Are men really from Mars when it comes to sharing their feelings?
The John Gary book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus delves into various comparisons between stereotypical man and woman. These comparisons can be genuine for so many and for others they are miles off. These differences are because we are all really different from within the same gender and across the genders. With the growing recognition of the increasing number of genders (Facebook now has 71 different genders), this book may need re-write to match 2018 views and opinions.
Growing views are now recognising that modern man is entirely different to that of those from 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s - the book was first published in 1992, 26 years ago. The internet itself was very much in its infancy with the public eye - knowledge was being shared in more traditional methods face to face and through textbooks. Now in 2018, the internet is widely accepted as a source of education through the likes of YouTube and social media access making it easier to share views, opinions and values.
So why do men find it difficult at sharing their feelings?
John Gray wrote that men go to their caves and women talk - is this still true today? What do you think?
Do men have space where they feel safe to share their feelings openly? What could be the reasons for this?
There are many social media, blogs and articles by many different people including individuals, journalists, academics and medical professionals - my personal beliefs can be split into 3 main areas, Stereotype/Image, Nurture and Security. There are a few crossover elements that could fit into more than one space and are easily recognisable in males.
Men feel more and more judged by others to their level of success or masculinity - this judgement is it real or just perceived by us? No matter if it is real or just perceived, for as long as we think this will continue to believe whether it is real or not.
So these perceptions are what we make of all the information being supplied to us from all the sources out there - other men (all generations), media, press, history and how we interacted with the world (Nurture).
These stereotypes have left men thinking that they need to portray confidence, success at all costs, strength, protection, power, friend, to be liked, to fit the norm and to fit into stereotypical roles. Depending upon the industry that you may be within can also impact your personal image or stereotype - chefs, emergency services, mechanics, security, military, car sales, bankers, builders and the list goes on. Each of these industries perceives an expect a personality or persona mean men end up playing up to them to ‘fit in’.
These can mean those in that are in these industries and broader a field end up clamming up on not sharing what is going on inside, which builds up and builds up to when individuals can no longer cope.
Our brain only knows what it knows. Are we a some of our parts from the past?
We all go through a variety of experiences in our lives, and these are not always positive. When we experience negative feedback or skills, we can hold onto them for a very long time. Those that experiences problematic and negative childhoods build up their own personal coping strategies - over time this becomes their norm. Keeping things locked up internally, putting on masks, convincing others there is not a problem.
This is can then cross over to a stereotype image and security no opening up and not knowing who they can trust.
As we learn from our parents and others what it is to be a parent or a man it can be skewed by what we see. If you experience bad relationships, poor communication and negative lives we can take up these traits as what we have learnt. There is also those who do the complete opposite of what they have experienced as they don’t what to pass on the same experiences.
The more experiences we have, the more our brain will know, meaning we have more resources to call upon in dealing with our feelings. With a growing interest in spiritual, mindfulness, yoga and being personally aware individuals are releasing what is inside building up.
Even with this development, there is a stereotype/image of those that do are kooky, wired and outright hippies by those who haven’t personally experienced it. I now advocate what works for you works for you - who am I to judge what and where you get your peace and understanding from. I may not be able to say something works personally or doesn’t because it is for the individual to try. However, if the individual doesn’t know what is out there then how they can try it?
Men, just like women want to feel secure and safe. This can be a survival mechanism and one if we don’t open the box nothing can get out and hurt me. Why change our environment, it is better the devil I know than possibly experience something new and different. Fear.
The survival mechanism of fight or flight can kick in saying things like - “you are the only one experience this”, “you must be weak”, “man up” or “men don’t cry”. Because of these preconceived thoughts and negative voices going over and over in the head is it any surprise men think it is best not to share their feelings in case they are made to feel weak.
These feelings can then build up and manifest in the expression of anger internally and externally with those around them getting in the verbal and physical firing line - so to try and protect themselves and others they lock it away. This can only last for so long.
Ultimately we don’t feel that we can trust people with our feelings - exposing our vulnerability.
I personally have found that once I have opened up and shared my personal story, I am becoming more and more empowered. I have taken strength from sharing my story - it is mine; however, others have similar experiences and journeys. Knowing you are not alone shows that power can come in numbers, which can encourage and inspire others to start sharing their own journies and taking ownership.
This is one of the primary drives for Rotundus existing give men space where they can share publicly, anonymously, with others or just 1-2-1, it doesn’t really matter as long as we are starting to share.