As the so-called “protectors” of women and children, men are consistently encouraged to hide their true feelings to keep up a strong facade. This, in turn, evokes a tendency for men to be emotionally dishonest with their significant others, families, friends and, most importantly, themselves. This leads to miscommunication, misplaced emotional responses, and an all-around unhealthy view of the male psyche.
However, the issue is not always with men themselves, but with this cultural ignominy we have placed on men feeling their emotions.
When boys are young, they are taught to be “manly” — to never cry or show they are in pain. However, pounding phrases such as “boys don’t cry” into a young, impressionable mind could create a sense of shame for men if they do happen to cry.
Thus, as they grow older, this can devolve into an unhealthy stigma across the male (and female) populace. We come to expect men to be unwavering and stoic, even in the gravest of circumstances.
Placing this kind of pressure on men’s normal feelings could destroy their capability to be emotionally honest and stable in relationships in their lives.
Studies conducted by the University of Pittsburgh show that, as infants, males tend to cry more, crave more human affection, and are all-around needier than females. However, as they mature, our society effectively takes these emotional and relational cravings out of them.
The cycle of creating emotionally stunted men needs to end somewhere, and we should be the ones to break this generational curse.
It starts with men choosing to share and feel their feelings rather than retreating inward for the sake of preserving their masculinity. But it’s not just on them.
Women must listen to the men in their lives. Ignore the critical looks they give when you let them know that you’re always available to talk if they need it.
Love them through their bouts of emotional insecurity. Encourage them to speak out about things that make them joyous and things that make them cry. Don’t hold them to a toxic standard of strength. Let them be honest in their relationships so they can be honest with the world around them.
Men are not super-humans who aren’t allowed to feel anything beyond indifference.
They are byproducts of a society with antiquated views of masculinity, and men today should be allowed to have human feelings.
Take care of the men in your life and remember to pay attention to unrealistic expectations we may place on them.