5 Ways Men Can Deal with Emotional Vulnerability
Emotional control has been a highly-valued trait in Asian cultures—until now. This article looks at ways men can deal with emotional vulnerability. The suggestions may surprise you. Let's first look at what emotional vulnerability means as a male, and why it’s been a taboo subject for so long.
- What Is Male Emotional Vulnerability?
Men and women may show their emotions in different ways—if at all—but they’re still emotions. Asian Parents specially would teach boys that vulnerability in all its forms is a sign of weakness, not strength. We now know that’s not true. Men who can express emotional vulnerability are stronger because of their openness. It doesn’t mean letting one’s guard down in public, though. Vulnerability is personal and best exposed to those you are close to.
- Emotional Suppression Doesn’t Work
The most powerful emotions stem from anger, deep sadness, grief, and intense frustration. Hiding these using the stiff upper lip approach to life might seem noble, but it’s harmful. One study found that bottling up feelings can lead to aggressive, antisocial behaviour. Moreover, it can harm physical and mental wellbeing in the longer term. That’s why emotional vulnerability can be a strength when managed well. Join our community to share your feelings authentically and openly in a safe environment.
- Happier Relationships
Women know when something’s not right with their partner. They may ask what’s wrong only to hear that everything is fine, when it’s clearly not. Thankfully, millennial males are learning how to share more. Why is that good? Well, mutual trust strengthens relationships and improves the quality of life between couples. Being vulnerable and open also removes the relentless pressure associated with masked feelings.
The rest of this guide focuses on the following 5 ways to manage emotional vulnerability:
- Be honest to yourself
- It’s okay to cry
- Own up to your emotional vulnerabilities
- Speak the truth
- Be passionate about dreams and desires
These simple suggestions can help to turn a man’s negative vulnerabilities into a force for good.
#1 Be honest to yourself
The first step must be self-honesty. That’s easier to say than do if denial has controlled your thoughts up until now. Men tend to convince themselves everything is okay even when it’s not. It’s time to be still and reflect on how you suppress feelings. Some men find it easier to write this stuff down as thoughts can’t hide on paper. It can be a hard exercise to start, but emotions should begin to pour out after a while.
#2 It’s okay to cry
Step one above can take you on an emotional journey you weren’t expecting. Try not to hold back, and don’t be afraid to cry if you feel tears welling up. Men who cry are better for it. Indeed, there are many benefits to this natural response to one’s emotions. Emotional tears carry high levels of stress hormones and have a soothing effect. Tears also release endorphins and which help to relieve physical and emotional hurt.
Other, lesser-known benefits of a good cry from time to time include:
- Enhanced mood
- Better sleep quality
- Strong connection with stress relief
- Releases toxins from the body
- Helps to maintain healthy vision
It’s good to cry, and most men feel much better afterwards, whether in the company of a loved one or alone. It may seem like you’re lowering your defences, but you’re actually strengthening them.
#3 Own your emotional vulnerability
Talking heals more rifts and solves more problems than anything else. Have some idea about what you want to say to your partner or someone close to you. The crucial thing here is to find a time and a setting that’s relaxed and appropriate. Let the other person know the areas you struggle with from an emotional perspective. The chances are they’ll already know, but it will be a welcome surprise when it comes directly from you.
The words or the details are not important at this point. And if you have boundaries, stick to them, at least for now. This exercise is a simple confession and a promise to be more open about your thoughts and feelings.
#4 Speak the truth
Men who suffer from emotional denial lie to themselves and others. They have to; there’s no other way to hide true feelings. Some find it a difficult habit to break as lying—in this regard—has become natural. Try to be mindful of this when you speak up about emotional vulnerabilities. It may take a while to be totally honest and open, but it will come with practice. A man is only as sick as the secrets he keeps, and the truth can be a beautiful liberator.
#5 Be passionate about dreams and desires
Emotional prison prevents a man from expressing his actual views, passions, and desires. Those who suppress feelings are less able to communicate with warmth and enthusiasm. It’s what puts a distance between otherwise healthy relationships. You’ll find it much easier to show passion and talk about dreams and desires with a loved one over time. Try not to let the old stinking-thinking stop you, and amazing things will materialise.
Natural passion shows itself as an intense enthusiasm for someone or something. It’s an attractive quality that draws people in because it’s infectious. Apathy, whether real or acted, has the opposite effect. It often takes a little effort to embrace a new way of thinking, but it’s a worthy investment.
- Closing thoughts
Emotional vulnerabilities shared with those who you trust show strength, not weakness. Confession puts an end to the proverbial walking over eggshells in slippers made of lead. To share is to free the mind and release the spirit from within. The secret is to recognise emotions for what they are, identify the origin, and then manage them. Give yourself some slack if you fall short. Strive to build a culture of trust, learn to listen more, and talk less.