Ladies, being a woman I know exactly what you would like men to talk about more…
(emotions, especially those influenced by other people)
“… You have a heart and nerves the same as your brother men! Why should you be anxious to conceal them?”
― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
Some men find that easy but they are definitely the exception or perhaps your gay best friend. To the majority of men it seems to be an uncomfortable topic, that that gives them the impression of appearing vulnerable and even weak. And there are definitely two things most men do not want to appear to be – vulnerable and/or weak.
So the one thing you should never ever do is to ask a man what he is feeling in front of anyone else, especially not his friends.
“Is it really possible to tell someone else what one feels?”
― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
One of the main reasons we want to know what a man is feeling is our need for reassurance – so dear men, here is the part that you might find interesting. Reassurance is one of the most important things in any relationship (I believe for men and women equally). It has nothing to do with low self-esteem but with the need to belong, feeling safe and secure. Now that is something a man can understand. Most men feel very comfortable in being the honorable protector of their woman and family. If this is a trait you value in a man then make absolutely sure he knows that – no don’t let him second guess, let him know in very simple and clear words.
Opening up to someone and showing your most vulnerable side takes trust and building trust takes time.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart”
― Helen Keller
Then why is it often so much more difficult for men to get in touch with their feelings and even more difficult to actually voice them?
It may be due to biological factors an/or social factors – who really knows.
So let’s have a closer look at the possible reasons to get a better understanding why we often do not get the responses and reactions we are looking or hoping for (and I would like to emphasise that these reasons do not exclusively apply to men but can apply to any person):
I have already mentioned the first reason
- The fear of appearing vulnerable or weak
Even in today’s society, men are usually rewarded for getting things done, whereas emotions are often seen as being flawed, especially in our corporate culture.
- Emotions have a feminine quality
The fear of comming across as feminine or emotional has pretty much the same quality as appearing weak and is not very appealing for most men. But isn’t it true that we are all a balance of feminine and masculine qualities? Boys are still often taught, from a very early age, that they should be tough, that they should not cry and should not behave like sissies. And that is one explanation why it may be so difficult for many men to get in touch with their more feminine, or let’s call it their more emotional side.
- That brings us to this reason: Men often haven’t been shown how to feel or express emotions
Growing up, men often did not have the support or a role model to show them that it is ok to feel and express emotions. Most boys see how their male role models bottle their feelings up and even deny them, so they follow what they see and do the same and teach the same. But I strongly believe that feeling and expressing is a skill that can be taught, practiced and mastered. It takes patience and trust and is so worth it. Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely not about turning a man into a weeping wuss.
- Fear of losing control
Emotions can be huge and overwhelming especially when you allow yourself to really step into an emotion. It can feel like a chaos that takes over and you simply lose control. The fear of not being able to handle and control it again is bad for the ego. Getting men to feel and express themselves can be an act of liberation though. The ability to feel and express emotions is innate in all humans – which includes men.
- Fear of facing uncomfortable truths
Opening up to our feelings can be a slippery slope to go down. We risk – like opening Pandora’s Box – that we might not be able to put the lid on it. Facing strong emotions can confront us with truths we do not really want to face. This happens to women and men alike. The thing is, we are so caught up in ourselves that we often don’t realise that we are not alone with our fears.
“It’s often just enough to be with someone. I don’t need to touch them. Not even talk. A feeling passes between you both. You’re not alone.”
― Marilyn Monroe
TO BE CONTINUED…
And here a song to tie you over. Happy Weekend!