Men have feelings, too.
It's true, they really do.
Woman are beautiful creatures, often wearing our emotions on our sleeves for the world to see, and we hold no shame or guilt for being vulnerable and free with our feelings.
Many men, on the other hand, have been taught to hide their feelings. They've been told by mentors, friends, fathers, that crying is a sign of weakness.
While it's difficult enough hearing it from other men, some woman carry the same torch - a man should be stone, not soft, not in touch with their feelings.
So, where does that leave men?
Severely stressed, tight with tension, and often overcome by anxiety and depression.
We all know how it feels to have a good cry - it is a cleansing form of release.
If men are conditioned to believe crying is a 'womanly thing,' how do they find release?
Anger, frustration, projection, or they show no emotion at all. And let's be honest, when we encounter someone who doesn't express emotion towards us, either positive or negative, it can frustrate us. We unconsciously feel like they don't care. But, they do usually care, they just don't know how to express their emotions and show vulnerability without feeling like 'less of a man.' It's just not something they were taught.
What if men were encouraged to show their emotions? What if they were told it's okay to be vulnerable and real and cry if they need to? If we gave them 'permission' to express their feelings in a safe space, then perhaps this would relieve the years of stress and tension they've been holding within, and thus prevent future stress by opening doors to a new way of communication.
Some of the most amazing men I know show their sensitive side and are completely comfortable with showing emotion. I know these men to be healthy, strong, compassionate and empathetic human beings. This is often referred to as a man's feminine side.
It should be their natural side.
Many men feel as though they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Unlike women, however, men don't often talk openly with their friends and family about how they're feeling. They just endure, sometimes enormous amounts of stress without expressing in a healthy way. Or at all. A lot of men feel women can be very critical of them, which makes them not want to open up, and their egos tend to be slightly more stubborn than the average woman's.
If you find your partner or loved one is uncomfortable with showing emotion or sharing their feelings, be sure to let them know that you're there to listen...without judgment. Avoid pointing fingers, blaming and becoming defensive when communicating, and instead show compassion, empathy and understanding.
And most importantly, be patience with progress.
Everything takes time, and if you're wanting your partner to feel like he can be more open with you, it will definitely take time and patience.
“That was one of the saddest things about people--their most important thoughts and feelings often went unspoken and barely understood.”
~ Alexandre Adornette