Jordan Gray says that the absence of these three things in the lives of men is exhausting, damaging, and potentially fatal.
Men are limited in many ways in terms of what is culturally encouraged for them to do.
Of the myriad of things that are ‘off-limits’ in guy world, the following three are by far the biggest culprits.
Do any one of these too often and people will make jokes about how you have to hand in your ‘man-card.’
In truth, these three things are necessary for a well-rounded, fulfilling life.
Without further ado, here are the three most important things that men are discouraged from doing.
1. Feeling emotions
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way…
Men are discouraged from feeling emotions.
And not just the societally reinforced ‘negative’ emotions (like sadness, grief, jealousy, frustration, etc.) but also the most positive ones (i.e. being overly joyful, ecstatic, or expressively happy is also looked down upon in man world).
The more we suppress our emotions, the more we suffer. Out of any of the three factors on this list, I believe that this one is by far the biggest reason that suicide rates among men are drastically higher than women world wide. Women are encouraged to feel a wide range of emotions, and men simply are not.
Whether you do it alone, with close friends, or with your significant other, regularly releasing your stored negative emotions and being more emotionally authentic moment to moment will save you a lot of stress, tension, and misery in the long run.
2. Being physically affectionate with their male friends
Men are also discouraged from engaging in any form of touch with their male friends outside of very specific activities (mainly team sports).
We are not robots. Humans are a social species and we are hardwired for connection and physical affection. And your body doesn’t only respond to the opposite sex… it also releases happy brain chemicals (oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, etc.) when you engage in touch with men who you feel close to.
Hug your guy friends hello and goodbye. Put your arms around each other for your photo ops. Heck, you can sit side by side or put your heads on each others shoulder while you’re watching Netflix. The sky’s the limit (well, your comfort zone is, but you get my point).
More touch, more often. You’ll be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthier for it, and you will improve your relationships with men.
Really sit with this point. If you find yourself strongly resisting what you’re reading right now, that’s usually a sign that a part of you really craves more physical affection in your life with the people around you.
3. Engaging in regular self-care
“Spa visits? Regular massages? EXFOLIATING!? The only exfoliation my grandpa did was when he once accidentally dropped a power sander on his foot. Just kidding, my grandpa never made mistakes.”
Yes, it’s true. Men are allowed to engage in regular self-care.
We live in stressful times. Cities with millions of people packed into them… incessant dinging, buzzing, and beeping from our tech devices… being increasingly on-call around the clock for our jobs.
If men don’t take the time to slow down and take care of themselves every now and then, then they’re going to burn out.
Maybe you get a massage every now and then. Or maybe you set aside an hour once per week to masturbate without rushing. Or maybe you visit an infrared sauna/floatation tank/barber once per week to take care of yourself. Whatever your self-care routine looks like, make it a priority. You’re allowed to.
Which Of These Three Resonates The Most With You?
Which of these three points makes you the most uncomfortable? Well, congrats, you’ve just signed up to start chipping away at it.
Pick the most challenging task and start small.
Not prone to being physically affectionate with your guy friends? Give one of your closest guy friends a hug within the next week.
Not used to prioritizing self-care in your schedule? Time to bust out that calendar and do something purely selfish… just for yourself. You’ll be better off for it.
If you enjoyed this post, you’ll likely also love reading:
You can read more of Jordan’s best writing at JordanGrayConsulting.com
Photo courtesy of Jordan Gray