For the love of all that is good please stop expecting men to be angry. Media is plagued with the image of men who are only allowed to display this singular emotion. The very second men express something like sadness or tenderness they are instantly losing those oh so coveted masculine brownie points. Think of James Bond for example, how often do you seen him display emotions? This might seem direct and a bit narrow minded in thought, but this is a prevailing unspoken law. I have personally been around countless men who are held down by this silent litigation. They seem to react in one of two ways: a display of untamed anger or a flat-line of all their emotions. I want to focus on the former. I want to hone in on the fact that one of the few emotions men are granted to show is anger. Why is this okay? Why is anger acceptable but sadness not? Please do not misinterpret me. There is nothing wrong with anger, but if it is the only emotion allowed there is something dysfunctional brewing. Imagine telling a kid to go to school and graduate from years of education into a well, wholly-educated, scholar when he has only been equipped with the fundamentals of english literature. There are numerous other topics(emotions), that are valuable and necessary to cope with life on a daily basis. Men need emotions. Just like cars need gas, oil, and transmission fluid. If you were to try and drive a car with just gasoline and not the myriad of other fluids that it needs to properly function, you would fail. That is how I perceive men living life today. Men are trying to drive their cars(lives), with just gasoline. Not because they think it will work, but because that is all they have ever been taught. There are basic emotions every man should have on his tool belt: happiness, sadness, tenderness, anger, fear, excitement, just to list a few. I believe it is time for the world of men's emotions to be accepted. If a man cannot feel these basic feelings or, even worse, be allowed to, he truly cannot function at his fullest.
Speaking honestly, anger is an ever present emotion in my own life. I did a therapeutic exercise a few years back that created a paradigm shift in how I viewed and responded to it. I could not believe the shame I had previously attached to this emotion. When I envisioned anger all I could see was a man who lost control of his temper, destroying everything and everyone around him. This was something I had been running away from for years. I avoided the social pressure to conform to this one emotion. I despised it. I refused to be associated with it. As this active therapy unfolded there was a surprising part of this experience, it was this unknown power I felt. It was not just anger alone, but something unbelievably deeper. Fear. Tenderness. Sadness. I was face to face with the reality that there was something more for me. How had I never known this was so embedded within my being? I decided to welcome anger to be felt in my life not because I wanted to feel powerful or masculine, but I wanted to know my heart had a pulse. I wanted to make a place for emotions in my life again. Through this I found that anger sometimes can be the gateway into the deeper realms of my heart. Now I know that when I feel angry, there are other things going on beyond just being a masculine individual exuding my testosterone. No there is so much more. I am a boy who is tender and scared wondering what the hell I am doing with my life and where I am headed all the while hungering to express that which is bubbling up within me.
To shackle modern day masculinity to the sole expression of anger is like telling a child not to grow up. It is literally demanding of men something that is unnatural. Man is meant to be a multifaceted, expressive machine. I desire for men to develop beyond anger, to experience other sides of their masculinity. I dream of a day where men are beings who would not be associated with weakness just because they are in touch with their inner self. To be vulnerable is human. To be constrained to anger is death. If you are a man (or human) reading this blog I want to exhort you to take on the adventurous journey of letting what’s inside to be free. It most likely will be messy and awkward at first, but I implore you to not give up. If you persevere, what’s waiting for you on the other side of that door is a unique life, full of contrast.
What are your thoughts? Do you think there is more to life than anger for men?
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