Guys are notorious for their reluctance to speak their mind or share their feelings or thoughts when going through some tough time. The stigma of showing the vulnerabilities for men is so great that we’d rather bottle things up than risk looking weak and fragile in front of everyone. As a man, what’s your own coping mechanism? Do you tend to put on a brave face? When it comes to mental health, most guys are probably guilty of this: Sweeping the issues under the carpet and not dealing with them. It may help save our faces in the short term but later it’s bound to backfire and explode.
Believe or not, the average time it takes to secure an appointment these days is five weeks. So busy and so time poor! This kind of timeframe seems unrealistic if you just want to have a quick catch up with your mate. No wonder there are more people nowadays connect with each other electronically than those face to face. For me, I often work around my schedule on a moment notice or better yet spontaneously. But one week ago, I changed it – my ritual a bit. I sent an “early” invitation to a business-associate-turned-friend Huw to see if he is free to catch up one day in the next week or so. I told him from the outset that I have a special voucher for a complimentary cocktail at Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney for myself and a guest, hoping it’d be enough to lure him to join me for a sip. Luckily, it all worked out well for both of us, so we decided to meet up the following Tuesday.
Shortly after he accepted my invitation, I had this faint idea that I’ll just spend one good hour with him. To get the ball rolling, I thought I’d start off by talking about my recent blog posts. The rest we could just go with the flow.
On the day we joined up at the meeting point, we both arrived early. No time to waste! We started chatting away while making our way to the hotel. Once we got to the bar, I was in an even chattier mood thanks to the aesthetic effects of the bar setting and the exotic flavours of the cocktail drinks. As time went by, I found myself telling Huw more about my vulnerable stuff. Funnily enough, I noticed that he started to reveal his side of vulnerabilities to me, too. A sign that we had built a mutual trust. We covered a wide range of topics like job security, career reinvention, stress in life, mental health, physical health, hair loss, fears, anxiety, Cal Newport’s Deep Work and Mel Robbin’s Five Second Rule and so on.
By the time we were about to wrap up and call it a day, almost 2 hours had passed. It felt as if I’d just got out of a therapy session. I realised things meant to be uncertain or unknown would remain the way they were supposed to be or intended. It’s called the future for a reason. I still had the same fears or anxiety before and after I walked into and out of the door. But the difference is in knowledge. I’d always thought I was alone in some way or had bigger or unique issues than all other guys. It turned out some of us are actually in the same boat. Through a candid man-to-man talk like ours, it’s helped me see the light and understand the healing power of sharing vulnerability between men. And, that’s just one talk alone, imagine if we do more of it…