What is it with men and our emotions? Why is it so hard for men to express themselves emotionally? The bottom line is men don't discuss emotions, and if we do, then we would have to kill you. Showing any emotion other than anger goes against everything we have learned a "real man" should display. Violating these unwritten rules would cause your "man card" to be revoked.
Man up, act like a man, and boys don't cry has been echoed in millions of households throughout history, creating a generation of men who are emotionally bankrupt and unaware of how to manage their emotions appropriately. So what do we do as men concerning our emotions; how do we deal with them? We don't. We are taught never to show emotion because emotions show that you are weak, so we do what we have seen the men in our lives do; we suppress our emotions and insecurities.
This type of repeated cycle of "toxic masculinity" has fostered men's behaviors that have become detrimental to society and created a generation of men that see masculinity through a distorted lens. Toxic masculinity has been linked to overly aggressive and violent behavior primarily due to teaching boys that you have to continually be hard and tough. Anything outside of that is considered weak or feminine.
Toxic masculinity is defined as “a cultural concept of manliness that glorifies stoicism, strength, virility, and dominance, and that creates maladaptive behaviors." Toxic masculinity exalts destructive behaviors and creates attitudes within men where egos are easily bruised, and destructive behaviors are demonstrated to protect and enhance those egos. It's during these times where you see men begin to dive into the behaviors where they can "prove" their manhood. Sexual immorality, living beyond their financial means, purchasing fast cars and big houses are just some of the obnoxious behaviors that toxic masculinity causes me to be drawn into. Risk taking becomes a norm when dealing with toxic masculinity, which eventually increases over time.
What is it about emotions that put fear in the biggest, strongest man? Vulnerability, which is a problem for a considerable portion of men. Being vulnerable means that you are opening yourself up to whatever comes your way, and since this word has such a negative meaning and it's associated with being weak, then we as men don't want to have any part of it.
Many men fail to realize that this is the position that God would have us in if we are ever to reach the level of manhood that he has created us to be. In Psalms 139:23-24, David wrote -”Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” David was committed to emptying himself and becoming completely vulnerable to God so that he could be formed into what later God would call him “a man after his own heart.” David learned that it was in his position of surrender and weakness he obtained favor from God.
Join me next time as we continue our discussion on toxic masculinity.