It's international mens day today. It's also world toilet day but I don't think the two are linked, unless the toilet seat has been left up of course.
I have 2 boys, who will one day go from being boys to men, and I try my best to be a good example to them of what being a modern man is about.
I'm sure I do things wrong and have done, i'm sure I'll continue to but I am certain that by being as open as possible about being sensitive, not having to be the strong silent type and even (shock horror) crying that I'll help my boys turn out alright.
These are some of the things I have done recently as a man.
Um that's it really. Happy international mens day.
The result was interesting and i typed the scores she had given me up as we went along and then sent it to her at the end. It looked like this.
So within 10 minutes we had gone from "I can't think of any more of my good qualities' to the scores above.
We don't need to be perfect, but if we're not perfect that doesn't mean we don't score and don't have the quality and should not recognise it.
Thinking in black and white about things can be exhausting because life can either be good or a catastrophe. The balance comes somewhere in the middle with accepting sometimes it will be good and sometimes not so good.
Next time you or someone you care about is feeling down, try the scores approach. You might surprise yourself
I was chatting yesterday to a colleague who is a different thinker.
By different I mean he is in the minority at work. He is creative, he connects people, he innovates, he experiments, he tries different things.
He succeeds, but he does this often in spite of the structure around him, not because of it.
He displays a lot of the traits from top right in this.
I'm sure he does the others too but top right is his USP. That's the thing that makes him stand out from the crowd.
Unfortunately standing out from the crowd can take it's toll, especially if the structure around you doesn't nourish, support and value your USP. It can feel like you're wading through treacle, that no one 'gets' you and that work life can be a constant battle to get your ideas heard.
We chatted about this for a little while, sharing frustrations, because I tend to operate in the same space. Sometimes this is called Cognitive Diversity.
We can think about how we present our ideas to try and get more buy in, but unfortunately people can be within hierarchies that squash their creativity and don't allow it to do what it does best.
Innovation, improvement, efficiency all come from people with ideas. Whether that idea is for a new system, new process or new technology. There are some people who will get the job done, who's key strengths are not in improvement but lie elsewhere. We need them too.
But how do we make sure that the different thinkers are heard, the ones who may be seen and described as disrupters, who may say the same point over and over again in meetings to try and get it to land and who feel like they aren't part of the gang.
Life can be lonely in this space because you feel like you don't fit within the organisational norm. You can therefore feel like you're not valued for the talents, skills and diversity that you bring.
We talked some more about what we could do about it and how he could feel like the organisation valued him, had its arm around him and gave him the space and support to do what he does best.
One of the ideas was to fuel the debate so I found an excellent article by Deloitte on Diversity of Thought which covers the problem and the value different thinkers can bring. Have a read.
Some of us see a lightbulb, some of us see a fishbowl.
Take Care, don't be afraid to think differently
I've written about being a people pleaser before, or I think I have but don't have the time or inclination to go back and look. Which makes me feel bad because I'm not making it easy for whoever is reading this, so i'm not pleasing you, so I'm sorry.
It's bloody hard work being a people pleaser. It dominates my life. Although it might not seem obvious sometimes, like in yesterday's meeting where I tried to stand up for myself and not back down. I felt like I didn't please a colleague and upset them, I hadn't coz i checked today.
When you try and please people it can make it hard in the moment, and make it doubly hard after the moment when you're reflecting on what happened.
I'm trying to take a break from people pleasing at the moment which means taking space from some relationships / friendships in my life.
This is really hard. It is my natural in built DNA to try and people please. I'm used to it and others are used to it to. It makes it even harder to say no, even if that no is to myself.
If i don't feel like (regardless of whether I have any evidence) I have pleased people I feel like a failure, like i have less worth and that I need to try even harder,
Bloody people, always wanting (in my mind) to be pleased
Justin Bieber once sang
"if you like the way you look that much then maybe you should go and love yourself"
He's a wise man Bieber.
But what do we do if we don't like the way we look that much, or the way we act, or the way we are, basically if we don't love ourselves?
Vitamin D comes from the sunshine.
Vitamin Sea comes from the seaside.
Where does Vitamin L(ove) come from?
For many people it comes from within. They believe in themselves. They can look in the mirror and focus on the good things they see. They can find the positive in a situation. They answer 'how are you' with 'good' instead of 'not bad'.
For me I'm still working on loving myself (that always sounds smutty) and giving myself some Vitamin L.
But it's hard, and I'm currently in a real low, and when I am I need others to help me out of it, to give me encouragement, to lend me a hand, to help me believe in myself, to tell me 'you can do it' to say the right thing.
The trouble is I don't want to ask, because I already feel shit about myself and super needy, and to ask for some Vitamin L from others just makes me feel more shit and more needy.
So what's the solution? We unfortunately, it depends on others spotting that I'm down and in need of some Vitamin L and coming to me, making the steps to fill the space where I have withdrawn. If I've gone quiet it's because I'm struggling. If i've withdrawn it's because I'm struggling.
What I really need is someone to tell me I'm valued.
Someone to tell me I have worth.
Someone to tell me I'm loved,
And ideally, this to be a face to face conversation, and include a hug.
Take Care, and don't be afraid to step into that space if someone has withdrawn from it
Last Friday on my way to the Climate Strike with my boys I bumped into Maff on the train who is another dad from the school.
I'm not sure we've ever chatted before, but just done that 'i recognise you' nod when our paths crossed. Anyway, amongst playing the jelly bean challenge we got talking about what he was up to and he told me about Camerados. I told him about my blogging. We had an immediate connection, life's funny like that.
In essence a Camerado is halfway between a stranger and a friend, people just alongside each other, no fixing, no agenda, just there. It's a movement of people who look out for each other, in daily life or in Public Living Rooms (pop up spaces) where people can go to relax, chat and look out for each other.
These are their principles
I really like this idea. I like the idea of having people to chat to who will listen. I like the idea of being one of those people who someone can chat to and I will listen.
Being kind, and human is the most important thing we can do.
I beat myself up quite a lot that I feel like I give more than I receive, that I care too much. But this is not something I should do, I should be proud that I care, I should care less about what other people are like, I should not compare, I should not need others attention or gratitude, I should be confident in my own value.
I should just try and be a camerado.
I am currently mid wobble, or maybe not mid, but definitely within one. It feels horrible.
My anxiety is spiking regularly, I can't keep off social media on my phone, i'm drinking too much and my mind is stuck on a constant thought loop about whether things I have done are the right things or the wrong things.
I know exactly what has triggered it.
Anxiety is much like a drug addiction, you can wean yourself off the thing(s) that make you anxious and work on being more resilient, but if you catch sight of your drug, touch it and don't necessarily actually have to taste it then it can set you spiking.
I'm sat at a desk on my own, no one sits within 10m of me. That doesn't help.
I havent spoken to anyone today.
I feel like I'm on the verge of tears.................................................
Round and round and round life feels confused
Like Kylie in her hot pants feeling they’ve been overused
Carrying your bags, holding umbrellas in the rain
Every smile electric, every word orchestral refrain
When the best thing ever also just may be the worst
Can instant connections, deep understanding ever be reversed
To touch, to feel to shake like a winged Papillon
Moonlit sonatas silhouetted in their song
Dawn glimpses over the water, glistens on the main
Simple pleasures, conversation, heart versus the brain
Your favourite song acoustic, stripped back to the core
Never give up hoping, encore encore encore
I support my mental health by taking Anti-Depressants, 200mg a day of Sertraline.
I've spent the last month cutting these down to 150mg. It may not sound much of a cut but you have to wean yourself off these things otherwise your head hurts (too much).
Last week I went to Glastonbury, and accidentally weaned myself off coffee too (£3 a cup!) so my head is definitely hurting today.
But you know what I'm actually pretty proud of myself. It was a huge step to start taking tablets to balance my mind up a bit, and its been a huge(r) step to decrease my dose, because that means I have to reply on my natural self more and not the chemicals. I'm not saying that my mind is sorted, and it probably never will be, but to have the confidence and will to take less of something which helps is a major major step.
Still a long way to go, but one step, or 50mg at a time....
Confidence and work.
Confidence and love.
Confidence and life.
Why is confidence at the heart of so many things, and why is confidence so hard.
You can be the best worker but without confidence you may not progress.
You could be the best partner but without confidence not find a partner.
You could have so much to offer in life but without confidence not achieve or indeed enjoy.
Confidence is made up of many things. Genetic and life experience / ability to learn / change.
I don't think mine is naturally very high (my uncontrollable factors). But I'm going to try and have more faith in my own abilities and do a little assessment, trying to err on the positive side and see myself in a positive light.
It's now 15 mins later and the table below was really uncomfortable to complete. Natural low self confidence makes me challenge every time i write something positive and make me think 'people will think you're arrogant, you're a dick', but I'm not doing this for them, I'm doing it for me, so here it is......
So (being positive and confident) I'm actually in good shape, I have a lot going for me.
The really interesting one was self trust, 80% of confidence is made up of these uncontrollable components and mine is a lot better than I would naturally think. I have not had a terrible time, my upbringing was not terrible, I can do lots of things and learn. So why don't I trust myself more?
I think that comes down to the other part of the table, the controllable factors.
Here (after another 15mins) is my honest, and positive assessment of those
So I think all of my controllable is in a pretty good place and I could:
- stand taller every day
- get back to the gym and eat more healthily
- smile more
- invest more time in training my mind
- record, revisit and believe my achievements, no matter how small
and crucially, give myself a break, look at the positive bits and be thankful for that.
Mr Paul Wyse