Being a Man
Part of our Real Chemistry series – connection, wellbeing and chemsex recovery.
This page introduces information about what it is to be a man, and what difficulties may arise when you identify as a man with difference. After you have read through the information there are some exercises for you to work through. You may find it helpful to have a notebook to use as you work through the exercises, or you could use the function on a phone or tablet.
Quote About Being a Man
“There is a difference between being a good man, and being good at being a man”
Take some time to reflect on this quote, and consider what it brings up for you in terms of your thinking & feeling.
Being a Man Today
If we think about the role that our early caregivers had in teaching us how to be first little boys, and then adult men, it’s probably fair to say that we in fact learn how to be men, and our internal ideas about how men should act and be in the world will be based on the men that were around us, during this early period of our lives.
Take some time to think about the man that you are, and to reflect on the following themes and questions:
What did you learn from the men that were around you at an early age? What did you take as being positive traits? What decisions did you make about traits that were not so positive? What influences have you taken away from these experiences to make you the man that you are?
What are your experiences of being a man in 2021? What privileges do you hold and how do you relate to these privileges?
What pressures do you personally face as a ‘Modern Man’, and how to deal with these pressures of how to be in the world?’
Being a Gay/Bi/MSM Man Today
Being a ‘different’ kind of man because of our difference of sexuality, may mean that we face additional challenges of finding a place in the world, with limited impact on our general wellbeing and mental health.
So to continue your own exploration about who you are as a man, and how this difference impacts your wellbeing, take some time to consider and reflect on the following:
How do you experience your difference as a Gay/Bi/MSM man? Is this a positive experience or not?
How do you manage any negative experiences of ‘being different’, and what support have you engaged in to minimise any negative impact?
How has your past chem use, or chemsex engagement eased any negative feelings about your any difference you hold?
What additional support may you need to put in place to continue exploring your sense of being a man?
Heroes & Role Models
Even though in 2021 there is more tolerance in society for who we are as men who hold differnce, there is still a lack of positive Gay/Bi/MSM male heroes and role models for us to look up to and identify with.
It’s an unfortunate fact that the AIDs crisis in the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s also meant that we lost a lot those who may have provided a sense of ‘modelling’ (particularly older members of our community) and this may mean that we have few examples of how we could potentially be in the world, and how to go through the various stages of life in a healthy way.
In light of this, and the fact that holding difference can impact our feeling of self worth, spend some time to consider the following themes and questions:
Do you have an LGBT hero or role model? If not, then maybe there is someone else who you look up to?
Who are they? What do you like about them? How do you relate to the way they exist in the world, and the things they do? How do they inspire you?
- Becoming the person, I want to be….
The qualities I’d like to develop in myself are…
The impact of developing these qualities could be…
The support I may need to put in place to achieve this is…
2. My Hero, Role Model, or Person I look up to
My Hero/role model or the person I look up to is….
I look up to this person because….
I relate to this person in the following ways….
This person inspires me to….
3. Identifying what support we need
Make a list of all of the support networks you have in your life. Can you identify the positive impact of this support?
Now make a separate list of what additional support may be beneficial to you? Focus on your experience of being a man? Are there any social, support or activity groups that may support you with building healthy relationships with other men?
Can you identify any positives in taking some steps to put this support in place?