If Only I Knew Then What I Know Now

Every man has their own set of problems and there are no prizes for whose are the biggest. Perhaps you have previously experienced feelings of depression, severe unhappiness or anxiety that have left you feeling helpless and alone or maybe you are in the epicentre of your own battle now. In life, it is normal to encounter such times of hardship and you will also witness others who are going to war with their demons. Even when it feels like it, you are never alone.

I’ve spent years surrounded by men who have been fighting their own battles. Many of these men had become unhealthy and overweight and hated what they saw looking back at them in the mirror. Some collected symptoms of depression and anxiety, often being crippled by the shame of reaching such a dire situation. Any circumstance, whether it be financial, career, relationships or family, that results in a man feeling less ‘manly’ than he believes he should can produce high levels of pain and have a huge impact on personal and intimate relationships. Some will stand and fight in the search for success and happiness, often in the wrong areas, until they can fight no more, and some will retreat and accept defeat. The outcome can often be the same with physical health and self care taking a backseat. It makes sense, priorities shift to other areas and the idea of going to the gym is just as painful as doing it. When you feel out of shape and mentally fatigued your actions will reinforce those thoughts, the TV becomes more appealing than a treadmill and the importance of the deadline at work is priority to a decent meal. The old fashioned and traditional methods of outworking your problems by ‘manning up’ are no longer ones that serve us well and are often the reason we end up chronically stressed with more illness and unfulfilling relationships.

Our values often change over time, just like my own have. These much improved values however, would have been impossible to form without the pain and struggle that force us to take a look at the way we live our lives. Prior to my battles with mental health issues I was the typical meat head PT who used the remaining brain cells I had left to pick up weights off the floor with little or no thought to what I actually valued and wanted.

The main vocal point of my teaching is now far more relaxed than in previous years, with the emphasis on changing the way you feel by changing the way you live.

I encourage, as opposed to preach, the utilisation of the skills and tools I have collected over the years which have pulled me out some of the darkest places. I have learnt skills that have taught me how to take better control of my mood without handing over all the power to other people and influences, techniques that have me reaching for a dumbbell instead of a beer, strategies which keep me energised and result in going for a walk in the fresh air instead of wanking off into a sock and tools that encourage me to be mindful yet relaxed about what I consume on a daily basis.

The knowledge I have now is the information I wish I had as a young man who felt like there was no other way to feel. I have gained the vast majority of this through life’s turbulent experience’s, more so than I have attending self development workshops, reading books and pissing away hours on positive affirmations. They key is not in the information itself, but on how to apply it and make it part of your life, and is what I’ve used transform the way I feel and to help hundreds of men get their shit together and get their arse back in shape. It’s neither magical nor under lock and key, I’ll give you the lessons. I never hold back or keep secrets because the solutions are not fancy and the majority of men will do nothing with the information. One thing I learnt is that people will help you, but no one can save you.

Do not wish for life to be easy because unbearable pain is the strongest kick up the arse you’ll ever need to make a change. Sometimes the worst times create the best times.

Life is a concoction of ups and downs, it is what makes it worth living.

I simply share the lessons that have made my life a happier one to live with the men who want to listen.

This post was previously published on www.mansplan.co.uk and is republished here with permission from the author.

Photo credit: Istockphoto.com

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