One of my most passionate projects is parenting my son, Pierce. As a busy single working mum, trained in behavior, I’m hyper aware of the negative, potentially life changing, impact that other people’s unsolicited, often well intended, truths and stories, can have on the emotional wellbeing of a human.
What I know is adults do not generally have relationship and work challenges. The real challenge? Unresolved childhood issues. At a point during your childhood, you’ll have listened to someone else’s unsolicited truth and story and likely because they were in a position of authority e.g. parent, teacher, media, you decided to believe it as your truth and to assume it as your own. This acquired story and set of beliefs then acts as a filter through which your thoughts and choices are processed via and unless challenged they become our neurological rules right through into our adult lives. Boom.
‘..Man up..’ ‘..Boys don’t cry..’ ‘..Real men..’ Are among a few of my favourite learned stories and ‘truths’ I’ve heard people verbally vomit over each other’s souls with. None of us are perfect and I too slip into moments of unconscious learned limiting ways of being. But know, the emotional damage, for a child to be branded with these words, may affect their future relationships and self-esteem as an adult. I see it in my coaching practice daily. An increase in the number of powerfully vulnerable men who have had enough. Tired of playing a role, society has historically deemed as ‘normal’ that no longer fits with the flow and freedom of modern life.
- Being told that ‘real men’ open doors, pay for dinner and hold your skis. Truth alert. Ditch your expectations and mutually agree rules unless you’re being paid for by the hour.
- Being told that men are rubbish at communicating. Truth alert. All humans are unique and communicate differently. Accept and love each other’s differences. Use patience and compassion to resolve and appreciate differences. Regardless of gender.
- Being told it’s not OK for a man to get angry or to cry. Truth alert. Anger is merely an expression of unmet needs. A visceral reaction to a physical feeling in the body of being misunderstood or unclear about what to do or say next. I salute angry people who are taking responsibility for their feelings and seeking to understand themselves. To cry is to be emotionally connected and powerful. It’s a physical cleansing of our being. Bottled up emotions may result in physical violence, self-loathing and ultimately low self-esteem and depression.
If someone has an opinion about you, know that it’s based on their limited perspective and understanding of themselves. Most people don’t understand themselves. My general rule of thumb: take other people’s opinions with a pinch of salt. Then proceed to chuck it over your shoulder far far away.