Men are going through a tough time, and I hope that this Men’s Circle will become a beacon for positive change and transformation.
I have many motivations for holding the Men’s Circle, but I think the numbers around Men’s Mental Health are one of the main drivers aside from my personal story further down.
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 35
- 3 out of 4 people who die by suicide are men
- 87% of people who sleep on the street are men
- Men are far less likely to access psychological therapies
These numbers prove our current approaches are not working, and we need to course correct them as soon as possible.
I hope that the Men’s Circle will be one of the many interventions which will help.
My Wellbeing Journey
I had a hard time growing up. When I was six, my parents divorced, and at the age of eight, my childhood home burnt to the ground; I was bullied a lot at school, and my mother always struggled to make ends meet. Overall, I did not get much sound emotional and financial support from home.
I do not hold a grudge against my parents; they did what they could with what they had. Despite all of this, I have always had excellent mentors in the forms of parents of my friends, teachers and others I met while growing up.
I think without them, I would be a very different person. All of them taught me invaluable lessons and helped me turn the challenges I have gone through into opportunities for learning.
I am forever grateful.
My Purpose for holding the Men’s Circle
I see many young men today and male adults without healthy role models who can guide and provide a path forward which is more wholesome and hopeful.
That is not to say that I’m perfect for that job, far from it, but I believe that from my personal experience and the training I have received, I can create a space where men can come together to discover that there are other ways to live.
I feel very passionate about this because I know from experience that suppressing how we feel is not helpful. I did for a long time, and when I did, I turned to food. Historically, I’m an emotional eater, and now I know that this is one of my warning signs. If I’m overeating instead of expressing myself, something is beneath the surface that I’m not expressing.
I know within myself that I turn to food when I don’t have support from the people around me.
We need spaces where we feel supported.
As I mention above, the mental health numbers around men are staggering, which means that something is not working and my aspiration for this Men’s Circle is that it will become a space where men can come to seek help. One of the numbers clearly shows that men are not seeking help when needed.
I wish this Men’s Circle is a space men will want to come to because it feels safe, and the benefits are clear.
I think that one of the main challenges men are going through is finding ways to express themselves that are useful to them, yet, perhaps very different to how women do it.
I don’t think that talking at a Men’s Circle is necessarily the only route for men to become Whole Human Beings. There are many ways to release difficult emotions; at the same time, putting the way you feel into words and being given the time to think out loud is incredibly helpful.
Another challenge men are going through now is understanding what it means to be a man. Men are “supposed” to be “men’s men”, following a particular male stereotype.
In my mind, this is firmly outdated.
Over the last 100 years, that has changed drastically, and I don’t think there is one definitive answer.
I am a firm believer in balance, which means I think that we need to cultivate within ourselves the positive character traits of masculinity and femininity in equal measure – they are not mutually exclusive.
For me, the goal is authenticity and being a Whole Human Being comfortable with the variety of life.
As a starting point, these principles from Princeton UMatter are an excellent example of where we could be heading:
- Asking for help when needed
- Showing vulnerability
- Expressing a wide range of emotions (sadness, fear, shame, kindness, tenderness)
- Developing healthy relationship skills (active listening, communication, nonjudgmental support, seeking out consent)
- Feeling comfortable in emotionally nurturing roles
- Calling out/in other men who engage in behaviours that are disrespectful or aggressive
You can learn more about my Men’s Circle on its respective page.
I am excited to see where this project ends up, and I would be forever grateful if you shared the Men’s Circle with the men in your life.
For my other services, check out the front page of Tor Njamo.