Open up and stop running away from your emotions.
There was a time when I was hungover and I sat in darkness because I had chosen to drink rather than pay the electricity bills. And I sat there and thought to myself that there has to be more to life than what I have achieved so far. I was angry and I couldn’t tell anyone. It hurt. The man box was my friend.
I was at the lowest point of my life so I took it upon myself to make the positive steps to change. Over the space of the next ten years I changed my life beyond all recognition. That was through seeking help of others. Professionals, Charity Sector, friends, wife, son. I knew I couldn’t do it alone. No-one can. But if you learn to let that help in, perceptions become so much clearer.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know that I identify as a man. I’m Male, Masculine, XY. So what does that mean? What does it mean to be Male? It may seem like a stupid question to you, but I think we should be asking ourselves this more often. What is our purpose? What is our role in life? I think once you learn to define yourself then you can have a better understanding of what your position in the world is.
So I’m male; but my definition of being male goes against the grain of society. Why? Because I’m not going to let other people tell me how to live my life. There’s this massive idea in popular circles that men shouldn’t show emotion. We should be emotionless, keep the stiff upper lip or get up when we get knocked down. To me that sounds insane. I feel. And I feel very hard. I tell my son that I love him very much because I do—I’ll tell him this until I am no longer for this world. I get really sad when I hear that someone dies or has an accident. And I celebrate to the ends of the earth when my friends taste success.
Yet I don’t only feel basic emotions. I hurt when someone I enjoy being around tells me that they no longer want to be around me, I’m eager to do better with my life, I’d get jealous if my wife was flirting with another man, and I’d feel a failure if someone I really admire told me that my work was rubbish.
I hurt, I cry, I get mad, I’m often happy. The difference? I show it. I don’t care if someone tells me to “man up” because I’m feeling scared that my son has a fever. In fact, “man up” must be the single most dis-empowering emasculating words I’ve ever heard in my life. But that’s a different story.
Since Victorian times it has been unacceptable for a man in the household to show any emotion whatsoever. My Granddad was very Victorian. I knew he loved me to bits but never once did he utter those words. As for my own Dad, I don’t think I have ever felt the feel of his own skin on mine, never mind a kind word. And the male roles in my childhood from Mum? They were nice, but again, very old school. What chance did I have of spreading love and comfort into my family?
I’ve always been a highly emotionally intelligent lad but I really had no idea how to manage the senses I was picking up. It was confusing to say the very least with no role models to help me through the maze.
Would you credit that ALL the seriously confidence-boosting, love-inducing, aura-spreading people in my life have been women? It’s probably why I’ve learned all that I have about emotional intelligence. I dare say I wasn’t really born with it, but perhaps surrounding myself with loads of really great women from an early age helped. It is by this that I’ve managed to combine both what I have learned about myself and other people that I can now sufficiently create a different life path for my little family.
Since my change I’ve met a few very, very empowering women in my life through professional bodies and the charity sector. They have helped me channel that extra sensory data into something useful. My wife was my biggest help. And now I can see similar traits in my son.
Being a Male in the 21st Century is about rediscovering ourselves. We have the tools to do so now that great Psychologists and Sociologists have stood up and said, “Haaaang ooon a minute!” and paved the way for being healthy, and male. It’s bad enough that we have to sit through classrooms and read newspapers that tell us that Men fight, Men create wars, Men hate, blah blah. That’s not what men do. That’s what they want us to think we do.
Get rid of the man cave if you’re already in it. The only thing that will do is isolate you from anyone that’s close. Open up, stop running away. Emotions are powerful. Let the world see that you have them too. And you’d be more a man than those that do not. Because in reality, they are only hiding from themselves.
Originally published at therelationshipblogger.com