Before I started Love Laid Bare, I had always wanted to make this an inclusive platform.
I do feel that there is a plethora of areas for women specifically, so I wanted to create a space where men felt welcomed and could also have their stories heard.
Personally, I believe that male self-esteem can be the make or break of most men. Whether it be in their career, finances, relationships with partners, family and social groups.
Let’s take finances as a prime example. Men are expected to be good with money and have a lot of it. One of the worst insults you could probably throw at a man is to say he is ‘broke’.
Historically, men have always been labelled as the provider (in many civilisations and even to the current day) and he should do so at any cost.
Growing up and living in London, I see the pretence all the time. I’ve known of men who are driving expensive cars but have no fixed abode.
Men who will spend £1,000 in a Central London nightclub table, but struggle to pay their child maintenance on time. These are excessive examples but they are more common than you think.
The problem is that we are all somewhat trapped in consumerism and to some extent we all require external ‘things’ to make us feel that we are worth more.
I just personally think men feel that pressure more than women do. Its either that or they’re not strong enough to not conform.
So, what does this ultimately boil down to? I would say its self-esteem.
Let’s quickly define it!
In basic terms, self-esteem is an emotional evaluation of a person’s self-worth. It’s how you view yourself in comparison to others.
This evaluation usually occurs by comparing yourself to all the people I mentioned earlier in the blog.
So, whether you’re are comparing investment portfolio values, your body, your car model, property, clothes or shoes or the size of your penis, you have already fallen into the trap.
If you were confident in everything you have achieved and obtained in life and were truly happy, you would have no concern about anyone else or what they have.
This naturally does not apply to everyone, but I do recall Dr Umar Johnson saying that people align themselves with designer wear, not because of the name, but because in their mind, that item will increase their personal value. Or so they believe.
We should all know by now that the value of an item is controlled on a supply and demand basis. Yet, we are still prepared to part with our cash to make ourselves feelgood.
Low self-esteem in this capacity becomes dangerous when you are prepared to do unsavoury things to obtain the items that make you believe that you are of a higher esteem.
Who are dying on our streets at an alarming rate? Men and young men.
Are the crimes they’re committing for the purpose of building legit businesses, purchasing properties and making sound investments? No!
They are merely buying these things because they see no value in themselves. If the trainers cost £600 that means I’m better than those that can only afford to spend £100.
I will talk about this more in my YouTube video!
Is it any coincidence then that, although the male rate is falling, men still account for three-quarters of suicides in the UK?
Men aged between 20-49 are more likely to die from suicide than any other cause of death.
Why do men feel like they cannot speak about or express themselves without being shamed or laughed at? It’s almost as if men are caught in-between two different versions of what it means to be masculine and aren’t being fulfilled on either side.
Back in 2008 during the recession and unemployment rates increasing, areas that were mostly affected had the highest rates of suicide. People who are already vulnerable face additional pressure.
So, we can see a direct link between income and suicide, but you don’t just wake up one day broke an decide to kill yourself.
If you align yourself and your personal value to money, when you don’t have any, your self-esteem will eventually be chipped away. If things don’t look up work wise you can easily see how other destructive behaviours can come about.
You begin to heavily rely on smoking, recreational drugs such as weed, cheap alcohol, sleeping with many different women, gambling and eventually withdrawing.
Here are a few things men need to stop doing:
- Buying into toxic masculinity – How you feel does matter, you can cry and there is no shame in either
- Using alcohol as a form of escapism – Easier said than done, I’ve been there but it’s very important you acknowledge when you’re being excessive.
- Withdrawing – Bottling it up and pretending things do not affect you, whether its physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Or using humour as a shield.
- Being unkind to yourself – What you say you will become!
- Denying issues with your mental health – Acknowledge your depression or anxiety and get support.
- Being a prisoner of the past
Now you may feel that I have gone from 0-100 quite quickly in this blog, however I am not going pussyfoot around because self-esteem is where it all begins.
Too many of us are walking around with no substance or integrity, but feel superficially superior because of the car we drive, clothes we wear or even the house we own.
If all of that was taken away tomorrow, what would be left of you?
Think about it!
Your self-awareness represents your ‘innermost perceptions’ about how you view yourself. What you feel inside has a way of projecting outward through what you do, think and say.
If you are engaging in any of the behaviours described above, it’s more than likely damaging your ego and self-esteem.
In today’s podcast I am speaking with my brother Darren about the various things that can affect male self-esteem. We cover racism in school, light skinned privilege from a mans perspective, Londons clubbing scene, colourism and men crying.
If you are affected by anything in this blog or podcast, please visit our resources page for support services.
Take care of yourself