Taraki x Movember: Reflection 24

Taraki x Movember: Reflection 24
Taraki have been awarded a grant to co-develop the Cha in the City peer support spaces for Punjabi men. This blog is part of a series where our project team reflects on the process of this project, key learnings, and important milestones.

August 2024 will mark 3 years since I started working at Taraki. It’s true what they say, times flies when you’re having fun. I don’t think I will ever get tired of saying how grateful and fortunate I am to work at Taraki and in men’s mental wellbeing. It’s a subject so intimate to my own lived experience and it feels like my chosen life purpose. I mentioned in our last reflection that life has changed a lot in the last 3 years for me. While a lot has changed in my life over the past 3 years, the one thing that hasn’t changed is how much our work is driven by a positive belief in people. The belief that if people are given the right tools, support and love that they will naturally act out of care towards themselves and people around them. Ultimately, the belief that people will thrive under the right conditions and most importantly love.

While I’ve always held close to this belief (loosely), it has become one of the guiding principles of my life since I started working at Taraki. The reason it has one become one of my guiding principles is because I’m fortunate enough to be the recipient of this kind of support and love from Shuranjeet, the founder of Taraki. Beyond the love and support of one or two people in my life at the time, I rarely had someone so positively believe in my abilities or vision, until I met Shuranjeet in 2021.

As a working-class immigrant man, I’ve been raised in very harsh environments, where positive reinforcement was deeply lacking. Rarely did I receive comments like ‘you’re doing great’ or ‘I believe in you’. While I recognise those are very western ways of showing affection and validation, they are important nonetheless. The need for validation and celebration by others around us is an essential need in developing healthy self-esteem. Something which I deeply lacked and was actively looking for.

Luckily for me, I was fortunate enough to start receiving this type of nurturing support and belief from Shuranjeet the minute I met him and I’ve grown leaps and bounds since then, personally and professionally. While this post is about me and Shuranjeet’s friendship, it is a deeper reflection on the need for seeing people’s potential and celebrating every minute of it. Something which is so essential when you’re working with men. I won’t speak for other men, but I know how deeply flawed I am as a result of how I’ve been raised and also due to my own inability to reflect and face hard truths about myself. While I am a work in progress, the fact that I was fortunate enough to be received for the potential I have, was, and still remains, life changing.

It is exactly this belief that I take into my work when working with men in our communities, because a bit of belief can be life changing. I don’t know much, but this is something I can deeply vouch for with all my heart.

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