A friend I’ve known for years consistently chooses all the wrong men and she is the first to admit it. She was brought up in a family of all girls with a silently strong patriarch of a father. As she entered adulthood, she chose stoic man after stoic man as partners because she identifies stoicism as being dependable, stable, and reliable. Just like her dad. She wasn’t attracted to men who showed emotion (other than anger or happiness) because she unconsciously saw that as weakness, insecurity, and instability. These relationships ended, inevitably. What felt safe actually turned out to be unsafe because, with a stoic man, she rarely knew where she stood. The relationships lacked an honest exchange of emotion.
A series of recent studies have concluded that our belief that women are more emotional than men is absolutely backwards. One study, conducted by MindLab, took equal groups of men and women sat them down, and had them watch a series of emotional videos while being monitored via skin temperature, heart rate, even sweat. It was found that men, overall, had stronger emotional responses to the video content than the female participants. Specifically, to content categorized as ‘heartwarming’.
Another study from Mensline, a male helpline based in Australia, points to men hiding their emotions because it’s what they see growing up. For example, if a man grows up with an unemotional father, this will unconsciously become the template on which he builds his life. Research behind the subject of men’s tears can be found through sources such as NPR ,who has found that the most cried-over actor for men is Tom Hanks. All of the evidence suggests that men very much have feelings, they have just been conditioned away from expressing them.
Of course it didn’t shock me, the mother of two boys, to find out that men had feelings. However, it did get me thinking about how we respond to men in terms of their emotions and vulnerability.
We have been brought up in a society that suppresses male emotionality and encourages feminine sensitivity, creating an obvious imbalance. Women are seen as the more nurturing and emotional of the two genders while men are expected to be the warriors, invulnerable to, well, everything. With the exception of anger, men are taught to suppress every other emotion and as a result, hide their true selves. The truth is we all have equal emotional lives so how can we equalize our relationships?
Kabbalistically, there is no distinction between the supernal male and female. In that each one has the ability to create Light and each has the same opportunity to reach their true potential. To clarify further, men have all the same emotional responses that women have. For those of you that raise boys, you inherently know this. But for the rest of us who are absent of an openly emotional male in our life, it can be incredibly easy to adopt the belief that when it comes to emotional sensitivity, men are simply impervious. Not only is this belief untrue, it is also extremely detrimental because it systematically removes power from both parties of the relationship. Because they are each behaving in a way that is “expected”, they deny their true selves and ultimately, their own inherent Light.
Have you found yourself judging the men in your life for their honest emotional responses? Conversely, how do you treat the men in your life differently from the women in your life? Often times, women are much more conscious of being sensitive with their female friends than they are with any male. They tend to blurt out their unfiltered opinions, thinking that they’ll be more heard, when really they’re only being insensitive.
In order for true connection to be created in relationships, vulnerability must be cultivated – and welcomed – and it begins with empathy. How can we be empathetic towards someone if we believe they are unemotional? As women, by creating a space where our male partner’s emotions can be heard in a safe and secure way, we are strengthening and deepening that connection. This is the foundation of real love and it rings true for those of us raising sons as well. By creating an environment that is safe for their emotions to be felt and expressed, we help them to feel secure and strong while also encouraging their true potential.
Thought to Action
For men and women both, can you think of a male relationship in your life where you feel you hold this belief? Awareness is the first step to a more positive belief system.
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