Because Real Men Ask For Help
I’m writing this post for a multitude of reasons.
For one, I need your help. I’m going to ask you at the end of this post.
Second, I’m thoroughly convinced that learning how to ask for help may be one of the most important skills that the modern man can have at his disposal. In fact, it might save his life.
Finally, I want to share my own personal story of what happens when you don’t ask for help. It’s pretty dark.
Why is this such an important topic and why have I been talking about it so much lately?
Take a look at these recent headlines:
- Depressed Men Four Times More Likely Than Women To Commit Suicide
- The Gender Inequality Of Suicide: Why Are Men At Such High Risk?
- Britain’s Male Suicide Rate Is A National Tragedy
In these articles and the dozens just like them, the same story keeps getting told.
Man loses job, goes through a divorce, or has some other big life event. Man feels overwhelmed from dealing with the stress of change. Man has no support structure and feels ashamed to ask for help. Man sees no way out. Man kills himself.
I’ve recently been having discussions with men all over the country about this subject and they keep sharing stories depression, isolation, and suffering. Men who on the surface look like they’ve never had a bad day in their lives.
In fact, as I was writing this blog post, a friend who I used to work with shared a personal story through Facebook chat and then said to me, “This is the first time I have talked with anyone about this.”
What’s causing these men to suffer in isolation?
Their inability to ask for help.
It’s not like they are physically unable to speak the words. There is just a world of social programming for them to overcome before they step into a life full of abundance.
In my coaching practice, I hear this seven word phrase all the time:
“I’ve never told that to anybody before.”
It gives me goosebumps almost every time because in that moment that man finally let go of an emotional burden that he’d been carrying for decades. But it didn’t have to take that long for him to let go.
As an infant there was no difference between that man’s internal state and his external state. He was able to express his emotions fluidly and in real time.
Needs got met immediately. He didn’t hold grudges. When he was hurt, he cried until he was over the pain.
So why does that man’s internal state and external state differ so much today?
Maybe it’s from when he was on the playground and got made fun of for crying when he skinned his knee.
Maybe it’s from when his father told him to “man up” and screamed at him in a drunken rage saying, “I’ll give you something to cry about!”
Maybe it’s from when he expressed displeasure to his friends about the way they talked about the girls in their class and they ridiculed him by saying, “Quit being such a pussy bro!”
Or maybe it’s from when his father sat him down and gave him the talk about being a man. The talk where he learned to never ask for help, never cry, and fight anytime he was disrespected.
If you don’t think men not asking for help is a big deal, then read the articles above. I’d say suicide rates 3-4 times higher than women is a damn good reason.
Which brings me to my own personal story of not asking for help. And if it weren’t for the dozens of stories I’ve heard over the past year just like it, I’d probably be more reluctant to share mine. So thanks to those men who’ve opened up their lives to me. You know who you are.
So here it goes.
I’ve been suicidal twice in my life.
I’ve never gone very far with the thoughts. But twice in my life I actually entertained the thought, “Hmm, I think dying would be better than this.”
Once was when I was a teenager. The second time, was… oh, about three months ago.
When I was a teenager I was struggling with the usual issues of transitioning into manhood, but I had no tools for dealing with my emotions. I’d regularly fly into a rage and throw things or punch inanimate objects. I was a cutter for a while because it was the only way that I could feel pain.
I couldn’t talk to my parents about anything because I would just lose their love. The stuff I was getting into wasn’t what good little Christian boys do.
And I felt so alone that I wanted to kill myself.
I actually forgot about these dark times until I recently found a journal of mine from then. It was like reading a stranger’s writing. I forgot how angry I was at the world and how isolated I was.
I forgot how, but I finally pulled out of it.
And for the past several years I’ve taken pride in not only wanting to live, but absolutely loving every aspect of my life. I went from striving to thriving in a short period of time and it felt great to finally have a fulfilling lifestyle that I knew I had consciously created.
Which is why this past winter was so hard.
Because that whole identity of “being a happy person” got destroyed. I wrote about it here last week, but I left out a pretty important detail.
Some days, I just wanted to die.
I thought about it constantly. I’d think about jumping in front of the subway every time before it hit the platform. Why?
Because I waited to ask for help until I was already drowning. Because I thought I had things under control. Because I felt so overwhelmed that it seemed like there was no way out.
You know how the story ends.
I finally reached out to my friends. I got back into a regular exercise routine. I got militant with my morning rituals and gratitude practice. And I got the hell out of the cold weather.
And what I learned from that incident and from the stories of men everywhere is that we need to do a much better job of asking for help.
So as a model, I’m going to ask you very specifically for help.
Even though a very small piece of me is afraid of appearing weak or not completely put together. But I’m pushing though for the sake of men everywhere, so here it goes.
The Conference For Men is my life’s greatest work and I need your help.
The world is desperate for men to play a bigger game.
I’ve never thrown a conference before, but I know with absolute certainty that I’m putting together something special.
This isn’t about me. This isn’t about the speakers. This is about men stepping into something greater.
This is about men speaking their truth, conquering their fears, opening their hearts, reclaiming their balls, and creating the lives they’ve always wanted.
Here’s exactly what I need help with.
1. Tell A Friend – There are thousands of people who will read this sentence. Can each of you tell just one friend about the conference? Do you know a man who’s already on the path of growth, a man who’s wants more from his life? Please let him know we would love to have him join our community for a weekend he’ll never forget.
2. Become An Affiliate – Do you write a blog? Do you run a podcast or a website? If you’d like to be an affiliate then contact me and I’ll send you our affiliate guide.
3. Spread The Word – Do you have a connection at a major media publication who would be interested in doing a story on the conference? Do you have a large audience of men that you’d like me to share our message with? Contact me and let me know how we can get the word out.
1. Volunteer – We need 8-10 volunteers to help with registration, security, and general operations. If you live in San Diego and are free the entire weekend of April 25-27, email Sam Hershberger at sam [at] hershberger [dot] co — (yes, .co not .com). Please use Subject: TCFM: I want to volunteer
Finally, share this story with every man you know.
Men, you don’t need to suffer all alone.
There is an abundance of resources available to you if you just take off that mask, let down those walls, and say, “Hey, I need a little help here.”
I know it’s scary, but how is anybody supposed to help you if you’re not letting them know what you need?
The worst thing that might happen is that some people will think you’re weak. But those aren’t the people you want in your corner anyway.