Being a healthy man means doing some thinking about the expectations we experience as men. Expectations about how we as men are supposed to act, think and interact have been shaped and baked into our brains over a lifetime, from family, peers, school, through leisure and social pursuits, and in romantic relationships. Some of these expectations take us to unhealthy places – to be powerful and controlling, to avoid showing sadness or fear, to think our needs come first ahead of anyone who is “other” to us, particularly women and girls.
Being a healthy man means taking the time to notice and consider these expectations, where they come from, what they mean for each of us, and what they mean for others in your life.
As a man moving to being healthy ask yourself: how do these ideas and expectations about what it means to be a man feel for me? Do they fit? If I act or think in these ways how do others experience me being a man, especially those that I care about? What makes sense for me?
There is no one-and-done definition of being a man. Being a man is whatever you choose to be so long as the way you are a man is positive for you and for those around you.
Learn more about ending gender-based violence and understanding expectations by visiting MentorAction’s Homepage
Authored by Shawn Chisholm – Steering Committee Member, MentorAction