Psychologists say that “Emotions live in the background of a man’s life and the foreground of a woman’s”. It is a fact that women are emotional. But many studies proved that men may very well be more emotional than women. The only difference is that men hide it better. Scientifically, it has been proven that men tend to use the left side of their brain, which is where reasoning lies, whereas women tend to use the right side of their brain, which is attributed to emotion.
However, women are capable of shifting between the two sides. Men are experiencing a lot of societal pressures to be strong emotionally and not to show their feelings. Hence emotions such as fear and sadness are unacceptable to man. They were raised at an earlier age in such a way that “don’t cry, you are a boy” and taught that such emotions are a sign of weakness. The output is that they hide their feelings or express their sadness in the form of anger or pride. They act as a “tough guy” all the time.
Sometimes such emotional suppressions result in toxic masculinity which leads to aggression, violence, sexual abuse, etc. It is true that emotionally restricted young boys mature into adult men with more rigid emotions. So don’t tease when a boy cries. Let him experience the emotions. Let us tell him it is ok to feel vulnerable and weak. It may benefit his psychological health and far-reaching benefits for society too.
Suppressing the emotions have both physical as well as psychological consequences. Men who suppress their emotions may be at greater risk for stress-related cardiovascular problems in the long run. Apart from this depression, insomnia, anxiety, drug/alcohol addiction, stress, relationship difficulties, frustration, anger, loneliness, suicidal thoughts are the other negative consequences of hiding emotions. Usually, women have many intimate friends where they share small issues in relationships. This helps women easily move on with their lives because they acknowledge and analyze every feeling they have. They deal with breakups far better than men.
On the other hand, the majority of men won’t share their relationship issues with friends or other relatives. Fear of being judged is the main reason behind this. Due to the patriarchal nature, most men believe that they cannot be victims of abuse, or talking about such an experience is shameful.
Surveys from around the world show that men everywhere find it difficult to open up about mental health. They are significantly more at risk of attempting suicide than women. In India, a total of 1,39,123 suicides were reported in the country during 2019. Among these 97,613 suicides were committed by males. During the Pandemic, the most talked about topic is to prioritize mental health. But still, there is a stigma that exists for seeking therapy, especially for men. They are conditioned from a very early age to be self-sufficient and not depend on other people for support.
Even so, men should realize that if you are struggling with problems, whether in personal or career, don’t handle it alone. It is true that you can’t open up easily. But you should share and get support from someone you feel comfortable with. Never hide or ignore the emotions. If you are not comfortable to open up, start self-therapy like mindfulness, guided meditation sessions, journaling, and self-talk. All these have a powerful effect on lowering stress levels and promoting relaxation.
It is important to understand that emotions have no gender specification, rather it’s a neutral abstract. So it is always preferable to speak out in every case without the fear of being judged as life is always at the top priority for both men and women. On International Men’s Day, everyone has to realize the vitality of emotions that men also possess and have to give equal respect and assistance in combating it.