Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Emotions as Strength

This morning I woke up to a video one of my friends shared on Facebook. The first few seconds of the video show different photos of men with tears running down their face. The narrator, Nev Schulman of the show Catfish, explains how harmful it is for men to be taught to internalize and hide their emotions. This leads to issues of anxiety of depression among men, especially since they rarely open up to anyone about how they are feeling.

I found this to be interesting, given the current challenge of mental health in the United States. The video said that men commit 79% of suicides. This statistic shocked me. I feel like we aren't necessarily doing enough to help men see the value of opening up and showing their diverse emotions. By connecting manhood with rigid emotional strength, we do men a serious disservice. I think our best solution is to validate and encourage our male friends.

This will take some social un-learning on the part of many men. The idea that men can be vulnerable and open reverses everything they have known for their entire lifetime. For them to be able to do that, they must feel safe and unthreatened. So I think it's on us to create these spaces for men to be able to explore their vulnerability and start unlearning these unhealthy concepts of masculinity.

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