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What is "being a man?"
One who doesn’t cry and always present himself tough and over emotions. But what is wrong in crying if one is a man?
In my childhood I used to play in a park near by my house. As a common kid’s habit, all the girls used to play "Ghar-Ghar"/"Doctor-Doctor" and boys "Cricket". One day I noticed, one of my neighborhood boys missed a catch even after running till the end of the park boundary and diving with all his strength. His eyes started to water as he got a wound in one of his knees.
"Don’t rub it "said the boy’s elder brother. But suddenly someone shouted, "Take it like a man! Rub some dirt on it and you will be fine." The message was clear “Don’t show your pain at any cost because you are a man."
Dirt is, of course, the life-line of many things around us; it is certainly not a first-aid option to cure physical and emotional pains."Be strong","Behave like a man", "Be tough". Behind all these quoted lines, people are keep on hiding many of the aspects of our live; emotions, shame and openness. With commanding to use dirt for rubbing over wound, those people were actually teaching the boy how to mask his emotions which were absolutely natural.
I have heard many times from my husband that Men can’t cry that’s why they show anger. The more they are hurt, the more they show their emotions in the form of anger. That is the reason we often hear ladies complaining that man in their life are not open about what bothers him. Men don’t freely show their emotional side and love in front of even wives. And once their internal pressure reaches to its boiling point, in comes out in the form of rage and anger. Since it’s been bottled up for so long, the emotions often come out conflicting or are discounted because of the anger. The reality is, it’s all because of lack of emotion in a relationship. Our society has a general thought that men simply don’t have feelings. I don’t know how it started but this is complete fiction. Men have them; but they fail in expressing them.
And you know why? Is this need to keep emotions inside embedded in their male DNA?
It is learned and they are forced to learn it since their early age. They are taught that they need to be strong, confident, and indifferent because emotion shows weakness. And mediums are various, sports, movies, the media, and the family influences in their lives. Showing boys that they aren’t allowed to state fear, pain, and weakness, is in fact starting their detachment in personal relationships and making them emotionally poor.
As a mother, I want my son to ignore social expectation from him or what his father leaned, being a boy, from his family in expressing emotions.
I don’t want him to appear strong all the time. I want him to understand the value of accepting failure and embarrassment. I am not saying every boy should crumble on the field and cry like a fussy toddler. I am not even saying rubbing some dirt on the wound to stop bleeding and getting back to play is a bad thing. It shows determination and strong will power. However, I want my boy to at times accept that dropping a catch is absolutely okay. Its fine if he is sad and his friends notice his teary eyes. And he should learn to face bullies who will try to stop him in expressing his inner side. I also feel Men can change the next generation boys who are heading towards becoming emotionless robots. Fathers can play role in teaching boys importance of their emotional side. They can open up a world of higher emotional intelligence for the boys that will pave the way for personal empowerment and more strong relationships for generations to come.
So, what is actually "being a man?"
It’s being courageous to admit one’s faults. It’s not having fear of looking fool to show love. It’s about not being afraid even it means showing shame or weakness. Once fathers begin to show their sons that all these so-called female emotions are acceptable, and teach them how to grow with them, whole world will evolve as a society and move toward achieving a new level of sensibility. Where men will be men but they would have a heart full of emotions without suppressing them inside. Only then it will be okay to just rub some dirt on it!