Dear men, It Is Okay to Show How You Feel
When was the last time you showed someone how you really feel? I asked a friend of mine the other day (male friend). He answered; uum! I can’t show people how I feel, they will think that I am weak! I must show them that I am strong so that they can respect me!
Wow! How the hell would you want me to respect you if I think you are some kind of a robot who doesn’t feel a thing? No thanks!
“Staying vulnerable is the risk we have to take if we want true connection,” Brene Brown. You cannot connect with anyone if you are not ready to show them who you really are. For people to trust and understand you, they must know you without the mask.
They must know that you are capable of feeling; you are capable of being open enough and are honest with how you feel. They want to know that you are human enough to be emotional.
They want to know they can be open to you because you are open to them and they can trust you with their feelings and emotions because you have trusted them with yours.
Last night I was watching a Ted Talk by Justin Baldon (also known as Raphael on Jane the Virgin, you will know if you are a fan) titled “why I am done trying to be “man enough” opened my eyes in a whole new level. Not that I didn’t know that our societies have played a big role into shaping men as we see them, it is just that I was too focused on how it has played the role on shaping women as we see them today.
Men or women have been defined by the society on how and who they should be, how they should behave and what they should desire in life.
Men, on the other hand, have been shaped to be masculine; they are told that they should never show their emotions because that will show that they are weak! This is just so wrong on many levels!
For me, a man who is able to be open and show how he feels is the strongest of them all. Why? Because he is violating the norms, he is defining himself the way he sees himself not the way that the society has told him to. He is being strong enough to let other people in and show it is okay to feel, it is okay to express emotions.
You will hear people say “stop acting like a woman” this is never a compliment to men especially when they are expressing their emotions, and how they feel about things. Men are shaped to mask their feelings. Personally, I don’t see the logic behind this.
Men and women are both humans, but why can’t men be allowed to show how they feel? How are we supposed to communicate and understand each other? What kind of humans are we going to be if we can’t openly show and talk about how we feel?
In his talk, Justin says “I have been pretending to be the man I am not my entire life. I have been pretending to be strong when I felt weak, confident when I felt insecure and tough when I was really hurting. It is exhausting trying to be men enough.”
I tell you, I know one too many men who do the same thing every day! Men who pretend to be tough when they are hurting and try to show that they are confident when the truth is they are insecure about way too many things just like any other human being. Because you know what, nobody is perfect! Our society forgets to mention that when they define us!
The society tells us; women are weak men are strong and when you live short of any of these definitions then you are either not a woman enough or not a man enough! This is how we raise our kids! Stop running “like a girl”. You can’t play football, this is a “boy’s game”. Why are we limiting our children?
Being a man is not about how strong you are or how well you can hide your feelings. Being a man is about sacrifice and doing whatever you can to take care and provide for your family.
Justin says men are good at making friends and talking. Talking about work, women and sport but not about real things! Things like fear of failure, insecurity or that something is hurting them. Because they are scared they will look weak and they will be judged, they can’t ask for help because that is not how a man should live and as a result, they suffer in silence.
I tell you this is true, how do I know that? I have a boyfriend who is very stubborn about showing how he truly feels or let alone ask for help. He is trying to change that now and it is working because now we can connect on a whole new level and that helps us to stay close and strong together.
Yes, men are meant to be brave. But are you BRAVE enough to be VULNERABLE? To be open to showing who you truly are? Are you man enough to know that you need people to reach some life goals? Are you man enough to ask for help when you need it? Are you strong enough to be sensitive even if it makes you look weak? Are you strong enough to listen to women in your life, to hear about their ideas and solutions even if that is not what you think?
I believe that it is okay for men to show how they feel, but there is no way I think men and women can show their emotions equally. How women show their emotions will always be different and that is okay because we are not equal. I believe in equity between men and women, well this is a story for another time 🙂
Are you men enough to shut the hell up and listen? Women, can we be women enough and be supportive of men and live in harmony?
Here is the full Justin’s TedTalk. What do you think about vulnerability? What do you think about men being free to show they truly feel? Let’s talk in the comment below.
Until next time,