A question for any Black man reading this; when was the last time you’ve done acts of kindness for yourself?
Yes, that may sound selfish, but how long has it been? Is it often? Is it something that you do regularly? This may be a tough question.
So for Men’s Health Month, I wanted to share that being invested in your mental well-being is an ongoing act of kindness.
So, let’s assume that you’re on the fence about wanting to get professional mental health care. That’s good; the first and most repeated act is acknowledgment.
We often go to doctor appointments to see how we’re doing; the next logical step would be to do the same for the mind.
In this society (world) that likes to confine us in labels of masculinity, practicing kindness for ourselves feels almost…radical.
It’ll take time; however, you’ll be opening yourself. You’ll think a lot (constantly) about what feels good, what is good to you, and why.
You’ll eventually become familiar with it, but it’ll be tough initially because it’s a highly complex question. What’s good for you changes over time and changes with you as a person in life; it’s natural.
As you think about what feels good, eventually, you will get to what doesn’t feel good. Because a professional will ask you what’s on your mind. Introspection of oneself is complicated.
It is not easy, but it gets easier over time. Knowing who you are, is a relationship like any other. It’ll take a lot of precious time and deep thought.
But you’ll need to swim through what isn’t the best to find a better version of yourself. If you don’t, you can’t say you’ve been making a good effort.
Therapy helps by offering a judgment-free basis to figure things out. Sure, you may first find speaking of your most intimate thoughts to a stranger odd.
However, that will pass in time because part of the stigma we (Black people) need to free ourselves from by seeking professional mental health services is the same as getting a general checkup.
Talking to family, friends, etc., about things is logical and understandable. The thing is though, they aren’t nor will they be a substitute for speaking to licensed therapists — our loved ones can only do so much.
The other part of this, as an act of kindness, is just sticking with it.
Therapy isn’t just when things are seemingly their worst; it’s a simple check-in. One thing I often do is assess things with my therapist. “Hey, am I responding to a serious matter in a healthy manner”? Sometimes it’s a yes, no, or neither. — this is fine
Understanding yourself, your relationship with yourself, and what’s on your mind is never-ending. It’s a work in progress; it’s not a quick fix. It’s not done with a few sessions; it’s not wrapped up and tied with a bow within a year. You, as a human being, deserve time and care to figure things out.
I know it’s easy for me to say that taking your mental well-being seriously is an act of kindness. It’s quite easy when we, Black men, get so many messages of how we should and shouldn’t move.
Daily life can be and presents its challenges to people on different levels. It’s further difficult for gay Black men, Black Trans men, and more so the given your respective marginalizations.
So, Black folks, and specifically, in this case, Black men, have to navigate racism, classism, etc. Everyone doesn’t complain about it, and they don’t have to — we live it.
But let’s be serious; that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, from your job to how housing works in your neighborhood.
So logically, can people expect us all to really make sense of life when we are working against so many aspects of society?
Man, I’m trying to make sense of life and myself along the way. There are a lot of things that give me pause and question serious aspects. I want to know who I am along the way. I hope you do as well, or maybe you’re thinking about it.
You may better understand yourself, your relationships, and your emotions. Hell, you may become unrecognizable after a considerable amount of time passes by. I wish that and the utmost best for you, brother.
What’s kinder than being invested in your own well-being?