Man up. Be a man!
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to man up is, “to make an effort to deal with something (such as an obligation or a challenge) in a way that is considered strong or manly.” There’s so many things wrong with that sentence but let’s start with, what is “manly”? The definition of manly, albeit widely subjective, is toxic and we need to discuss this age-old focus on what a man should (and should not) be, and why we need to change that narrative! Our actions, emotions and feelings should not have a gender. To show emotion is human. Crying can not be confused with being feminine. “Don’t let ‘em see you cry, champ” dies, today!
Gentlemen are not only allowed to, but are encouraged to cry. Growing up, men have been told not to show emotions. This is where we have failed. As men, we’re confronted with this internal fight to be tough. We are providers right? Aren’t men supposed to be the hunter gatherers of society? Isn’t the crying for the women and children? Say that out loud in a room full of academics and you’ll quickly realize how disrespectfully archaic that actually sounds.
WHY IS IT TOXIC?
As providers, as long as we’re trying to support our team, we’re trending in the right direction. The problem lies where we forget that we must also emotionally support not just our families, but our friends as well. The group chat simply cannot just be for sports, cars, and hookup escapades. We need to check in with our brothers, but most importantly with ourselves as well. When one soldier is wavering on the field, stumbles, and is overwhelmed, we need to jump into the trenches. We need to be with them emotionally first! We need to be that shoulder to lean on instead of just telling them to man up and “figure it out”.
“I’ll be fine. I’m a man”
With that broken philosophy all we’re left to do is continue sweeping it under the rug, again and again, which only further suppresses our emotions. What happens is that these emotions are now left to sit in a pot of unresolved trauma. An emotional stew, if you will. This then marinates for far too long, boils up at the worst time, and often only gets released as rage.
CHANGE THE NARRATIVE
Don’t you get tired of being emotionally exhausted and feeling like there’s no one to talk to? It’s about time we start taking ownership of our emotions. If we can start being that emotional shoulder for our brothers, they’ll soon be strong enough to be able to provide that same support when we’re feeling less than 100%. Holding back emotions and feelings is for the old you. We will stop shutting down and bottling things up, and we’re no longer going to run and hide from emotions!
Let’s save some drywall and start working on identifying and expressing our emotions. Let’s start unpacking our feelings in a healthy manner, as they come up.