The Biggest Challenge I’ve Found in Reaching Out For Help as a Man

I write this very spontaneously after doing a very short cacao ceremony. To briefly explain what a cacao ceremony is for me, it’s a drink of pure cacao (easily made) I drink and then connecting silently to the heart for inspiration. Connecting to the heart is something I’ve found hard to do, but it’s a muscle like my coach explained. I decided to write a quick blog update (not AI generated lol) to share something I wanted to express and believe may help people knocked back from not being heard or seen.

There has been a rise in mental health awareness over the last decade, which is great. I’ve also seen it promoted for men’s mental health, which if I’m honest I find it difficult to share (particularly trusting women with my own wounds / issues) but it’s great more has been done to help men with it. Of course women and all genders have challenges too. 

Today I wanted to briefly touch on reaching out for support and why actually reaching out to the wrong people or sharing with the wrong people I’ve found quite damaging actually. First of all I agree that sharing how you are feeling is a great move than keeping it to yourself. Again this is just me sharing personal experience, not saying what you should or should not do, that is your choice. 

What I mean though is there are four types of people I’ve found when sharing with.

  • The first type is someone who doesn’t really care (either intentionally or unintentionally) about you. This is fine right – not everyone can care about everyone. 
  • The second type is someone who may betray your trust. I’m fortunate to not have these people in my life – trust your instinct.
  • The third type is someone who you can trust, and has the right intention to care for you, yet doesn’t have the capacity or what you need. What I mean by this is that, they won’t deeply listen or immediately project their model of the world without really listening to you or they are distracted by their own issues. They want to give advice rather than space and you can feel their lack of presence.
  • The fourth type is really gold though – people who can fully hear you, be present for you and your can trust. These tends to be people in the forms of therapists or coaches, there can be people in my life I trust too.

Personally I’m pretty good at recognising the first or second type of person and avoiding reaching out to them. The third type of person I’ve learned as I’ve gone through my own journey to just thank, and tell them I’m ok and looking to speak to someone else. The third type of person can be very useful though for other things like business where I need direct advice of course, or going to the gym for a workout, yet not so much for sharing my emotions. The fourth type of person I’ve welcomed more and more into my life. I must admit I’m working to be a person who holds space for others as quite a lot of the time in the past I’ve been that third type of person in project management and sales.

I’ve also found some people can be that fourth type of person, yet can hover into the third type of person. If I ask them to though, that I just want someone to hold space and listen to me, they do that. Unfortunately some people will remain the third type of person and they haven’t developed the awareness or skill to hold space (although I genuinely believe it’s something anyone can choose to if they want to).

I am very fortunate now I know who I can talk to. I know I have a fair few of the fourth type of people in my life. I don’t call on them exactly every day, yet I know who I can talk to when challenged and I need to air challenges. Thank you.

So what I wanted to leave here with saying in my own experience, please share how you’re feeling don’t keep it to yourself, with who you feel safe to do so with though. Yet if you don’t feel right talking to a certain person, trust your instinct as there are many people out there who can hold space, not give bias or advice and just make you feel safe and heard.

Jonny Pardoe

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