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Boys don’t cry… but they should

September 07, 2021
Wellbeing, Unfiltered
Photography - Emiliano Vittoriosi
Contributor - Nathan Irvine

Being connected in real life and online has introduced men to a relentless world of social pressures to always be manly. But we need to change the narrative soon. Project bYouty checks in with our men’s contributor, NATHAN IRVINE

Being told to “man up” has always been the alpha male approach to dealing with anything particularly emotional. Fallen over? Man up. Broken up with someone? Man up. Broken your arm in a high-speed bicycle crash? Man. Up. You’re essentially telling someone to bottle up their feelings and keep them to themselves. It’s not good enough – we should be encouraging others to open up.

Let’s make it clear, saying “man up” is being uncomfortable with your own feelings. It’s what powers toxic masculinity in the workplace, amongst friends, and even with family. It’s rotten and it needs to change. Being in touch with your emotions is actually braver than choking back tears and grinning through the pain. And once you do tell others exactly how you’re feeling, you’ll likely find that they too have been keeping something bottled up.

The relief of sharing a problem with someone that genuinely listens and/or offers helpful advice can be the difference between dealing with it or swirling deeper into a lonely pit of despair. We shouldn’t have to wear our stick-on smiles just to suit our social circles. Stress, anxiety, and, of course, depression are the silent killer of a lot of people, especially when it comes to men.

There are changes that we can make on a daily basis. Check in on that person that hasn’t been showing up to get-togethers recently. Listen to what might sound like a trivial story and let it play out as the serious stuff may be buried within. Let your kids cry. As a dad of three young boys, I encourage them to let all of their emotions pour out without them fearing judgment. Yes, toxic masculinity can start early in life, so carefully choose your words when it comes to stressful or emotional situations as it could have a long-lasting effect.

Men should feel comfortable talking about their emotions, not shut off from them. Only then can those that are suffering mentally can get the help that they need. Remember this the next time that you’re tempted to utter the phrase “man up”. You could be pushing somone over the edge.

Project bYouty sends love to anyone who’s going through difficult times or knows someone else who is, we hope some of the below resource may offer at least a little help when you’re ready x
Lighthouse Arabia, www.lighthousearabia.com, (04 380 9298)

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