Are you prepared for life’s adversity?
‘Smooth seas do not make a skilled sailor’ – African Proverb
Not every man ends up in crisis, although all men are met with their own challenges on the journey of life. The ups and downs can seem endless and the saying ‘When it rains, it pours’ comes to mind when I think about some of the down experiences I have had, more about that in a moment.
Many men have an expectation that life should be a certain way. I certainly did.
The reality of life looks more like a squiggly line, and if this is true, how does one prepare for the inevitable adversities of life?
I was always struck by a statement the late Nelson Mandela made when he was asked how he survived prison. Almost enraged by the question, he responded “I was preparing”. Mandela was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow the state in 1962. He served 27 years in prison. Amid growing domestic and international pressure and fears of racial civil war, President F. W. de Klerk released him in 1990.
Perhaps he was preparing for life’s adversities, preparing for life’s injustices, preparing to lead and unite a country. Mandela and de Klerk led efforts to negotiate an end to apartheid, which resulted in the multiracial general election in which Mandela led the African National Congress (ANC) party to victory and became president from 1991 to 1997.
Whilst you may not be preparing to lead a nation, you could likely be leading a business or department, leading your family, and/or certainly leading yourself. How can you best prepare for life’s adversities?
I highly recommend you avoid doing what I did 15 years ago, or more accurately didn’t do. What I didn’t do was to ask for help, or to share with others in my life, in my intimate circle or trusted professionals what was going on for me, such as the stresses I was feeling in my work, the tension in my intimate relationship, the challenges of raising kids, financial pressures and more. Stressors that in isolation, were small, surmountable and unlikely to create too many crinkles in my expected straight line from A to B. However, all stacked up, well that’s another story!
Can you relate? Hopefully you are smarter than me and can reach out to friends, family and/or professional support. Statistics on Men’s Health show that if you do reach out and ask for help, therefore bypassing any stigma a high proportion of men feel which renders them (almost) unable to ask for help, then you are in a minority, and well done if you do reach out.
For the last 15 years, I have pondered these questions: What is happening 6 months before a man feels that the only choice left is a permanent solution to a temporary problem? How could drastic action be averted, avoided and even completely bypassed altogether? How can men positively contribute to their own mental health and well-being?
The answer I came up with for me could be the answer for you. If I had been able to meet with a group of men who were experiencing some of the same life stressors, it would have made a big difference to me. Belonging to a ‘Men’s Group’ has a positive effect on men’s mental health and physical well-being.
Being a part of an online men’s group is an opportunity for you to prepare yourself for life’s inevitable ups and downs and to experience mateship with other men. You can develop habits that prepare you to navigate life’s lows and blows, knowing you have the support of a community of men who have ‘got your back’! Communities of healthy men promote healthy masculinity.
The benefits of joining a Men’s Group can extend far beyond you as an individual man into your families, your workplaces and your communities. From my own challenges, combined with extensive research, MANonline was conceived. MANonline is a growing network of online men’s groups.
We look forward to welcoming you.