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It's a common theme, you're not alone!
I’M a Man Doing Everything I Think is the Right Thing to do in Life, But I Still Feel Unhappy. Why?
Well, firstly, you’re not alone. So many men I talk to and work with echo this very sentiment and it’s such a common theme and highlights the very real issue that many men face and experience. It could explain why there is a growing prevalence of men suffering needlessly with mental and physical illness.
Life is difficult. This isn’t always the case. It can be amazing but by-and-large, life is difficult because it has its many challenges that only seem to be growing in this fast-paced world built around so much technology; not to mention the issues we’ve had to deal with due to Covid-19. 
Speaking generally, as men we are socialised as boys to “be a man”. We learn directly and indirectly from our parents and role models, social groups and peers, teachers, colleagues and of course, the big one, the media. 
The notion of ‘being a man’ is unique to everyone but there is arguably a consensus that it usually means the following: You have to be strong. You must be a provider. You mustn’t show weakness or your emotions. You must build wealth. 
You must always show that you’ve got it together and so on. The point is, we, as men, come to define ourselves not by how we would really like to be but by what and how we think we should be based on these influences.
When you start to feel stressed, unhappy or even depressed or anxious, the reality is that your body and mind is actually telling you something isn’t working. 
Often what we then do as men is try harder and get ourselves frustrated that we just can’t seem to feel happy like we think we should. You’ve built your life around doing what you think you should do and maybe have done…get married, get the house, the car, the boat, the money, the promotion……whatever. These pursuits in and of themselves aren’t the issue but it’s what they mean or meant to you is where issues arise. 
When doubts set in
If you grew up thinking “being a man” and achieving these goals is the right thing to do and would make you happy, what can start to happen from about the age of 30 or so, is you don’t feel like you expected, then you question yourself and doubts set in.
 And when these doubts set in, we lose trust and confidence in ourselves and try harder at the things that ultimately don’t work in the way we hope they will in terms of making us feel successful, accomplished, content and happy as men.
But if that sounds like you. It means you actually have an opportunity to take stock of your life. How do you really want to be as a man? You! Not other men, you! How do you want to really live your life? What are your personal secret goals that no one knows about? What are your values and are you living by them? 
Here are some easy steps to start with that I recommend: 1. Do an audit of your life to ensure it is well balanced and you’re doing things YOU want to do. 2. Write down personal goals for the next year and break them down into monthly goals and weekly plans. 3. Start a journal of your thoughts to reflect on what it is about your life that makes you feel unhappy and make plans to try and solve them if possible or to help you set your goals. 4. Connect with other blokes 5. If you’re really struggling see your GP and get a mental health care plan to see a psychologist.
Finally, when we are working on and achieving goals that are aligned with our personal values, not what others value, but you; then you are in a really good place to feel truly fulfilled, content and happy as a man. You then define for YOURSELF what it means to be a man.  
Marcus Whelan is a Registered Psychologist and Mental Fitness Coachwith 10+ years’ experience in private practice. He holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in psychology and education. Visit: www.marcuswhelanpsychology.com.au


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

Access News is a print and digital media publisher established over 15 years and based in Western Sydney, Australia. Our newspaper titles include the flagship publication, Western Sydney Express, which is a trusted source of information and for hundreds of thousands of decision makers, businesspeople and residents looking for insights into the people, projects, opportunities and networks that shape Australia's fastest growing region - Greater Western Sydney.