The phrase “toxic masculinity” is in the air a lot these days, especially with the recent report from the American Psychological Association, which dubs it as, “emotional stoicism, homophobia, not showing vulnerability, self-reliance, and competitiveness.” This concoction of undesirable characteristics is damaging not only to the men who suffer from it, but also to those around them, who have to put up with the toxic behaviour.
Men’s personal development consultant Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz aims to get to the heart of any man’s issues, employing unique tools to empower men and help them transform their lives. With that in mind, Kenny is offering up 5 ways to tackle toxic masculinity:
1. Own your anger – so your anger doesn’t own you. If you always feel rebellious, hard done by or broken- spirited, don’t take it at face value. Beneath the anger might be sadness or feelings of helplessness, which are driving you to act out in hyper-masculine ways wherever you can. So rather than just avoiding situations that set you off, start by tackling the feelings at the root of your behaviour.
2. Find an adrenaline outlet – carrying too much adrenaline can be exhausting and stress you out. Rather than lashing out with it aggressively, or passive-aggressively, release it physically through exercise or movement. Express this energy creatively. Or embrace stillness and watch it pass through meditation.
3. Find someone to talk to – if you really want to man up, there’s only one thing to do: find people to listen as you talk about it honestly. Try a men’s group, where you can find like-minded guys in the same boat. If you want to understand what’s toxic and how to confront it, you need to talk it out, so it doesn’t eat you away. And then you’ll have more choice about what to do next.
4. Channel your masculine energy appropriately – what’s “toxic” in some situations does have its uses in others, such as a life-or-death situation, or on a football pitch. But the point is to understand where the boundaries are. Same goes for toxic femininity – both need balance and appropriate expression.
5. Identify the real problem and tackle it – get to the nub of why you carry this toxic energy and you’ll have found the thing that you really need to change in your life. And once you recognise what’s going on, do whatever it takes to change things. It won’t just make you happier, it’ll make you a better man and a better influence on the lives of other men, so they won’t need to go through what you went through when you felt helplessly, uncontrollably toxic.