#MENtalHealth - Why do we downplay everything?

It seems to me that we men have a knack for something. It comes with the territory of "man up" and "suck it up" mentality that has plagued us since we were little.


Think about it - when you fell on the playground and hurt yourself, how often was there someone there - maybe a friend of the similar age - or maybe a Dad figure who encouraged you to "get up and dust yourself off", or "suck it up"? The idea of "tough love" can do more harm than good in these situations.


How often do we see men in sports brush off injuries and push through them to the point of causing further injury to themselves? You have to be strong and be there for your team. Brush it off. Push through!


While I'm not here to be the one to tell you that we should be babied and coddled in these situations, or even enabled and play the victim card - what I AM here to say, is to stop downplaying things.


Why is it so hard to tell someone when you are injured? If you fell and broke your ankle, would you get right back up and push through - just to win the championship and not let your team down? This isn't the movies, and nobody is going to think you're a wimp if you are truly injured. You don't get bonus points for causing yourself more harm for the greater good.


Yet men, for years, have been taught to brush off injuries and downplay the pain. It's just a little dirt, it's just a little scratch, its just a little sadness, just brush it off! You'll be fine. You know what, you probably WILL be just fine - but brushing it off and failing to process what is happening can cause another injury internally.



Like I said, you very well may be fine. But when we are hurt, mentally or physically, if we refuse to acknowledge the injury and pain for what it is - injury and pain - we downplay what we are experiencing, and therefore miss out on the opportunity to go through the full range of emotions we need to HELP US get through the pain, and move PAST the pain.


Ignoring it won't make it go away. Downplaying it won't make it go away. Acknowledging what happened is healthy and STRONG.


This is a narrative that we as men need to start changing.


It's part of the reason why men go unchecked for PHYSICAL issues. Didn't pay attention to that little bump on your balls, brushed it off and downplayed it to just a little bump. 5 more years down the road, maybe it turns out to be something worse - maybe testicular cancer? Extreme? Maybe. But if you would have gotten it checked out when it was first noticed instead of DOWNPLAYING it, you may have been in a better situation.


It's also detrimental when you are going through something MENTALLY. Having a bout of sadness and have you started withdrawing from parts of your life where you normally found job? Probably best to not ignore the sadness and downplay it as "just a phase" - may be a good time to reach out to someone and tell them about your emotions. Downplaying your mental health can have disastrous results if you aren't mindful of your emotions.


At the end of the day - just don't be afraid of bruising your ego or "looking like a pussy" anymore. That whole mentality is so outdated and has caused more assholes in our society than I care to imagine. Tough Love went too far for many men, and while there is some merit to showing perseverance - there is NEVER any shame to admitting pain, sadness, or injury.


Stop downplaying your pain and start being more open and honest. Work through it, don't downplay it and push it aside. There is no shame in admitting your pain.


Make good life decisions,


Riggs

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