• Do you see yourself as indestructible?
  • Are you a man who doesn’t need to look after himself? … and who doesn’t like to be cared for by others?
  • Do you hide your emotions?
  • Do you keep how you feel to yourself?
  • Do you ‘bust your guts’ doing something just to prove that you can do it?
  • Are you afraid to show that you care because you might be told to ‘get yourself a skirt’?

If we are answering ‘yes’ to any of these questions, what is this saying about men in general, about ourselves?

Why are we choosing to be like robots or machines that can work 24/7, pretending to not be affected by anything, not expressing our feelings, thinking that we never need to be checked in on or serviced?

Is it that we just don’t know how else to be in this world?

We are naturally caring people. We can care for ourselves and others but is it possible that somewhere along the way it was decided that caring was a feminine trait and that we as men didn’t want to accept that we have a delicate feminine side to ourselves?

It is as though to be seen to care for ourselves and others somehow puts a question mark on our manhood, which is something we have been told to prove to the world from a young age.

Is it the ultimate quest for a boy to prove himself to be a man?

Why don’t we go to the doctor for a check-up every so often or when we hurt ourselves? If your car starts backfiring do you keep driving around as if it’s normal, or do you get it seen to by a mechanic? We, as men, need regular maintenance; a caring, gentle routine that supports us to keep running in a loving way.

Why do we wait until we are misfiring before we look at ourselves?

When I started my apprenticeship at seventeen I wanted to prove myself to my boss (my father) and my fellow workers that I was worthy of the job. Being a bricklayer is very physical so I would push myself to the limit, day in day out.

I worked as hard as I could with no regard for myself and most afternoons fell asleep on the way home, completely exhausted but at the same time satisfied because I had given it my all and proven to everyone that I could work ‘like a man’.

Fast-forward to the present day and the way I go about my work is completely different.

I still work hard but I have regard for myself and know that I have to stop at certain times throughout the day, even if it is only for a minute. I ask for help when I can’t lift, push or pull something, I don’t want to put unnecessary strain on my body.

I used to pride myself on not having days off sick and working when I clearly should have been at home. I still rarely have days off as I now live this way of caring for myself so I don’t need the time off.

I have been laying bricks for twenty years now and am not exaggerating when I say that I feel fitter and more comfortable in my body now than when I started my apprenticeship. I don’t treat myself as indestructible anymore. I treat myself with deep care and love, and that has had a huge impact on the quality of not only my health, but also revitalised me so that now I have more energy and time for my relationship with my family, and work.