My generation is the first one in which men haven’t been called out to war. My Swedish mum doesn’t remember her dad from when she was a child. He was sent to the front in case the Nazis would attack. My Spanish dad grew up with his grandparents in the mountains, while his father was fighting the fascists and my grandmother was trying to survive with his sisters. It’s still a common way of life around the world. Why do I mention this on International Women’s Day. Because I’m a health coach, and it seems there are no belief systems as unhealthy as the Macho Lifestyle.
If you have been given orders to fight and kill people, if your upbringing was competitive or you were told you shouldn’t cry and you should be strong, why would you blink when eating meat from tortured animals, or stop yourself from oppressing others?
Men die before women, they are more diseased, their sports are the most dangerous, they don’t have less friends with whom they get to show feelings, cry or be “weak” and their stress hormones are higher. They drink, smoke and take drugs more than women do, and they even commit suicide more often and efficiently too. I can go on about the facts and statistics showing how the “manly” values are detrimental to health and survival, for the aggressor and the abused. Women who take on the traditional manly role get as ill, or even worse, when they are not accepted as equal.
For men or women, this is a perfect day to be Sisters in (hugging) Arms. Imagine how it is to be Mothers, Sisters and Wives. Play the role of a caring wife, a helping sister, and a hugging mum. Understand her to be her. Bring out your feminine and pair it with your masculine, this is beyond the physical and goes for both gender. It’s a very good, and for some a very hard, exercise even if it’s only for a day. You’ll clearly see what stops you from being healthy. Nothing gives us as mammals a quicker boost to the immune system than to be Motherly caring and kind, for all involved. Active compassion towards others and oneself has been the best “medical prescription” for mental and physical health when studied. Hostility and fear do the opposite.
There are few things that are as unhealthy as to be a tough, meat eating and bear drinking Macho Man. Patanjali knew this 3500 years ago: “Being firmly grounded in non-violence creates an atmosphere in which others can let go of their hostility.”