Like most men, I tend to get uncomfortable when someone begins to cry. Be it one of my daughters, a close friend, or even watching someone cry in a movie or on television. Why is it that that for most men?
For me, it had a lot to do with how I was raised, whom my heroes and mentors were growing up. As early as age seven I learned that the men I admired didn’t cry. After all James Bond, Dirty Harry or the Duke didn’t cry and neither did any “real men,” like my father.
Nor did my sport role models, like Joe Montana, Mean Joe Greene, and Mike Singletary. These legendary gridiron heroes of my generation were as tough as nails. Every Sunday as I cheered each punishing tackle these men inflicted upon their opponents. All the while it shaped my view of how a real man is supposed to act and feel. Tough, powerful, in control never showing weakness to anyone, no matter how much it hurts.
However, life does hurt, sometimes deeply. Yet as little boys, we are taught early on not to shed tears. We frequently heard phrases like, “Get up, you’re not hurt brush it off,” or “Big boys don’t cry” and one of the most influential childhood quotes; “Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about.”
As a result, we grow up embracing the mantra; “NEVER let them see you cry!” Thus we don’t. As a matter of fact, as young men especially during our teen years, we often take pride not crying.
We’ve adopted the view that tears are feminine, a sign of weakness, therefore, they become very uncomfortable to us. Furthermore, the mentoring men in our lives tended to only express tears at funerals or on rare special occasions like at a daughter’s wedding. Therefore, tears were relegating to infrequent and often confusing emotional expression.
Year after year we have stuffed our true feelings into the deep self-made dungeons until only a national crisis will breach its guarded gate.
Unfortunately what we didn’t realize was that “unshed tears become a stagnant pool that pollutes our soul.” As a result, now see that stuffing our emotions have had a detrimental effect on the relationships, especially with our wives and children.
Moreover, it keeps us from being honest with our self and others. We often mask our hurt and potential tears with anger because anger helps us keep a lid on our emotions, maintain “manly” control and helping us to stifle any tear.
However, it doesn’t have to and shouldn’t be that way. Not that we need to become a bunch of blubbering basket cases. But we do need to be courageous enough to express our true feelings to our family and those closest to us.
Tears represent the heart and the essence of what makes us human. To put a lock and key on our emotions is to bury a crucial part of who we are
When we don’t allow ourselves to dig deep into our emotions it robs our relationships of true intimacy and growth born out of shared feelings.
The tears shed by our wives and children represent a crucial part of who they are. Their tears represent a heart that is truly transparent. Tears express happiness, frustration, hurt, connection, learning, attachment, broken hearts, joy, and emotional overload.
The language of tears is often saying; “I need you to stop, spend some time with me,” “Share this moment with me,” or “Don’t feel like you have to fix anything, just hold me while my heart heals!”
That is the truth that our tears tell; they represent our deepest thoughts and feelings of the heart. That’s the truth I challenge all men young and old to embrace.
Our wives and children want us to share our deepest thoughts and feelings of our heart. Not just on special occasions and not necessarily every day, but consistently, honestly and openly in the sanctuary of our homes. Allow this honest expression of emotion to draw closer to you, stop burying an important part of who you are.
Learning a new language is challenging but well worth the work. Learning the language of tears can bring you closer to your family, your spouse, and your children. Moreover, it can help you be more honest with yourself. Every challenge has its risk, but with great risk also comes great reward. Are you courageous enough to embrace this challenge, I hope so and so does your family
I hope today’s blog has encouraged you. Make sure you sign up to receive blogs posted every Tuesday and Thursday. TransformingFamilies.org resources are designed to guide you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the man God created you to be.
I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you want to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.