By Susan Knight | SGP featured columnist
I really appreciate your comment Brian, as I find it fascinating to look at this through the lens of how it applies to men, partly because much of my anecdotal experience veers to a particular extreme. I’ve personally known men who excelled at sharing openly, being emotional and vulnerable, sensitive and supportive, all that good stuff. BUT there was a trade-off: they struggled with traditional expectations like being stoic under pressure, being the protector and the provider— and this had consequences. I’m very much reminded of how A Broken Soul addressing the changing and conflicting expectations around masculinity.
I suspect this plays out differently across different communities and socioeconomic groups, although I don’t know to what extent. For instance, there would be a difference between men seeking senior corporate roles with all the associated norms and image requirements vs. men operating in a completely different social arena. (I’ve always thought this would be a fascinating area of research!)
Ironically (given what I said above), I've seen the other extreme with men where I'm 100% certain the pressure of keeping everything inside over time, with no healthy outlet or resolution, eventually took a toll not just on their mental health, but on their physical health as well.
Men, to our detriment, do not do this type of deep and personal sharing readily. Many men do not even do this with their partners. One cannot help but wonder what the world would be like if we had more men who were connected with someone in this way. The possibilities are enticing. But sadly, given the way our society works presently that is highly improbable.
Nevertheless the more we see, hear and read about the importance of connectedness and how having someone who one trusts and can easily share one’s vulnerability with - the closer we might get to that place of understanding.
Thank you for sharing!