Some men have a very difficult time confronting and processing emotions. They seem to be able to compartmentalize emotions so as to not carry things with them. It is a nice skill really, they are able to break things down and problem solve.
Of course, not all men have difficulty with emotions. There are exceptions. There are men that do handle emotions well and can empathize with their other halves. From an evolutionary psychology standpoint, cavemen were tasked to be the hunters because of their relative stature and built compared to cavewomen. They needed to hunt for their families in order to keep them alive. It became a survival tactic to not let empathy get in the way. If they saw a baby bear they had to kill it for food, otherwise, they risked themselves and their tribes going hungry or starving to death. Empathy equates to death in this context.
Physical & Strategic
Over time, men have evolved to be more physical and strategic rather than emotional and empathetic. Not all men, but many. It is part of who they are. It explains why often times men try to be the “fixers.” You come to them with a problem and they want to try to correct it, rather than just “trying to understand.” It is a common argument from couples— “I can’t read your mind,” “I just want you to tell me that ‘it sucks’ and not try to fix it.” It also explains why many men turn their emotions into a physical response — such as cleaning the garage, fixing a car, exercise, etc.
Most men might ask, “If the problem is solved, then what’s the issue?”
Solving problems is great! The world needs problem solvers. However, problem-solving is different from bonding and connecting. That is why some relationships on the surface appear to be problem-free, but there is no emotional connection. It is not that men don’t feel the same as women; they may experience the same emotions (ie. fear, sadness, anger), it is just that they have different ways of processing these emotions.
So dear men, we need you to step into your emotions and connect with us so we can bond and have better relationships.
I miss my father more than ever. He died when I was just 10 years old.
He died around the holiday season making this time of the year difficult for my family and me.
After he passed, I took his cigar box from my mom and I have had it ever since. Its always had a spot in my home. It’s a piece of him that I hold dear. Whenever I want to connect with him, I find myself talking to the box. I put special things in the box, written wishes, and goals for the next year. It’s like talking to him.
Most times when I am talking to the box, I am also crying. I cry because I miss him. I am grieving him because I loved him. It has been difficult but I recognize that those tears come from my sadness that he is no longer with us.
Grief is a testament to love. Love is such a beautiful, complex yet simple, thing. I hate that I feel sad and miss my dad but I am so very glad I got to love him. I would not have it any other way. I would much rather have a love that turns into grief than to never have loved at all.
Other people, I have talked to have similar, yet different, ways of connecting with their loved ones who are no longer around. For some it is continuing on with a tradition, wearing a special outfit, looking at the stars, reading a card, attending a religious ceremony, wearing a piece of jewelry — whatever it is, however you choose to connect is personal and unique to your situation.
How do you choose to connect with your loved ones when they are no longer around?
We live in a world of interaction—talking to friends, family, coworkers, children. Sometimes we lean on each other, we ask for help or opinions on different things. When we are unsure of ourselves asking for the opinion of others can be a helpful tool in determining what the best course of action is, but first—you have to have a connection of sorts.
You might be asking, what I could possibly mean by this? Think about it this way—it’s like talking on a cell phone with a person who has lost cell connection, they don’t hear you and nothing is going through because there is no connection. Connections can happen in many ways. It could be a common interest, similar life events that cause you to relate, it could be that you admire this person for some reason or another, or that he/she/they have reached out to you in a way that makes you feel ‘at home’ with them. You can have connections with people you have never met through the internet, like bloggers or writers who you feel an affinity for.
Without that connection, however it comes to be, your words will not carry the same amount of weight. You cannot correct someone before you connect. If you are at work maybe it is proving to your boss that you are a valuable employee, connecting with them by showing your passion for the job. That might open the door for he/she/they to better respect your ideas and opinions. People listen to others when they have a mutual respect for them. It is all about the connection.
If you are a teacher trying to correct a child in school, you must first find similarities to create a connection. For example, a child who needs help from a reading specialist and the reading specialist brings up her love of hockey, knowing the child is also a fan—now they have a connection. Now, the child is more likely to absorb the information and make the correction. It is a valuable tool for anyone in business, in life, in family, in success. Take an interest in the people around you, show them you care, and make the connection.
How do you connect with those around you?