I’m Just Not Needy Enough

This was the reason given by a man recently for not attending an Essentially Men / Men Being Real workshop :

“I’m just not needy enough…”

I have to admit that I didn’t quite know how to respond even though I felt deeply troubled by his words…

I realised later that this was because these ‘five words’ summed up perfectly what has ‘afflicted’ my own life from childhood – the expectations of how I needed to be to be accepted as a ‘Man’ by the society in which I live.

The image of Manhood that I grew up with – encapsulated in movie after movie by ‘tough guys’ such as John Wayne, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and countless others – brainwashed me step by step into believing I had to be something I could never be, or even wanted to be…

This image of manhood epitomised by the character, John McClane in the Die Hard series, of a man who sacrifices ‘everything’ just to save his wife and children – fights bad guys, crawls over broken glass, keeps going with little more than a grimace even after he gets shot and wounded – has not served me well

I wanted to place a pillow into his clenching fists so that he could thrash the stuffing out of it, but without such agreements as those above there was no telling what he might do.

Heroic as it might be, it denies us men our humanity. We are not machines – wound us and we feel pain; cut us and we bleed; lose someone close to us and we will probably want to cry… if we can get past the lie we were tricked into believing that ‘Boys Don’t Cry’…

It is because many of us “are not needy enough” that we need to attend this workshop – to reclaim our humanity, and to start living authentically beyond the armour under which we’re taught to hide our true selves… to the extent many of us mistakenly believe we are the ‘armour’…

“Who are we when we’re not being our armour?”

If you’re a man, perhaps, this is the right time for You to finally give yourself the space to explore the answer to this question? or

If you’re a woman, perhaps you can pass this article onto a man you might know who could benefit from such ‘heroic exploration’?



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Mark Bradman is the Programme & Marketing Coordinator for the Essentially Men Education Trust