I’m a man! I’m not talking about my body…
Are you happy with the way you look? If not, why are you not happy? Is it because you have been told that the way you look isn’t ‘perfect’? Or is it because you don’t look like the heavily airbrushed images you see on the internet or in movies?
I recently bought a fitness magazine to keep me entertained on a flight. As with most fitness magazines, you get the generic fitness tips, questionable nutrition advice and, of course, lots and lots of half naked people. Sex sells. I’m not so naive as to think otherwise and, don’t get me wrong, the fitness models were in fantastic shape and they should be commended. But is this truly motivating?
Us men do think about the way we look and we do worry about our weight. We compare ourselves to all the actors, models and supposedly healthy people we see on social media. But for some reason, we aren’t supposed to talk about how it makes us feel.
I was never happy with the way my body looked growing up. I was very slim, had arms that looked like matchsticks, and the faintest breeze would have knocked me over. I felt huge anxiety when talking about the way I looked and felt that everyone was judging me on my appearance. I am more open to talking about my feelings than most guys are and I have been criticised for this openness in the past. When you’re feeling low, society tells you to ‘man up’ and that ‘boys shouldn’t cry’. But what effect is this having on our mental health and self-esteem.
Like most men I would like to have a bit more muscle and I might be envious of how another guy looks, but I have learnt to step back when I have these thoughts and to question why I am being made to feel this way. Being a personal trainer I will be the last person to say ignore how your body looks, as sometimes it can be an indicator of health and a sign that it’s time to adopt a more health conscious lifestyle. So yes, we can all strive for a healthier looking body but who cares if I haven’t got as much muscle as Arnie or the strength of Thor? I am healthy and that should be enough.
Generally our culture still focuses too much on aesthetics and less on whether someone is a good person and living well. We are exposed to so many images of physiques that are totally unattainable and are being lied to about the way we should look.
Don’t be afraid to speak out when you are feeling low as this doesn’t make you any less of a man than someone that seems to have it all together. If you break your arm or had problems with your physical health, you would go to the hospital for support. So why should it be any different if you are battling with your mental health? We should stick two fingers up to companies telling us that we aren’t enough and we should be celebrating the fact that we don’t all look how ‘perfect’ is supposed to. Because lets be honest here, who wants to look perfect anyway?
I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Email firstname.lastname@example.org