One could easily assume from observing society, that part of being a man is to only talk in banter, jokes and superficialities. Unless it’s with our significant other; although even then a lot of us are poor at communicating what we’re really thinking!
A few things can lead from this way of living: an insular relationship where you lack quality man time; never sharing anything of significance with other guys; and a general lack of real conversations about meaningful topics with other men in a purely masculine space. Too often we are reluctant to get deep and meaningful, unless we’re already too far deep – in the booze!
Although time away with ‘the boys’ is precious and valuable (it can help to keep us honest, as we know our mates will pull us up on things that the wife or partner won’t), it can also lead to a sense of isolation and even less desire to talk and share what’s really going on in life.
For optimum health, what men actually need is mature, adult man time. Unfortunately, invitations to have real conversations with other guys is seriously lacking in today’s society, and one of the big reasons why so many guys are emotionally defunct. If you only ever have deep or emotional chats with females – or never at all – then you’re going to find it hard to be courageous enough to share your sh*t with other men. Or, conversely, you’ll find you have no idea of how to do it anyway, because your only interactions with guys are based on superficial, macho talk. This can cause men to get stuck in their deep inner man cave, which is typically a dark place, hard to get out of, and a likely contributor to the fact that men aged 35 to 44 years are among the highest sufferers of suicide, anxiety and depression.
The solution is to embrace man time! So start scheduling it in, look for signs that your mates need to have a real chat and talk about some of life’s big things. Not just footy and female/male anatomy. And please do not think that being vulnerable is a weakness.
On the contrary, it takes courage to be vulnerable with your mates, and if you do, not only will you benefit from it, but you’ll open the door for them to do the same thing. And because we’re such closed beings a lot of the time, you might just encourage a mate to share some seriously crucial information that he was otherwise too afraid to talk about.
Real relationships are those where you can all drop your ego around each other. Of course, it needn’t always be solely big issues that you focus on. You see, I have an ulterior motive for introducing the concept of meaningful man time and deep conversation. And that is, at the end of October I will be flying to Cambodia with a bunch of other men to take part in the Stella Fella campaign with Project Futures .
The mission of this charity is to end human trafficking. On this trip I’ll be covering 450km by bike, and also visiting centres and meeting women who have been victims of modern slavery.
I’ve been set the challenge to raise $7,500*; however, my goal is to contribute even more.
Firstly I think I can raise well over $10,000 so this is my initial aim. Secondly, and most importantly, I firmly believe that the issue of modern slavery, sex trafficking and human trafficking in general, is an issue that starts and stops with men. As such, I want to raise awareness by encouraging more men to have conversations around it, spread the message that this practice must stop, and take action to make sure it does.
As men, we have the power to put an end to the horrific trafficking of humans, on a global level.
It is not alright to ignore an issue like this because you think it doesn’t affect you, or because it feels ‘too far away’. There are many victims of modern slavery right here in Australia.
Imagine if it was someone you loved – you’d want to put an end to it then, wouldn’t you? Well, every victim who suffers from trafficking IS someone’s loved one.
To find out more, visit the Stella Fella campaign .
*All funds raised will go towards two project partners: The Salvation Army’s Trafficking and Slavery Safe House Australia and The New Somaly Fund – Voices for Change, Cambodia.
Article by Mike Campbell.