Updated: May 29, 2021
As a people pleaser, I would put the needs of others first and learned to wear masks.
I had a mask for the exemplary employee, one for the loving husband, one for the loyal son and one for the good friend. Masks gave me permission to give people what I thought they wanted.
The masks came off and a fountain of emotions erupted leaving me not knowing who I was or what I wanted. I needed to understand what was happening and how to lead a healthier life. I didn’t know what a healthier life looked like.
I grew tired of living someone else’s life and knew I had the ability to affect positive change. I wanted more. I knew I was destined for something more.
I attended male-centric weekend retreats in Canada and the United States; professionally led discussions on finding my voice, masculinity and mindfulness. I traveled to Thailand and immersed myself in mediation. I partnered with Abuse Hurts Canada and Family Services of Peel to curate groups for male survivors of childhood trauma. My guest appearance on Oprah’s Leaving Neverland special for HBO was the sign I was looking for.
The outcome felt like the purest version of myself – having the belief in self was one of the most powerful feelings I’ve ever experienced. It taught me the power resided in me all along.
As men, we have been living apart from our emotions for too long.
It’s time we recognize what we are missing; living a muted version of ourselves serves no purpose.
Our family deserves to know our true selves.
You deserve to see the real you.
A healthier life now means being honest with myself about who I am; it means taking responsibility for my emotions and my actions and having meaningful connections with people I want in my life.