The men I know inspire me.
I love their way of just getting sh*t done, their easy view on many complicated things (for us women), their coolness and their masculinity.
I love them for being gentlemen. I love them for being strong. I love them for being powerful. I love them for being calm and I love them for teaching me so many things. Clearly, I’ve been lucky to know some great men.
Society places high expectations on men. We say, be a real man.
And yet, in my interactions with men, I’ve learnt they actually really want to talk about their feelings, they want to relax and not to worry about being man enough for a second. Many of them have surprised me with their honesty and vulnerability, as well as their views on the world. Especially when it comes to cool businessmen types, who maintain this men of steel persona.
If a man is fit and strong, lives a successful life, is active and has lots of attention from pretty women, then it might seem that he has it all. Many people wouldn’t notice it, but I’ve learnt that those men are sad too and they suffer sometimes too.
Here are three little secrets I’ve found out about men and their feelings:
Secret #1—Men are afraid of not being seen as Superman.
Qualities like strength, fearlessness and power are considered manly.
Men have to come first, save the world, be warriors. They have to build a successful career, become amazing husbands and fathers.
They are under pressure to be strong and to be successful, to stay calm and to function at one hundred percent. But of course, men have fears too—of not being able to reach the peak in whatever they are doing, be it literal mountain-climbing or corporate-ladder climbing; of disappointing their loved ones and especially themselves. They are scared not to be the supermen they b that they have to be. Men have fears as much as we do. They are just often scared to admit it and to seem weak.
I think its adorable, if they show feelings and just want to be hugged sometimes. It’s okay guys.
Secret #2—Men feel that they have to perform.
To be seen as masculine, as real men, they often perform. Just as we women play up our femininity sometimes because we feel it is expected, or gets us somewhere, or it’s become a habit.
This isn’t a problem in itself, but the outcome is, that they (and we) aren’t being their authentic selves. In my experience, many men are scared of their soft-heartedness and good intentions. But really, it takes courage and strength to live from this place, so for me, good-hearted men who show their true kindness are definitely real men.
Secret #3—Men are looking for a soulmate.
Almost every cool, self-aware man I know is dreaming of relationship Nirvana—in friendship and romance. They are aware that a relationship is work. They are aware that nobody, including them, is perfect. And all they want is a friend or a partner, who won’t judge them for being weak, being vulnerable, talking about their fears, crying, being mad, feeling conflicted, being bitchy, feeling unworthy or just feeling low-energy.
All they want is a soulmate, who will listen and understand, who will be open-minded when they share their deepest ideas, fantasies and dreams.
Sounds familiar to me—because I’m pretty sure women want exactly the same thing.
So, what is happening here? We all want same things, but we are playing inauthentic roles.
I believe that if we could having so many gender-based expectations of each other, we could find in each other a completely new, unexpected and infinite beauty.
We could find in each other the love and support we are looking for.
We could find in each other true souls to love.
We could find in each other uniqueness and truth.
We could see in each other how good we are—how helpful, loving and caring we can be.
Manliness includes being vulnerable, honest, sensitive, speaking about your feelings and opening your big heart.
It’s the most manly thing there is—to be just as you are. As you truly are.
Author: Olga Chirkova
Apprentice Editor: Jaimee Guenther; Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Images: AMISOM Public Information/Flickr