When it comes to managing emotions, men and women have different perceptions. Since women are generally perceived as “emotionally sensitive,” it became socially defensible to express their feelings whenever they wanted to. However, people expect men to be fearless, strong, and brave, so they are not encouraged to express how they feel freely.
Gender stereotypes and cultural norms like these are toxic, particularly for men, because it teaches them that being vulnerable is a sign of weakness. As a result, men tend to neglect their emotions and pretend to be happy even though they aren’t. This habit can result in long-term emotional health issues that may affect their overall health. In general, hiding emotions can be highly damaging to a man.
Why Men Hide Their Feelings
We’ve been used to women openly expressing their emotions than men for ages. This is because they are trained to believe that showing their feelings is not “manly” and is out of character with their gender. They thought that hiding their feelings was better as it kept their image strong. From a young age, men are taught that crying affects their masculinity, which is false.
While it’s common for most women to be diagnosed with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, men experience mental distress too. More than 30% of men will experience depression at some point in their lives, but only 9% of men admit to having feelings of anxiety and depression.
Men should not hide their emotions just because it’s the norm. Men are humans too, and one research states that men experience the same levels of emotions as women. But since most of them are not used to expressing their feelings, it may seem as if they do not feel sadness at all.
Men also tend to channel their feelings into different emotions they think are socially acceptable. For example, a sad man may act more aggressively as it’s more acceptable than crying. If you frequently experience this, it will be wise to talk to a professional.
Learning to Be Vulnerable
This is a new era. And it’s about time men learn to express themselves freely and be vulnerable in front of people. Indeed, it sounds easy, but doing so is challenging. At first, men will find it hard to show their feelings, but with a few tricks, they can become vulnerable too.
Listed below are some tips for men to become comfortable in expressing their emotions.
Be Honest About Your Feelings
You will never learn vulnerability if you keep suppressing and denying your feelings. It’s natural for most men to quickly shut down their feelings whenever they feel grief or sadness. You can open up about your emotions easily if you feel and accept them. Acknowledge what you feel inside. Are you lonely? Are you grieving? Let it all out. Cry if you have to because that will make you feel better.
If you find it challenging to be honest about your feelings, you might need to tap into life coaching services. A life coach can help you be true to yourself and your emotions, allowing you to express them in ways you feel right.
Look for Therapeutic Hobbies
One of the best ways to tap into your emotions is by finding hobbies that push you to reflect on your feelings. These hobbies may differ according to your personality, so you really have to put in the effort to find hobbies that work best for you. For example, if you feel like your head is about to explode due to anxiety, you might find a 15-minute walk in the park extremely therapeutic.
Walking gives you the chance to think about your life decisions and what you want to do in the future. It can also give you a sense of peace as it brings you closer to nature. Other hobbies may also involve art, music, and physical activities.
Talk to a Therapist
Men are also not fond of talking to therapists primarily because of the adverse stigma of men’s mental health. But seeing a therapist should not be about what other people might think. It’s about taking steps to help yourself be better.
In addition, talking to a therapist can give men a safe space to be vulnerable without worrying about being judged. Therapy can help men feel their emotions and cope with them in productive and healthy ways,
Lastly, keep in mind that your gender has nothing to do with your emotions. You are a human being. And it is never a rime to cry or feel sad when something unpleasant happens to you. Let your feelings out and do not suppress them inside to minimize the risk of mental health issues.