Take care of your mind

Living life in such a hectic times such as this can be hard. Being a man in general can be even harder, but being an African-American man can sometimes be extreme! We’re always suppose to be strong, all the time. We are always supposed to have the right answers to the problem at hand. We’re always supposed to be the provider and the protector of the home. We are looked at as the main pillar of the home, organization, community, or anything else we are involved in. The thing about it, there’s high expectations, heavy loads, great responsibilities, and many people depending on us to operate at a high level.

On top of all that is expected of us, we are taught to not be emotional, do not show signs of weakness or fatigue, and to never stop. “Men don’t cry”, “Suck it up”, “Stop acting like a baby” are just a few phrases we here if a man is remotely unraveling. We are expected to have no emotions, feel no pain, take rejection nonchalantly, brush off negativity among other things. Be tough and relentless and tough like a battle warrior...

That sounds fine, if you’re a machine. However we’re not machines, we are people. We sometimes get tired physically just as well as emotionally. We need a break sometimes, we need someone to confide in and talk to, we need love and companionship, we need to be embraced. We need to be treated like a person, and not a machine… Besides, even machines can’t run wide open throttle, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for an extended period of time. They periodically need maintenance, they break down occasionally, and when they exceed their recommended service life, they’re eventually replaced. 

Again, you’re talking about an inanimate object, a lifeless, emotionless object, that feels absolutely no pain of any kind, EVER. The reality is, there’s no replacing when it comes to a person. Once they’re gone, that’s it… They are never coming back! That’s why it’s extremely important to make the best of what life we have.

As a man, I feel pressures every day on just living life and getting one step closer to my destination called success. Being an African American man the pressures are amplified and multiplied. A grim reality of being black is that you have to work twice as hard to only get half as far. For the most part, it really doesn’t matter about how much schooling and education you may have, who your parents are, how much money you have, but the fact that you have a darker skin tone puts automatically puts you at a disadvantage in comparison to your counterparts. – Pressure… Even to the ones that are making good money, entrepreneurs or largely successful people, often times they are looked at as “one in a million” type case, instead of being looked at as a potential trendsetter or pioneer. Or they could’ve got that wealth by only illicit activities, or they got that high profile job because they’re a needed company “token”. – Pressure

Employee or business owner to some, friend to others, daddy to the kids, husband to the wife… all of those things carry great responsibility and even greater pressure. If a man doesn’t have someone to talk to on a regular basis like a spouse, girlfriend, confidant, unbiased friend or family member, it’s highly encouraged to talk to a therapist. No, you’re not weak… If anything, you’re displaying great strength and courage. Simply because you acknowledge that a problem persists in your life, and you elect to take the necessary provisions to get back in the right state of mind. Also finding a healthy or constructive activity to turn to, such as weightlifting or jogging, mentoring or coaching; pick up new hobbies such as fishing or drone flying are ways to deal with it, in addition to verbally talking it out.

The strongest man can crumble under the adverse pressures that life effortlessly administers. There needs to be an outlet to the pressures of life. Sitting and storing those pressures in the mind, can eventually make the strongest and mentally fortified man implode or explode without warning and cause psychological trauma to himself.

It’s okay to cry sometimes. Contrary to what society leads you to believe, crying is perfectly normal. I mean, if you were truly secure in your own masculinity, crying over something emotional will not jeopardize it one bit!  It’s a temporary emotional release that is healthy to the psyche. It’s also okay to be mentally and emotionally fatigued. Feeling like you’re not “cutting the mustard” or slacking, it’s perfectly fine to step back and mentally regroup, reorganize your thoughts, and restart the process.

All in all, you MUST “Get out of your own head”… Battling with your own thoughts can be the most damaging thing that can happen mentally. Self-doubt can mentally take you out of the race even before the flag is dropped. You have the potential to sabotage potential friendships and romantic relationships, because you’ll feel like you’re not worthy of them. Sometimes, when the going may get tough for you… You’ll even invite them to abandon you, because you’ll say they deserve a better person and not you. Job and career advancement will be delayed and hindered, because you might feel like you’re inadequate or incapable to do the tasks… And the list can go on!

Everyone has different ways to cope with this issue. But temporary putting things down, and prioritizing yourself is the priority! Even if you have to get away from all the noise and distractions for a while, do it! Don’t hesitate to cut off the television, cut off the phone for a while, cut off the social media platforms for a bit, do what is necessary to get your mind right. Take a day just to meditate, or take a day trip to the beach or the lake, just to clear your mind, or even schedule you an appointment with your local psychologist and talk it out. Rid yourself of the clutter and alleviate yourself from the mental pressure. As the old song says “Free your mind, and the rest will follow”!

Don’t delay, please take care of yourself, take care of your MIND!

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