Countless American males are living in committed heterosexual relationships driven by the question: "Am I getting it right yet?" Our culture continues to drive home the message if males are emotionally bankrupt, then they are real men.
Instead of an assessment (which implies judgment) and advice (which implies expertise), what someone who's mentally distressed, in any context, needs first, mentally and emotionally, is some acknowledgment and support.
Denial is the final fortress of those who commit genocide and other atrocities. It not only damages the victims and their communities, but also promises a future based on lies, sowing the seeds of more conflict and repression.
Imagine a big fan of yours, the universe, your spouse, the divine, or some other positive person or force acknowledging your efforts, and start writing so you can hear the difference you are making. You matter.
We are purposefully placed together to help each other grow, that is the essence of family. God whispered "You are enough" into each of these folded papers, quieting the questioning voice inside me, constantly wondering if I will have what it takes when they need to take what I have.
If there's one thing I'd like you to take away from this story, it's this: Don't put off until someday all the things you know you should do today. Life is short enough, and circumstances can easily derail us from our true intentions at any moment.
All of which leads me to meeting Shannon, a young man of strong spirit and presence, who gives me wheelchair assistance from the landing gate to ground transportation at Atlanta Airport. On the long trek, which involves a train ride, we chat.
I then ask about her career and life aspirations, again out of curiosity and care. She doesn't reply with a specific career choice but instead with this unique thoughtful response: "I want to find something I enjoy doing that gives me stability and enables me to raise children in a good way."
Accept that everyone everywhere -- no matter how successful -- experiences the self-doubt that underlies imposter syndrome. It is part and parcel of becoming accomplished and successful. There is nothing unusual or wrong about feeling these things.
The idea that others not only need us but also see the good both in and out of us, as well as our value, is imperative to sustain a happy, pleasurable life. Sadly, too many have discovered that our at-home selves are often more esteemed than the at-work versions of us.