I am concerned about men. In fact, I am really concerned about men. When I look around at the yoga classes @ Plasha Yoga, the demo is mostly women. When I step in to my cardio classes, again the demo is mostly women. When I observe older couples it is not uncommon to see a woman aging gracefully paired with a very overweight man who clearly doesn’t take care of himself. Women are living longer and women are more likely to seek out therapy and ask for help when in distress. In Erie, we have a series in our newspaper dedicated to women, a huge yearly conference for women only and many support groups that are designed solely for females. As a woman this excites me. As a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend and a mother to a son, I have been stepping back lately and asking myself, “whatever happened to Robert Bly?” Where are the support networks for men? Yes, they are there, but it involves a long drive or an airplane ride to get to there. It’s complicated.
As women appear to be getting physically, emotionally and financially stronger, many men seem to be getting lost in the shuffle. They seem to be unclear as to how to navigate this new world that we are living in. And the consequences are high. Men commit suicide nearly four times more often than women, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men are also “twice as likely to develop substance abuse disorders as women. Men begin using substances earlier than women and have more opportunity to try drugs. Men become intoxicated twice as often as women and are 3-4 times more likely to experience problem drinking and alcoholism (Alan Lyme, LCSW, CAP).” According to Lyme, these patterns cross all demographic lines of race, income, education, marital status, and geographic location.
As females become stronger there appears to be a growing trend of women in their thirties and early forties leaving their husbands. A common thread in their reasoning, “I do it all anyway. I work full time. I make more money. I take care of the children. I cook. I clean. I just don’t need him.” And of course the resentment that stems from these super women doing it all with little help from their partners. Many men are tuning in to their internal compass, practicing healthy communication with their partners and bushwhacking through the unknown with success. However, there are still too many men out there deeply lost without support and carry the shame deeply embedded within our male culture that to ask for help is a sign of weakness.
As a child I rarely wore a dress, was either barefoot or wearing my cowboy boots (sorry boys for kicking you in the shins)and in my preteen years swore like a sailor and was considered one of the guys as we rode our bikes throughout our town. I still find myself at gatherings inching my way alongside my husband in to men’s conversations and feeling a sense of belonging. I was at a dinner party the other night sharing with my two male friends my concerns about men. They both agreed with me (conscious guys) and yet they both said, ” the majority of men are not ready to make a change. They will not ask for help even though they are desperate for support”. I hope men as a whole can prove them wrong. I hope that men across the nation will soon learn that the biggest sign of strength is to look inside, to ask for help and realize they, like women, are powerful beyond their wildest dreams.
A huge advantage of working with me (and most life coaches) is that I offer coaching nationally and internationally over the phone (I also work with clients face to face who are local). It is completely confidential which allows individuals to do their growth work from the privacy of their own homes and offices. So MEN if you are up for proving my friends wrong, are ready for a change and need support, I would be honored to be your coach (despite being a chick).