In me, are all of the other men who have come before me. All those who have sacrificed their lives in the name of safety, of protection, of providing, of Love.
Looking back through recent history, men have been sent to work on the railroad, the coal mines, building high-rises and other dangerous jobs, putting their lives at risk in order to build a safe society for those they loved. They’ve been sacrificed through war, literally canon fodder, without much of a second thought. They’ve devoted their lives to work so that they could provide for their families, often without recognition of the sacrifice they were actually making. They were told “women and children first” in the face of disaster, as if their lives weren’t as valuable or meaningful. Whether we realize it consciously or not, this is all deeply ingrained in the male psyche, teaching us our value and what it means to be a “man”, all passed along through generations.
Our value is dependent on what we can provide, what we can give, what we can offer to the world and what we can sacrifice. Our value isn’t inherent, it needs to be earned. Who we are, meaning our internal world of what we’re feeling, isn’t enough or as important. This could then help explain the idea of men’s fragile egos of today: the need to build an “identity” in order to feel important, to always have to be “right”, to acquire wealth and status and power because deep down in our bones and DNA we know that it’s just a front for how we really feel. It’s a lie in order to protect our fragile, hurting Hearts. We’ve learned to escape solely into the world of the mind, the intellect, while neglecting, suppressing and avoiding what we feel in our bodies. By doing this, we could safely observe and understand Life without ever having to truly Feel and Experience it. Without having to be emotionally vulnerable and show who we really are.
But the armour we’ve learned to wear doesn’t come off easily. Our muscles flexed so tight that nothing can penetrate them. Our hearts have become gun-shy to exposing themselves, because they’ve been forced to remain closed for too long. It’s become second nature. We often don’t even realize that we’re wearing this armour, or know how to actually take it off. Having to survive in a world so full of ugliness and greed and pain and sacrifice didn’t really leave us much choice. And our fathers, and grandfathers and great grandfathers passed this along as an inheritance to us, hoping that one day we’d be able to break free from it. To set down the self-protection and feel what it’s like to fully open our hearts to the world, to not have to “man up” or “keep it together” or “be strong” all of the time. We have emotions just like everyone else, but unfortunately we’ve been taught that they aren’t as important. Why do you think the male suicide rate is higher? Or that there is so much male anger and violence? We feel alone in our pain, often with nowhere to turn. Holding all of these feelings in without an outlet, or having someone to help hold these emotions for us, gets heavy. Having to support others while silently fighting our own internal battles is exhausting. There is a feeling of isolation that can come along with our emotions, having to adhere to the program that tells us emotional vulnerability equals weakness. This has been incredibly damaging and prevents our ability to truly open and experience connection on a more vulnerable level, the way that we’re expected to in close relationships, especially for us that are already more sensitive. We’ve become emotionally immature and suppressed because we haven’t been taught that it’s okay for us to feel them. Our emotions haven’t been held, or respected or valued properly in order for us to feel safe in expressing them. It’s always been about what we’re able to give or provide, rather than who we actually are.
As much as we need an outer revolution to shift our society, I believe we more deeply need an inner evolution as well. We need an emotional upheaval, a return to sensitivity. The more we suppress what we’re feeling or resist allowing ourselves to feel and release the weight of the world that we’ve been carrying for so long, the more damage it will cause. The state of our bodies and the Earth is already an indicator of this damage. It’s time we start to learn how to release these burdens, to not be afraid to express how we feel, to create safe spaces for each other in order to work through some of these deeply seeded traumas. We’re all hurting, but the more we learn to process our own emotion, to open our Hearts and relax our tight muscles, the more we’ll be able to help others do the same. It’s painfully clear that the world we’ve created isn’t working anymore. A society devoid of authentic connection and feeling is cold and heartless. What we need now is a return to the path of the Heart, to gently open ourselves back up to Life, to release old patterns and beliefs that are preventing us from showing up in the world more genuinely, lovingly, and compassionately. But do to this, we first have to admit that we’re hurting. Then the healing process can finally begin.