Person To Person: Males Need To Know We Value Their Feelings

By Judi Light Hopson, Emma H. Hopson and Ted Hagen
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As the “person to person” team of mental health experts point out, “Out-of-control emotions will rule your life. Healthy, balanced emotions will guide your actions and outcomes harmoniously.
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Tribune News Service

Have you noticed that we live in a world where people constantly slam other people verbally? Compassion is shrinking on all fronts.

We all keep wondering why individuals don’t have respect for others.

The solution to calming tension in the world is simple: We each need to honor everyone’s feelings. Psychologists say that our society needs to especially honor the feelings of young boys.

This starts by teaching all children to value their feelings. Stuffing down feelings or ignoring them too much causes feelings to go askew.

“We don’t teach young boys that we value their feelings,” says an attorney we’ll call John. “I prosecute males for violent crimes, and I promise you, much of their anger and hate goes back to childhood feelings. They had to swallow too much pain.”

John says young boys do have compassion for each other and great sensitivity. “But,” says John, “family members often start eroding this special gift by the time a male child is five or six. They are called sissies if they want to talk about their hurts.”

He goes on to say that young boys are not only shamed for complaining or crying, but it’s normal to punish a boy for feeling his own feelings. Then, we wonder why he doesn’t grow up being sensitive and caring toward others.

We all need to understand these truths about our feelings:

-They guide us in ways that logic does not. How many times have you had a gut feeling about something that you ignored? You might have suffered the consequences by pushing those feelings aside.

-Understanding our own feelings helps us read others’ feelings. None of us can pick up a lot of unspoken feelings of those around us, if we constantly swallow our own pain.

-A mentally healthy person has a full range of emotions. Feeling everything from irritation to sadness, anger, disgust, excitement, and sheer joy is normal. People who become emotionally sick may think that feeling anger is a weakness or showing joy will upset someone.

Adult females are constantly reporting they want to find a sensitive, caring partner. Of course, they want someone who is strong and competent and a man who can help them navigate life.

One woman we know says her brothers all fit this description. We’ll call her Alicia.

“My brothers were allowed to cry when they fell off their bikes,” says Alicia. “My dad kissed their hurts and did not shame them for wailing and carrying on, regardless of what anyone said. All my brothers are now successful businessmen and fathers with good marriages.”

She goes on to say, “I’ve got male cousins who weren’t allowed to cry. These guys now drink and do drugs, and I’m not kidding. Their dad made them toughen up early.”

Grown men often find themselves divorced for the third time or fired from their tenth job, and they wonder why. One reason might be this: They can’t make good decisions or act as a decent team worker because they don’t use both emotions and logic.

While we all need to manage our emotions, so they don’t get us into trouble, we do need to recognize them and factor them into the equations of life. Think of them as your GPS mechanism, which guides you to where you need to go.

Remember that out-of-control emotions will rule your life. Healthy, balanced emotions will guide your actions and outcomes harmoniously.
(Judi Light Hopson is the Executive Director of the stress management website USA Wellness Cafe, Emma Hopson is an author and a nurse educator. Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.)

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