If you’re a man who is losing your hair, you are not alone, my friend. It does feel that way though because even your friends will tell you: “You’re still you, mate” or “Don’t worry about it, it’ll happen to us all one day”. No one else understands unless they’ve been through it themselves.
As humans, we have so many ways of defining ourselves through our appearance – body shape, muscle definition, how we dress, our hairstyle and so on – that when one aspect is taken out of our control, it can be devastating. I’ve heard a man say it’s like being able to walk and then suddenly finding himself in a wheelchair. It might sound overly dramatic but you can probably relate to how debilitating it is.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A MAN’S HAIR BEYOND APPEARANCE
If you’ve never heard of Samson the Israelite, you will empathise with his experience, as told in the Bible. Whatever your religious beliefs, Samson’s story illustrates the importance a man places on his head of hair. Samson’s God-given superhuman strength would only be his if he didn’t cut his hair or shave his head. When he fell victim to the advances of the treacherous Delilah and fell asleep in her lap after revealing the source of his strength, she cut his hair off, leaving him “as weak as any other man”. Losing his hair was not his fault, the same way losing your hair is not your fault. But you know what? In the real world of today, our hair isn’t about superhuman strength so much as it’s about feeling good in ourselves. That can make us feel just as invincible.
HAIR LOSS IS ABOUT SO MUCH MORE THAN VANITY
As your hair falls out and reveals more of your scalp, it affects the way you feel across all facets of your life. I know exactly how you feel because these are the four ways in which it affected my life profoundly. What you’re feeling is one hundred per cent justifiable.
1. WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR HAIR, YOU LOSE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM WITH IT
When your appearance changes radically, over whatever period of time, it can absolutely damage your self-esteem and shatter your confidence. You may feel less attractive or that you look older than you should. I used to look in the mirror and almost not recognise myself. Your very identity takes a hit! Mine did. I’d even avoid ordering a coffee in a café because I’d recoil at seeing my reflection in the stainless steel of the coffee machine.
2. YOU START BELIEVING YOUR CAREER SUCCESS DEPENDS ON HOW MUCH HAIR YOU HAVE
Every day at work, I would feel as though everybody was looking at me and noticing my hair loss. Obviously, that wasn’t the case but I’ll bet, as far as you’re concerned too, it’s all anybody sees when they look at you. You become withdrawn and more inwardly focused until you can no longer function as you used to. This is how your career starts to suffer. I stopped putting myself forward for promotions. I refused invitations to networking events or unnecessary meetings. I even stopped socialising with colleagues because I didn’t feel up to putting on a brave face.
3. YOUR LOVE LIFE SUFFERS BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING BALD
When you’re uncomfortable with your own appearance, it feels like no woman would find you attractive either. If you’re in a relationship, you might start to withdraw, leaving your partner to wonder what happened. Or, if you were previously dating, it suddenly becomes really important to avoid opportunities where you might meet women. This one hit me particularly hard as I’d always been quite confident with the opposite sex. I became hugely insecure which is never an attractive quality in anyone. I certainly didn’t date much at all.
4. THE SHAME OF BALDING MAKES YOU QUESTION YOUR WORTH
Since starting to lose your hair, you’ve probably asked yourself: “Why me?” In the dark of night, you lay awake in bed wondering what you’ve done to deserve it. The shame wells up and leaves you feeling worthless. In fact, when it comes to losing your hair, it’s not unusual to go through the five stages of loss and grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. That’s what happened to me and it consumed a great deal of my time and emotional energy that I’ll never get back if I live another hundred years.
DON’T LET THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL CONTINUE
Male pattern baldness is a very common condition. You only have to look around to see that you’re not alone. What’s important is that you don’t have to endure the impact that hair loss has on your life. I encourage you to be proactive and seek treatment sooner rather than later!