Written by: TJ Woodard
Published by: RallyUp Magazine
We all have heard the phrase when we look
good, we feel good. This is a true statement,
however, there is a twist to this as well. We
are hearing more and more people, especially
men, speak out about their mental health and
how some of us have been “looking good” but
not necessarily feeling good. Many of us have
masked our outer appearance with nice apparel, and beautiful makeup while giving a false reflection of what is truly going on inside. As women, we put out our makeup, get our hair done, put on some nice clothes and that perfect smile, and no one would ever know what is truly going on inside. I’m not sure it is that easy for men. I believe men have had to “look good” but not feel good on a different level than women. I say this because since birth, men have been taught to be strong, not to cry, not to show emotion and this is what has been causing men to internalize their feelings and impact their mental health. They have been carrying the weight of
the world and their pain without a safe place to release. Some of the things often said to men causing them to “look good” even when they are not looking good are statements like:
- Man Up
- Suck it up
- Stop being weak
- You’re acting like a girl
I’m sure there are more statements that are far worse than these. If you are a man who has been told these things, then I want to say to you, I get it. I get why you are hurting. I get why you are broken. I get why you have been carrying pain, fearful to release. I want to apologize to any man I may have said these words to out of ignorance because it is not fair, nor is it true. If you are a man who is “looking good” but not feeling good, I say we hear you. We see you. It’s time to “look good” and start feeling good but there is going to be some work required on your part.
Remove the Mask: Acknowledgement
Men Wear Mask Too: It may not come in the form of a full beat face makeup application, but it can be a smile. Men mask hurt and pain behind a smile without sometimes a hint of what is really going on in their world. It’s time to remove the mask and acknowledge that although you may look like you have it all together on the outside, there are some things you are dealing with on the inside.
Faith: It Improves Mental Health
Connecting spiritually and believing in something greater than yourself can make all the difference in the world. Prayer and meditation help me when I am feeling overwhelmed. Quiet time and meditation allow for time to exhale the heaviness and inhale the strength needed to get through the day. Affirmations also help. Talk about how good you look, how strong you are, how healthy you feel, and BELIEVE IT!
Connection is Key: Talk It Out
There is no shame in asking for help. Now that you have acknowledged looking good but not feeling good, connecting to resources will help you in your steps as you move forward in genuinely matching how you look with how you feel. This is how you begin to move forward, being your true, authentic self. Speaking with a professional provides an unbiased resource and a listening ear. They also provide practical strategies and ways to manage the things that life throws your way. An accountability person or group you can trust is also a good way to connect. This will help you see that you are not the only one that is going through life’s challenges. Accountability partners will also help to keep you on track with your goals. Lean on your support system.
Self-Care: Be a Creature of Habit
Self-Care is going to be a big part of your journey. Creating a regular self-care routine is going to help with your mental health. Learn what things you like that can give you the opportunity to unplug from the stressors of life giving you time to recharge your emotional, spiritual, and physical battery. Good hygiene and grooming can impact your mood, build confidence, and can create a routine that will help you on your mental wellness journey. Here are some suggestions:
- Schedule a monthly massage or spa day...(Yes, men go to the spa too)
- Take a Staycation (Book an overnight stay at a local hotel or plan an overnight quiet time at home)
- Book a grooming appointment day (Get a haircut, manicure, facial, or buy a new outfit)
- Exercise (Go for a walk, jog, run, or join a gym but get out and get moving)
- Maintain a healthier lifestyle (Meal prep, schedule a physical)
These are just a few ways to improve your physical health as well as your mental health. Now don’t get me wrong, none of us feel good every day, and I’m not saying that you won’t have days where you're not feeling your best. I am saying that you want to be honest about how you feel no matter what and take time for personal self-care. It can help boost your confidence and help you to focus on what is most important...YOU!