The way society defines our genders makes it scary to defy the boxes, but self knowledge and forgiveness can help.
The man box is a bunch of things. You have to be tough. You can’t be caring or nurturing. It’s all about pressure from society, from the people around you.
Of course there’s also the woman box. They don’t talk much about the woman box. In the woman box a woman thinks that she has to have big boobs, blond hair, lots of makeup, and maybe even some Botox. She can’t be who she is because she has to be as sexy as the women you see in Cosmo, or on social media, TV, and at the movies.
And men, how are you supposed to act towards women? In today’s society, are you supposed to “nail” anything that offers herself to you? Brag about it? Be Macho?
These two boxes fit together like puzzle pieces. If you have the woman in the woman box and the man in the man box, both of them are unhappy. They don’t fit, they don’t feel right, but they think, “Hey, this is what I am “supposed” to do so I will go with it.”
Meanwhile, they are fighting within themselves.
The key to the man box is knowing yourself. Part of that is forgiving yourself. Until you forgive yourself for being hurt at some point, and feeling sad about it, you will still be in the man box. It’s not just about anger. Talking about anger is so tired. It’s done with. They have beaten that rug enough. It’s not about anger all the time. The reason men come off as angry is because they are not allowed to be themselves. They’re not allowed to have any other emotion.
They feel afraid to come out of the man box, because as soon as they come out of the man box, they are different from the other men and if they are around others who are still in the man box they will pounce. Because anything that is different is bad and it’s hard to understand.
Of course, women are the same way. Look at a girl that isn’t all dolled up, they say “Look at her, how could she come out without makeup? “ Getting out of the man or woman box is about knowing yourself, being proud of yourself. The key is you have to forgive yourself before you can get to know yourself.
If you don’t forgive yourself you are never going to know that part of you that is sensitive, nurturing, and loving. Accepting yourself, knowing yourself, and forgiving yourself is where your greatest strength lies.
That is really when the greatest connections become possible. As soon as you do those things, the man box goes poof. You don’t have to break out of the box; it just disappears. Those men who come off all macho and angry are more insecure than anyone. The men in the corners of the man box are probably the ones that are the most aware. But they are often pushed away because the other men fear a man who is truly aware.
How do the man box and the woman box overlap? Guess what. Beyond adolescence and the early 20’s, the bad boys aren’t so attractive any more, unless a woman is so insecure, so very hurt, so deep down in her woman box that she still goes after the 40 year old bad boy still wearing his hat backwards and driving the hopped up truck and shopping for hair implants, because he just can’t stand who he is because he has no clue who he is. There the man box and the woman box overlap and everyone in them is in pain.
Forgiveness is the key to the man box, but until men accept themselves, they are still going to be looking for who they are supposed to be. The man box is only what society says that men are supposed to be. Don’t cry. Don’t show emotions. Don’t be nurturing. Men who are too insecure to escape the box are willing to label the person who is. And men who cry, who show emotions other than anger, who nurture and love themselves and others, might be shunned unless they can find their path and make their way.
But get to know yourself. Forgive yourself. Because when you do, you will get to know people more deeply and more connectedly more than most. You’ll get to know other men who want to have deepening relationships with those they care about. Men who want to feel. Men who want to be there for their children, support and empower their partner, stand beside their brothers and sisters.
Family members may judge you, if they don’t know themselves, haven’t forgiven themselves, they won’t understand. The way things were still remains comfortable for them, not necessarily good, but comfortable. If you change, it may create more judgment and push back. Let them push and let them judge. Sooner or later, they will recognize your new normal and come to appreciate it.
As soon as you know yourself, you don’t have to worry about what society says you are.
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