Strengthen Yourself

Here are 5 simple ways you can bring the lessons from The Mask You Live In into your life.

1. Be critical of popular media. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying movies, TV, music and video games, but as you learned in the film, popular media often showcase unhealthy and limiting examples of masculinity. Get in the habit of noticing and questioning how men are portrayed: What is the motive of the media maker? What worldview is being intentionally or unintentionally promoted? Does the overall message limit you or empower you? By developing a healthy criticism of the messages you receive, you put yourself back in control.

 

Relevant Tools/Resources:

  • Thank You For Smoking (Film, 2006) - While this film is quite entertaining in its own right, it also provides an interesting perspective on the questionable tactics of the public relations industry.

  • Miss Representation (Film, 2011) - Produced by the same organization responsible for The Mask You Live In.

  • MediaSmarts.ca (Web) - “MediaSmarts is a Canadian not-for-profit charitable organization for digital and media literacy.

 

2. Seek out other points of view. By looking beyond your own immediate circle and getting curious about how other people see the world, not only are you guaranteed to learn something new about others, but you'll probably also learn something new about yourself.

 

Relevant Tools/Resources:

  • Beware online "filter bubbles" (Video, TED.com)

  • Take "the Other" to lunch (Video, TED.com)

  • 13th (Netflix Film, 2016)

 

3. Reconnect with yourself. As the film makes very clear, it's easy to forget who you are and what you value while trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations. Taking some time to relax and think about your own authentic wants and needs can put everything back into perspective. What limiting ideas of masculinity did you grow up with? How have they influenced the man you’ve become? What’s really important to you? What kind of man would you like to be? What consistent actions would allow you to fulfill your vision?

 

Relevant Tools/Resources

  • The Five Minute Journal (Product) - “The Five Minute Journal is your secret weapon to focus on the good in your life, become more mindful, and live with intention.

  • HAPPY (Film, 2011) -HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.(as quoted on film website)

  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Book, 2014) by Greg McKeown

 

4. Expand your emotional intelligence. The first step in developing emotional intelligence is to actually become aware of your own emotions. This is not as simple as it may seem. Through cultures, many men have been taught that emotions are a liability. The reality is that denying your emotions only makes you less able to respond to the world around you. With time and regular practice, you will become better acquainted with your inner world and better able to navigate challenging emotional states as they arise.

 

Relevant Tools/Resources:

  • Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (Book, 2011) by Daniel Goleman

  • All it takes is 10 mindful minutes (Video, TED.com) -When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that.

  • HeadSpace.com (Web + App) - A free app that teaches you the basics of mediation in just 10 minutes a day.

  • Mindful.org (Web) - Mindful is a non-profit dedicated to inspiring, guiding, and connecting anyone who wants to explore mindfulness—to enjoy better health, more caring relationships, and a compassionate society.

  • 10% Happier with Dan Harris (Podcast)

 

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. As a man, you’re told constantly you need to be tough and you need to have all the answers. If you’re honest (and if you’re human) there are some times you could use some support yourself. Being a man means having the courage to ask for help when you need it. This might mean reaching out to friends or family, joining a support group, or getting some guidance from a trained therapist.

 

 

Strengthen Your Relationships

[Jessica]

Assess your relationships and browse resources(both romantic and parenting)-  https://www.gottman.com

Brene Brown TEDTalkwww.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability 

Books by Brene - Gifts of Imperfection/Daring Greatly

Strengthen Your Workplace

First Aid Mental Health - http://edmonton.cmha.ca/programs_services/mental-health-first-aid/#.WLzAIchfPCQ

RE:DEFINE Leadership - redefineleadership.ca

Strengthen Your Community

Know what’s out there. Being aware of what kinds of assistance and services are available in your community is a necessary step to being one of the compassionate, trusted leaders that every community needs more of. The resources in the back of this booklet are a good place to start! When helping people access help or services, we always recommend meeting people where they’re at, using good listening skills, and coming from a place of compassion and empathy.

Participate in Your Community. What common thread runs through your community? Participating more means weaving new threads between you and your community, while strengthening your existing connections. Try seeking out organizations and community leaders to find out more about what makes your community tick, and what can be done to make things even better.

Meet your neighbours. Go out of your way to meet your neighbours, discover what makes them unique, and discover what you have in common (aside from the fence!). A vibrant, safe community is built up from a network of great neighbours who can offer support, trust, and familiarity to their communities, all with that friendly neighbourly attitude.

ME Initiatives. Men Edmonton has a brand new men’s community group in the works. With an aim towards positive masculinity, healthy relationships, strengthening communities and breaking down social isolation, this group will be perfect for those looking to make a positive impact, both in their own lives and in their communities. Stay tuned to our Twitter and Facebook page for details! Link to sign up sheet on website for men’s group.