MIAMI (CBSMiami) — An international community of men is having bold conversations and redefining what it means to be a man in this day and age and that conversation has now arrived in Miami. Men are speaking up about what some say are unrealistic expectations of masculinity.
“It’s Ted Talks meets Oprah but for guys,” explained Connor Beaton, founder of the national organization called ManTalks. Beaton’s mission is to change the stereotype of what it means to be a man because he says men are forced to hide their creative side and continuously “search and long for balance.”
Beaton says the idea came after he had a chilling conversation with a friend who had tried to commit suicide.
He explained that he was once a construction worker and hockey player who rode a motorcycle; a stereotypical alpha male who was once also an opera singer. In his 20’s, Beaton says he left the gravel pit and was living his dream.
“From the outside it looked like I was living this great life. I was chasing this dream of being this famous international superstar. I was going to be Pavarotti only I would be buff and riding motorcycles,” said Beaton.
But privately, Beaton struggled with addiction and depression and ended up homeless sleeping in his car. His life took a drastic turn after he confided in a friend. “I laid it all out of him and told him what was going on and he kind of sat there. He took a deep breath and looked at me and he was like, ‘I want to thank you and I want to tell you that I tried to commit suicide last month.’ I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ He had been dealing depression behind the scenes and he had tried to hang himself. And I had no idea.”
Beaton say that that chilling talk changed his life and made him realize that he wasn’t alone. He says 50-percent of men in North America, UK and Australia over the age of 19 say they can’t identify a best friend.
Angie Sanchez, certified health coach and organizer of ManTalks in Miami says she’s seen an increase in the number of male clients in her practice because more men are looking for help and guidance and a support system.
“ManTalks is a platform that everyone needs to know about and know that this actually exists and that it can help give men permission to be authentic and vulnerable and become better men overall,” said Sanchez.
Beaton says women play a big role in the way men feel.
“For me I believe for men, women are the permission holders. They hold the permission card to go do this work. I guess for all the ladies that are listening, give permission. Say, ‘I want you to go check this kind of stuff out.’”
Beaton’s mission is to change the stereotypes of what it means to be a man.
“What we are aiming to do in a big way is to create a space of positive masculinity for men from guys and create a space where you can learn from how other people have screwed up and recovered.”
In just a few years ManTalks has expanded to more than a dozen cities.
The next one in Miami is February 27, 2017.
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