March 4th, 2009. The day that my life changed forever.
That was the day my Dad decided to end his life, leaving behind 2 sons, a loving wife, a Mum and Dad and a huge network of friends.
In fact, on paper he pretty much had ‘everything’.
A family, good health, a full time job, a part time business, hobbies, a degree in psychology…
But none of it could stop him from deciding to end his own life.
8 years on I sit here reflecting behind my computer screen, 3 coffees deep and it’s only 10am.
Why didn’t any of those ‘things’ give him a reason to stay alive?
Money in the bank, a 4 bedroom house, a full time job, a supportive family…
Why wasn’t any of it enough?
Then it hit me…
Pleasure vs Fulfilment
I’ve spoken about my Dad’s story and my own personal battles with depression in previous posts, but today I wanted to highlight a mistake that can be life changing.
It’s a mistake my Dad made, a mistake I made and a mistake a lot of other men make.
In fact, this mistake can be extremely dangerous if it isn’t managed.
Short term pleasure will never truly outweigh true emotional pain.
Read that again…
No form of short term pleasure can hide deeper emotional issues that you’ve buried.
After losing my Dad to suicide I quickly turned to short term pleasure.
I played the role of what I thought was a ‘man’, shutting down and managing my emotions with alcohol, clubbing, working every hour under the sun and buying materialistic items (new clothes, a new car, watches).
I remember going to a local nightclub a week after my Dad took his own life, brushing off the condolences and telling them “I’m alright”.
All I was doing was masking the pain with short term pleasure. With every beer I drunk, with every expensive item of clothing I bought… the pain became numb for a short period of time.
I kept hunting for instant gratification, for my next fix of dopamine to bury the the saddening emotions of losing my Dad to suicide.
But within a few months, no short term pleasure could mask those emotions, and the sadness of losing my Dad quickly resurfaced. When it did, I had no way to deal with it. Nothing seemed ‘pleasurable’ anymore.
Luckily I overcame the dark period by finding more meaning in life, discovering inner happiness and developing better habits, but for my Dad and for many others it’s often too late.
When those emotions buried deep for years resurface, it’s often too much to handle.
You can’t outrun negative emotions that you haven’t dealt with.
They’ll cause stress, anxiety, depression and in a lot of cases they’ll become to hard to handle leading to suicide.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45.
Out of all suicides last year, 79% were men.
If you’re reading this, how often are you masking pain with short term pleasure?
Do you find that whatever you do, you can never truly feel happy?
If so, these tips below should help.
1. Become Aware
The first step to dealing with emotional pain you’ve buried away is to become aware of it.
Looking at past conditioning, thinking about experiences that have happened to you and how you’ve been brought up can often give you awareness.
‘Why?’ is the best question you can ask yourself.
Challenge yourself, your emotions and who you are by asking “why?”.
For example: Why am I not confident? Answer: Because I don’t feel good about myself. Why don’t I feel good about myself? Answer: Because I don’t feel like anyone pays much attention to me. Why don’t I feel like anyone pays much attention to me? I never really felt loved when I was younger, my Mum and Dad separated when I was young and both worked hard…
This is just a simple example of what the word “why” can do.
Becoming self aware is the first step to becoming a better version of yourself.
2. Handle It
The emotions you’ve buried for years need to be dealt with.
Short term pleasure might make them go away for a while, but they’ll always resurface at a later date.
There’s no 1 size fits all when it comes to handling your emotions. Some men like to talk, some don’t. Some men like to cry, some don’t.
The issue isn’t how you deal with them, it’s what will happen if you don’t.
Whether you write down how you feel, speak to someone about how you feel or simply start making better changes and surrounding yourself with better people in your life…
Handle those emotions before they resurface.
This article was very ‘out of the blue’.
It’s an extension from a video I recently published on YouTube.
But I want to hear your thoughts…
Is this something you do?
Have you only just realised you do this?
How have you managed to deal with past hurt?
Comment below and let me know 🙂