One of the key aims of Movember is to raise awareness of men’s mental health issues. Having mental health problems does not make you any less of a man, as author and illustrator Matthew Johnstone captures below. This excerpt from Matthew’s The Little Book of Resilience shows how you can become more resilient through embracing your own vulnerability and being more self-compassionate.
It seems counterintuitive but there is real strength to be found in learning how to be vulnerable, authentic and to speak from a place of truth.
This can prove challenging because we’ve had a lifetime of building up our show face, our defences, sleight of hand and visual illusions.
When we speak from the heart and learn to be genuine, there is no shadow in which we can hide. There is freedom in this and when we share, we allow others to do the same.
Those important people in our lives will generally respond favourably to emotional honesty and will help as best they can.
If they don’t, perhaps it’s because it hits too close to the bone of their own experiences, shortcomings or fears.
Another vitally important aspect of resilience is developing a sense of compassion for yourself and what you’ve been through.
Self-compassion isn’t being self-indulgent or soft. It’s not about feeling sorry for yourself, it’s about not beating yourself up for feeling bad, feeling pain or not coping.
No one persecutes us mentally and emotionally more than ourselves.
Self-compassion is about being gentle and kind with yourself as you would an infant, the elderly or someone you love. It’s also about doing good things for yourself like exercise, meditation, eating well and helping others.
When we become compassionate to our own needs, it’s only natural that we then become compassionate and empathetic to others, which is always a good thing.