 3-ish hour drive from Charlotte and we were able to catch up with some of the old gang – good times had by all!
A few of us met for breakfast this morning on the way out of town and the conversation turned to mental health. Specifically, the recommendation that a male member of our circle of friends seek out counseling to help him work through a difficult breakup.
One of the women in our group, suggested that he find a therapist. A great idea to be sure. I told her to have him reach out if he had any questions or doubts. Talk therapy is for everyone, but it’s no secret that men have a harder time seeking help. Perhaps if he knew that I too have sought the counsel of a professional in my life, he would be more apt to give it a try.
WE SHOULD BE ASHAMED
The stigma that we have placed on mental health in this country, especially for men, is something we should be collectively ashamed of. I view my therapist as nothing more than a coach. No different from the dozens of coaches I have had over the years in sports. But instead of giving an unbiased opinion of my swing, she gives an unbiased opinion of my life, regardless of the current status of affairs.
IT’S NOT JUST FOR THE DEPRESSED
To be clear, I am in a great place mentally and emotionally. Perhaps the best I’ve felt “up there” in 10 years or more. The credit, I feel, belongs to this blog and my yoga and meditation practice. But guess who I went and saw just last week for a check in? My coach. My therapist.
There is this unfounded notion that you sit there for an hour talking about mommy and abandonment issues, weeping into a box of tissues while you are labeled as some kind of soft sissy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The input from my coach has helped me not only through the occasional low points in life…sometimes very low… but difficult decisions in my business, difficult conversations with employees or customers that may be weighing heavy on my mind, the works.
This person has become a trusted advisor in my life – both personally and professionally. Her title just happens to be that of therapist.
Men associate asking for help with weakness. They don’t want their issues to be a burden to anyone else. They think “just talking” won’t fix anything. And of course that a “real man” should be able to control his feelings. Garbage. Just go ahead an dispel any of those notions right now.
Look at it this way. A business leader, in most cases, becomes so because they are able to surround themselves with the best people, right? They recognize the weak areas of the business, and are able to put the right person on the bus, in the right seat, at the right time, going the right direction. Right? The same analogy could be used for a any great sports coach.
The business is your health and it’s the most important business you will ever be charged with leading. Your health is both physical and mental. Don’t let misplaced pride prevent you from putting the right person on your team.
See you on the journey.
PS – If you think you or a man you know may be battling depression there is a great website just for fellas. Send it along. You may just save someones life.
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