Hey man, what’s healthy mean to you?
Chances are it would include a clean diet, exercise, not smoking, meditation, and rest and relaxation. I couldn’t agree more!
But in a holistic view of health, and considering the overwhelming evidence of the mind-body connection, I’d have to add intimate and trusting relationships to that list. As most of you know, when you’re unhappy in a relationship, personal or professional, your body is unhappy, as well.
They may appear as headaches, intestinal issues, fatigue, or a whole host of other physical symptoms, but the consequences of unhealthy relationships go much deeper, and can have devastating long-term results.
Many of you have witnessed or experienced the debilitating effects of loneliness, prolonged conflict, depression, or litigation. The physical impact is oftentimes immediate. If you follow the news, you’re also aware of the negative impact unhealthy and destructive relationships have on our communities. Divorce. Domestic violence. Substance abuse. Gangs. And worse.
But when men address their relationship challenges, accept responsibility, learn new skills, and make commitments to be better men, fathers, and husbands, our families and communities become healthier.
The first step is asking for help.
More often than not, men reluctantly ask for help after being clobbered, either with divorce or the threat of divorce, kids disowning them, run-ins with authorities, or watching their businesses deteriorate for lack of committed leadership. Whatever their situation, these men have either hit or have come close to hitting bottom.
Then there are the men whose wives care so much about them, and their relationships, that they reach out themselves to find a way to get their men the support they need. Our women are usually way ahead of us in that they see, feel, and experience their men struggling with marriages, businesses, parents, children, and themselves.
Themselves. That’s usually the culprit. By the time most men seek guidance, they’ve often lived with decades of isolation, resentment, anger, pain, and sadness. When we figure out what’s going on for us as men, and begin to heal the wounds from our past, it becomes possible to solve what once seemed to be intractable problems.
So keep riding that bike, swimming those laps, eating those greens, and connecting with spirit. But to be the healthiest man you can be, be courageous and address your relationships—at home, in the office, and in your communities. You’ll be healthier. We’ll all be healthier.