Who are you? What makes you you!?
Now answer that without talking about your career or studies.
A father, a son, an uncle perhaps?
Now answer that question again, without talking about family or career.
What else defines you?
This question is often extremely hard for men in particular. Masculine identity has for years revolved around being the provider for the family. It's the norm to work extremely hard to ensure partners and children have everything they 'need'.
Men become so focused on working in order to give their families good lives, they neglect to create or maintain a life of their own.
Men’s identities can become so enmeshed with their career, all other aspects of who they are often falls away with time. Men often know this deep down and may catch glimpses of this at times but are simply too busy to do anything about it.
This helps to explain why so many men experience depression & anxiety and issues with anger & addictions at some point.
But the day will come, whether it be in retirement, being made redundant, changing jobs or perhaps the wife and kids have away for a few nights – the day will come when these men have some free time and realise they don’t know what to do with themselves.
The man hasn’t seen his real friends in months, possibly years and hasn’t had a hobby or interest outside of work possibly for decades. The wives and partners of these men have known this for years and are often trying to get their man to call up that old friend or join that sporting group or just do something!
Many men who come to counselling say they don’t know who they are anymore.
“I don’t know if I’m depressed but I feel like my life is just filled up with work and chores”.
Regardless of what life stage you’re at, you can do something about this.
Re-connect with old an old friend, get back on the golf course or footy field, start that class, make more of an effort with an acquaintance or start a new activity where you can meet new friends.
Your mind is a master at making excuses – “They won’t like me, Tony already has enough friends, I’m no good at golf, I'm too old to make new friends etc “ but don’t let these thoughts dictate your behaviour.
The men who commit to doing something about changing their life, regularly discover that most of the men they meet are experiencing the exact same challenges they are.