Before you think I’ve lost my mind or smoked some good stuff, seriously consider what it means to be a Western male in our crazy times.
We must be strong but sensitive. If we get too sensitive, we need to man up. We must be stoic and take life’s hits without batting an eye.
If we cry in front of our woman, she feels insecure. We must be emotionally available 24/7 even if we don’t have any emotional comfort left in our emotional battery.
We need to be an intimacy ninja in bed even if our only education about the subject matter was our adolescence bros who were the blind leading the blind.
I could go on and on, but if you are a woman, you may be thinking….”puh-lease, cry me a river”.
Now that I got your attention, we need to have this conversation with both genders. The following is my distillation of years of experience as a man.
While I don’t claim to be the ultimate in manhood, I can tell you I’ve spent the last three decades trying to figure out myself and life’s other paradoxes related to being a man.
My secret sauce.
Own your ignorance. Who was your role model during the early childhood years, when you are programmed for life? You need to know what you don’t know!
My father, who I took after, was moody and used the silent treatment to get his way. In my early years of diving into relationships, you guessed it…I used the silent treatment and aloofness to control.
I remember feeling stupid inside but powerless to change who I was. I had to be honest. My actions were not of a well-adjusted man for my age. I was being twisted and manipulative in my relationship.
“I had to learn to distinguish what I was feeling and express it without being accusatory. I had a right to my feelings and if I could express myself, I was releasing the inner hurt or annoyance from some perceived or real slight.”
Emotionally, we are as unique as snow flakes- no two alike. The two ends of the spectrum are on one end being highly sensitive or the extreme, dissociated from our feelings (a psychological disorder). Everyone will fall somewhere on this spectrum.
Emotions are what being human is all about. They are the juice and magic of being alive. They color our lives into an unpredictable kaleidoscope to be lived.
We are capable of experiencing more than 750 emotions and most men can only distinguish a handful. If you experienced shame or suffered trauma, your emotional body is shut down to many positive and powerful emotions.
Knowing your true emotional nature is the first step and this can start with your genetics and role models who influenced you growing up. You may be an amateur at this, own it!
There is no shame in admitting it and if you decide to put in the work to master your emotional self to raise your emotional intelligence, you are in the class of “Herculean Bros”.
In my next post, I will go over big hits we take in life and how we are never the same.