As a Transformational life coach I’m in the privileged position of listening to people every day and hearing of what troubles them the most. What I’ve noticed is that when there are feelings of overwhelm and obligation, stress is the order of the day.
This is even more severe for men in this modern age with so many responsibilities added to the pressure to perform. With all the information available on-line these days, one would assume that people would be happier and more content but this is not what’s happening.
More information has created a cesspool of comparison and social media is mostly used to shout out about all the success without the explanation of how many failures had to be experienced, in order to achieve the so called “success.”
Feeling obliged to do what other men are doing (but only in the success and profitability arena) is one-sided and is not conducive to peace. One of the most common challenges that men face today is finding the time to do what they feel they need to do because they have so many responsibilities and need to provide for their families and often for their extended families too. Add that to the average man’s daily feelings of obligation and you have a recipe for depression.
There is a powerful distinction to be made when considering what an obligation is and what a commitment is. I feel commitment is something that I agree to do, as opposed to an obligation which feels like it’s put on me. I don’t have to take on any obligations and neither do you.
These days I commit to things that I can meet and disregard any obligations someone might be putting on me that I simply cannot meet. Peace comes from knowing that I have a choice and as soon as I get really quiet and still, I know I’m tapping into a powerful inner GPS guidance system, that’s built into me and it’s in you too.
Where the problem lies in men’s mental health is where this inner wisdom isn’t recognized. The belief that they’re defective and there’s nothing they can do about it, adds fuel to the toxic flames of low self-worth and insecurity. The pressure to “keep up with the Jones” is the added pressure that men often experience from their families and communities and this adds more shame and self-loathing that they’re not good enough and not doing enough.
Everything in life is a choice and once I sense this inner guidance, I get to decide what I put my time and attention on with the knowledge that if I follow what lights me up, I’m on track to feel my best. Feeling my best is my priority and I encourage this in all my clients especially my male clients who’ve bought into the toxic narrative that they must be defective because they can’t get it “right.”
If you’re reading this and you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I encourage you to slow down and realise there is absolutely nothing that you need to do. From that place, you can start making commitments and decide what you choose to do and what you prioritise and are prepared to be accountable for. Look for a good feeling – it’s how you know you’re on track. Does the choice you’ve made light you up? That’s your inner GPS guidance system working. You can trust that.