Today's post is a guest post from Stuart Mills in the UK. You might know Stuart from his site Unlock the Door. He has recently launched a new site Limitless Believing.
Man – the breadwinner, hunter-gatherer, and proverbial ‘tough cookie’ of the family.
Men in today’s world are perceived differently than how they used to be – in years gone by, men were expected to provide for the family, to not show any signs of weakness, and to make all the decisions whilst the wife and/or servants did all the chores.
In present-day society however, men are different. Homosexuality is now widely accepted in the western world, men are no longer the sole breadwinner of the family, and some fashions even have men wearing make-up.
But what is this doing to men?
What Today’s Society Is Doing To Men
Men of all ages are feeling the transformational effects of the society of today, whether they agree with it or not.
It’s now socially acceptable for a man to wear the colour pink, although this would have been frowned upon and laughed at 50 years ago. It’s also OK for a man to stay at home all day and lounge around doing nothing, when 100 years ago, this would be criticised.
A number of other things are OK for men to do or be, and yet if you look back at the Victorian era, or even the World Wars, these things just weren’t acceptable at all. Some would even be shocking.
The effect that the changes in society are having on women is, overall, good – women are earning more in the workplace, whereas in the past they weren’t even allowed in the workplace. Women have more rights as human beings, they’re allowed to dress how they wish, and they’re free to say whatever they choose. The effects of society on men, however, are not as beneficial.
Men, as a group, are suffering from confusion over who they are meant to be. With the ever-increasing divergence of what men can, and can’t do, the role of the man is no longer crystal clear. Like with women, men’s accepted behaviours have widened, but this means that the roles of the two genders are balancing out. Men no longer have ‘power’ and ‘authority’, and this means that they begin to lose their perceived identity.
More importantly, they begin to lose their happiness.
Why Do Men Struggle To Be Happy?
The feeling that men can be happy is perfectly justified – men, like every other creature on this planet that can understand happiness, deserve happiness as a right. However, a lot of men struggle to be happy in the world of today, instead preferring to put happiness aside for the sake of other pursuits.
Why do they do this? One reason is because although the roles of men and women are more balanced today, some men still feel that they need to ‘do it all’, and assume the burden or responsibility alone. Some men need to feel like ‘men’.
These men will work long hours at their job to bring more money, will bring their work home with them (either physically or mentally), and will forsake spending more time with their loved ones for the sake of earning more income for the household. This is the traditional view of men - a view that is now obsolete in today’s society, but which some men still cling to.
Why do they cling to this view? It may be down to the pressure they feel to provide – if some men aren’t providing for their loved ones, they aren’t ‘true’ men.
They will find reasons to criticise themselves for not being ‘man enough’ and taking responsibility, so they may pursue other ‘manly’ things such as drinking at the local bar, or gambling. As long as they are doing something manly, then they tell themselves that what they are doing is ‘right’.
Another reason why men struggle to be happy is because society is asking them to fulfil conflicting objectives. On the one hand, men are directed towards having a successful career and making a lot of money. On the other hand, men are advised to be ‘free’ and spend more time with their loved ones. Women are now also capable of having successful careers, so man’s exclusivity to this role has vanished.
With the role of a ‘house-husband’ being touted, and with a financial economy that is constantly criticised, it’s become apparent that men no longer know who they are, and what role they’re meant to play in society.
In other words, men aren’t happy because men don’t know what will make them happy.
What Can Men Do To Be Happy?
It’s such a shame that men base their identities on what society dictates. I myself used to think that I had to conform to what society told me to do – I assumed that I had to provide for my future family, and gain qualifications which would lead to a successful career.
Today, I have changed my outlooks and think in terms of the individual. I no longer feel pressured by outside influences because I look at everyone as an individual, rather than a mass group of society.
This is what all men can do to be happy – view everyone as an individual. We have all been conditioned by outside forces, such as our parents, teachers, and mass society, to behave in a certain way and fulfil certain obligations. As such, the man’s individuality is lost when he pursues the dreams of society rather than his own.
I’d advise disposing of the 'dream' of society, and what other people expect, and follow each person’s own individual path.
As I discussed in my latest article, other people pass on their limiting beliefs, ‘infecting’ you with limiting beliefs of your own. This stifles happiness and individuality - a large-scale infection has taken place in today’s men, caused by a changing society.
To remove this infection, and embrace happiness, you must remove the limiting belief that you’ve inherited. You must cleanse yourself and learn to love yourself for who you are, rather than what others think you should be.
Happiness comes from being true to you – in order for men to be happy, they must abandon the roles that society expects of them, once and for all. Once this is done and the man is no longer dependent on others to tell him who he is, he is free.
Millions of people worldwide are restricted from living the life of their dreams by the limiting beliefs that control them. If you want to break those limiting beliefs and live life your way, then visit Stuart Mills at Limitless Believing, and subscribe here.
[note from Galen--I will be away from the computer Friday to Sunday, so please excuse any delay in publishing your valuable and valued comments.]
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) is a program to help us develop habits to grow a joyful spirit. Many of us sabotage our happiness by habits that we might not even be aware of. Identifying and changing these habits can build a reservoir of well-being to enhance our happy times and sustain us during challenging times.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Why Men Are Scared To Be Happy
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Thank you for the opportunity to write for you Galen, it's much appreciated :-)ReplyDelete
Stu, Thank you for sharing your views of being happy from a male perspective. I appreciate you right back!Delete
Stu - I love how you break it down. Yes, the last thing we want is limiting beliefs and I like how you've said "infecting" - it is the perfect way to see it. Often, we tend to worry about what others may think of our actions and as a result, lose many of life's wonderful moments. Happiness looks so much like the Holy Grail with life's pressures that one tends not to notice when life is good. Slowing down, prioritizing and practicing consciousness is the answer. :-) It works for me.ReplyDelete
Great post, Stu. And that too, at one of my favorite blogs!
Thank you, Galen - I enjoyed reading Stu here!
Vidya, Thanks for the kind words about the blog. And I agree with you about Stu's views on limiting beliefs.Delete
I think we, as a species, choose not to notice the good, and instead only focus on what's wrong in our lives, or what we haven't got. Being aware of all of it, not just the negative, will surprise us - we'll realise we have so much more in our lives right now.
Thanks for commenting and for all your support!
We need to scrap all of these gender roles and just start over!ReplyDelete
Nicole, Ha! I wonder if we really can!Delete
It would be wonderful to do so Nicole, but then we would have to keep starting over as society kept changing ;-)Delete
Great Article Galen - loved reading it and so true. Men always the problem LOLReplyDelete
Mel, Ha! It's certainly easier for women to believe that!Delete
It's a lot harder for men to accept that they need help sometimes, but that's a different article ;-)Delete
Thanks for commenting Mel!
Stuart I think EVERYBODY (with the possible exception of children) struggles to be happy. It's the existential nature of existence. Of course some are more naturally disposed towards happiness than others. Hope life is treating you well. Kathy and I are planning a trip over into your neck of the woods (Covent Gardens area) in a couple of months. I am married to an anglophile LOL.
Riley, It's true that we have a basic temperamental set point for happiness, but research shows that at least 40% of our happiness is based on our habitual thought patterns! That gives us a lot of room to see more joy in our lives. Have fun in England!Delete
I believe the nature of existence is to find that happiness that we lost when we were born. You're right, children seem so much happier when they were born, but even at that young age, they're being 'corrupted' by negativity in various forms. Such a shame.
Covent Gardens eh? Hope you have fun there, never been myself though!
I'm with Vidya and her response -
Also, so many struggle this happiness thing in life - I find that if we can find our peace that leads to our happiness....pink shirt or not...:)
In gratitude to your words,
Nancy, I'll join you and Vidya in that!Delete
I used to own a pink shirt Nancy, believe it or not. I don't have it any more, but my shirts are pretty colourful these days ;-)Delete
Thanks for stopping by!
Interesting perspective for everyone to contemplate and figure out. My partner wants all the freedom and letting go of the providing and his meals ready and his house clean....he does not want to give up the servant/maid/ bookkeeper/ child rearing, parttime worker - just wants her to add the provider role too :) So he can happily go on long, long bike tours ;)ReplyDelete
lots of discussion at our house about these things
Patricia, Oh dear, that doesn't sound very balanced. He seems to have found what makes him happy. I hope you can, too. Really.Delete
Me too! Working on it, but I may have to go on strike!Delete
I echo Galen's point about finding what makes you happy too. It sounds like your partner values his alone time at least, like I do. But with my girlfriend, I've also learned to value the time I spend with her. Treating her like a princess also helps ;-)