Forget what you’ve heard, says Jeffrey Platts. Being strong does NOT mean being silent.
Guys, let go of the b.s. notion that you need to act tough and stoic all the time around your woman. Yes, overall, it’s good to be a strong, grounded man of purpose. But also factor into the mix that you need to be authentic and present in each moment.
You had a bad day at work and your boss calls you a “worthless piece of yak crap”? Two things: 1) find yourself a new job asap. 2) feel free to share that with your woman when you come home. Because either way, SHE WILL KNOW. In general, women are dynamos at picking up on people’s emotions and energy. For you to fake that everything is alright, that your day was “just fine” is shooting yourself in the foot. She will only sense that something’s not right, you’re not being genuine with her, and she’ll just get pissed off at you for not being real with her. She won’t feel safe with you and she won’t trust you. Not to mention she’ll just use her imagination to fill in the blanks. And you know how awesome a woman’s imagination can be. So now you’ll have a asshole boss and an annoyed woman. And it’s only 6:30 p.m. Fun times.
So what to do instead? How about just keepin’ it real? Stop hiding what’s going on for you. Bummed about your best friend moving to another city? Did your wife just say something that triggered you? Speak up! Women are intuitive creatures, but they’re NOT mind-readers. But the trick is to do this while keeping composure, not shrinking into an apologetic little boy nor puffing yourself up like a macho, aloof jerk. Just be present with what’s true for you in the moment and own it. It may be ugly, it may not be what you want to face. But do you want to live in Pleasantville, or do want an actual relationship between two people who have an authentic, solid, supportive, continually-expanding connection? How you choose to show up for your partner is going to demonstrate your choice.
Behind every communication problem is a sweaty ten-minute conversation you don’t want to have. However, the moment you work up the courage to have it, you collect an instant reward in relief as well as open up a flow of communication that will allow you to resolve the situation. —Gay Hendricks
The Flip Side: And at the same time, don’t be afraid to express appreciation for your woman. It’s not only about sharing the bumps in the road. For most women, vulnerability + strength = HOT. If you can connect with your heart before you share your appreciation, you will hit a grand slam. You get turned on every time she wears a ponytail to workout? Share it. You love the way her voice sounds when she reads to your kid before bedtime? Share it. You love the way she smiles at you when she’s doing a strip tease for you? SHARE IT.
I can’t even count all the moments where my heart was genuinely busted WIDE open by the woman I was with and I was too freakin’ scared to share it. It’s as if I had a beautiful gift in my hand, walked up to her door, and just before she opened it, throwing it in the bushes. WTF is the point of that? I’m denying her the appreciation and I’m denying myself the love that I feel for her. Not to mention the regret I’ll feel afterwards.
Of course it’s hard to be appreciative of something if you’re not present to it. So here are 3 tips to get connected to what’s true for you:
- Meditate. Before you get all woo-woo’d out, hear me out. For me, meditation, at its simplest, is simply sitting still and being quiet. Shut the door, silence your phone, turn off the TV/stereo/computer screen. Just sit still with your eyes closed and take full, deep breaths into your belly. That’s it. Try it for just 5 minutes a day. Maybe even as a transition when you come home from work and continue your evening. You will start to create space between you and your thoughts, giving you more clarity and awareness on what the hell you’re actually feeling vs. what you “think” you feel.
- Pause for a moment before you speak. So many times, we’re letting our monkey mind run our mouth. And our monkey mind chatter is oftentimes just reacting to what’s around us or from our own programming, rather than responding from our higher self. When you’re connecting with someone, especially your woman, pause for a moment and see what’s true for you.
- Practice expressing appreciation throughout the day. Flex your appreciation muscle. Don’t hold it back for just your partner or kids or your parents. Practice sharing it to even complete strangers. The barista who gave you a bigger latte free of charge. The woman who has a great smile. But two things: it must be genuine and don’t attach to the outcome. They may be blown away by your generosity. Or they may not say anything at all. They may think you’re trying to scam them or, if they’re a woman, that you’re trying to pick them up. As long as you’re genuine and clean in your communication, how they receive it is their issue, not yours. Just keep on sharing.
P.S. The open heart, open mouth principle applies to women, too. I just believe that guys can use an extra reminder.
Photo—Man with tape over his mouth on Shutterstock