Everyone needs a little self-care time

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Nothing better than a little self-care, by indudging my love of rollercoasters

Its a lesson I’ve learned after many mistakes from a previous life (before my brush with death). Taking some time for myself to chill out a little, especially after one of those busy weeks that I sometimes post.

A while ago during my sabbatical after my brush with death, I did read (listen) to a lot of things, this is also when I decided to get hypnotherapy for my fear of needles. Another thing I picked up was the idea of self-care.

Selfcare is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good selfcare is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety.

I tie it directly to the conscious living lifestyle which is simple in concept again but being mindful is more tricky that it first seems. For example one of the things I do is plan in self-care time in my calendar, especially when I identify a potentially stressful period coming up. It could be a great time away for work but flights are always full of stressful moments and finding hotels etc. For example last week, I flew to Madrid to talk at the xR fest. It was great but the weather temperature hit a maximum of 41c and my flights were via Brussels. I knew the connection was tight with 55mins between landing and the connecting flight leaving.

Express connection ticketOf course we didn’t actually get into the air for 45mins from Manchester, giving me no time to run across the airport through passport control with the express connection ticket and luckily catch my flight as it was also delayed and they couldn’t quite close the gate with people arriving from previous flights. Trust me it was a close call!

This is all the stuff I thought about while resting in the hot tub at the Hilton Hotel Manchester Monday July 1st. I had planned in a day off and took advantage of a treatment some kind friend had bought me for my 40th birthday.

While listening to The Nod recently I was impressed with the discussion about Self-Care. There were two aspects I liked quite a lot (wish I could transcribe it). In summary the conversation was about getting men (especially black men, being a black culture podcast) to consider self-care as part of being masculine. The discussion reminded me of a discussion I had a long while ago about the game being a self-help book for men who usually avoided self-help books.

Self-care is clearly important but its equally important to find what works for you. The example of a yoga retreat just doesn’t work for me although it might work for others. My kind of self-care is certainly spas and rollercoaster parks

Maybe your more a sleep in long hours type person or rearrange and clean the house hygge person. What ever it truly is (and I mean truly deeep down) then a little self-care when things get tough is really a life savor!

The height issue and self-confidence

I was reading a piece about short kings a new coined term for short men.

The whole thing is about how men under 6ft tall are always the brunt of jokes and bullying. There’s also some critical points about the way society,  masculinity and our culture thinks about short men.

Sizeism is hard to avoid on dating apps such as Grindr and Tinder, where users commonly forbid men under 6ft from contacting them. Tinder even made a 2019 April Fool’s joke about launching a “height verification” update that would prevent guys from exaggerating their stature.

Yet short-shaming isn’t harmless. “There’s a host of studies that show short men are stigmatized in many ways, not only in people’s perception, but in actual real world outcomes as well,” says Joseph Vandello, a social psychologist at the University of Southern Florida. “People perceive shorter men as having fewer leadership qualities,” he says, citing findings that majority of American CEOs are over 6ft in and voters prefer tall presidential candidates (including, at 6ft 2in, Trump).

All this starts early – even in kindergarten, studies have found, teachers perceive the shortest boys in their class as less academically capable than their peers.

Height is also perceived to correlate directly with masculinity. As Vandello explains: “Because of [the correlation between height and perceived masculinity], a lot of men feel kind of a chronic sense of anxiety and uncertainty about their manhood status.” Insecurity generally manifests in oversensitivity to insult (which may contribute to the stereotype of short men as angry, resentful, over-compensating Napoleons.)

I’m almost 6ft tall at 5ft 11 so rarely gotten much of the criticism of others much shorter than myself.

It got me thinking about a few things related to height in the past. Okcupids the big lies people tell in online dating and also the discussion we had on BBC Radio Merseyside about height. Even then, I was thinking there’s got to be a connection with self confidence here, for example a lot of the women I spoke to who couldn’t imagine dating someone shorter than them was shocking. Likewise men who wouldn’t dare date someone taller was equally shocking. This is where I started keeping a rough tally on how self-confident they appeared, and it seemed my rough theory might have something about it?

Like many short men, Steven recalls an adolescence spent believing masculinity was defined by a set of immutable characteristics – like being tall and imposing – and that by not fitting that ideal he was “kind of cursed.”

But as he grew up, he began thinking about manhood as something he could develop by embodying his values, rather than a blunt appraisal of his physical self. “I think to be masculine, to be manly, whatever that word means, is about doing good in the world. It’s about contributing. It’s about finding a way to serve other people, to be kind, to be strong in defense of those who need strength in their corner. The more masculinity is an idea of service the more I think it is helpful.

Now happily committed to a taller woman, Brendan hardly thinks about his height at all. “Once you get into that sense of self-confidence the height issue kind of melts away,” he says.

We should all believe in better masculinity

I never got the chance to write about the Gillette advert and the absolutely insanity of the outcry by some men around it. Theres a ton of discussion, press and frankly shouting about it.

The best commentary/deconstruction I found of the debate is from Dr Nerdlove.

I released a video where I touched on the fact that Gillette released a new commercial that directly addressed toxic masculinity, asking men to do better and the reaction that a lot of people, mostly men, had to it.

As it turns out, I have a lot more to say about it because, well, it’s made people lose their goddamn monkey minds. This is an ad that is literally just saying “hey, men can do better” and people are acting as though this was the announcement that XY chromosomes have been made illegal and having chest hair means that you’re going to get rounded up to camps.

When I first saw the advert I felt impressed by the tone and expression.  Yes they must have known calling out toxic masculinity was going to have a big backlash but they did it anyway. Hopefully knowing how important it is.

The accusation that this is an attack on men and manhood is kind of absurd on its face. Because we see a lot of traditional positive masculinity in here. We see dads barbecuing over the weekend with their kids, dads propping up, teaching and encouraging their sons, nurturing their daughters. We see the guys calling out bad behavior and ending fights and showing respect for others. And we see fathers protecting other people and — importantly — teaching their sons to be brave.

It’s a little disingenuous to say that this is an attack on men when the point of the entire ad is all but literally spelled out for you:

We believe in the best in men.

If I was to add anything else to the advert it would be Tony Porter’s words.

My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman

Our liberation as men is tied to yours as women

Jordan Stephens

It was during a Christmas lunch at Pie & Ale, Rachel Wise pointed me towards a post in the Guardian and short video from Jordan Stephens.  Well worth watching and reading. Here’s one of the key parts…

It’s our responsibility as we become adults to acknowledge this pain and gain compassion for ourselves and acceptance of others. But for men in particular, when the patriarchy says that it’s OK to grab a woman’s ass, or tell her what to do, or watch too much porn or deny her space – and you accept this as a way of treating another human being – you deny yourself the opportunity to understand why you desired that comfort of power in the first place. The ego wants dominance and control. And the male ego is currently everywhere.

As far as I can see, this toxic notion of masculinity is being championed by men who are so terrified of confronting any trauma experienced as children that they choose to project that torture on to the lives of others rather than themselves.

What’s even more upsetting is that often when men allow themselves to feel this pain, it’s so new to them that they kill themselves. We live in a society where men feel safer killing themselves than acknowledging pain. Accepting the patriarchy from a place of false benefit will prevent you from ever truly loving yourself or understanding others. It’s OK to feel sad. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to have loved your mum and dad growing up. It’s OK to have missed them or wanted more affection. It’s OK to take a moment when you’re reminded of these truths. When you allow your brain to access these emotions, it knows exactly what to do. So nurture yourself. Talk honestly to the people around you, and welcome the notion of understanding them more than you have ever done before.

This is something I’ve written about a few times in previous posts.
I always refer back to Tony Porters talk

“My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman”