Have you ever heard of the phrase 'man up'? It is something that many of us have probably been told to do at some point in our lives, yet we now live in a society where we are told to be open about how we really feel and to stop holding our feelings in. We are also now living in a society where we are encouraging men to open up about how they feel.
Let's go back to fifty years ago. It was a time where men were the sole providers of the house and women would wait on them hand and foot. Due to this, it was expected that men did not show any emotion; whereas if a woman showed emotion then that was just seen as something that women do. A man showing any signs of emotion was unheard of, hence the phrase 'man up'. A person showing emotion would be told to 'man up' as men were meant to show no emotion, so the hope of saying this phrase to people was that they would stop showing their emotions and learn to hold them in.
From my own experience, I know how damaging holding your emotions and feelings in can be. At first it can seem okay to do so, but as time goes by you start to feel the effects of keeping these emotions in. It becomes too much of a strain on you and you start to lash out at people whilst still keeping those emotions just to yourself. While this makes you feel better for a short amount of time, in the long term you feel the pressure becoming worse and worse and you lash out again. And again. And again, and again, and again, until you find yourself in a never-ending circle of holding your emotions in and lashing out at people because you do not share your feelings. As a woman who experiences this, I can not even imagine what it must feel like to believe that because you are a man you cannot share your emotions.
Throughout the course of time, men have been told that they need to hide their emotions. Men have been told that women are the emotional ones and that they are the ones who need to have a straight face. It is 2019 and there are still people out there who believe that men do not have mental health problems and think that because they do not show any emotions they do not have any emotions. This is wrong. As men have gone so many years throughout history being told not to show their emotions, it is almost as if they have been conditioned to conform to these 'societal norms' and not show their emotions. We need to break this chain. We need to start encouraging all men everywhere to be more open about how they are really feeling. It is okay for women to show their emotions, so why are men not allowed to do the same?
If you are a man reading this, then I want you to listen to me (or if you are a woman reading this then please feel free to share it with any and all men in your life). It is okay for you to show your emotions. No one will judge you if you do. You may feel uncomfortable doing it, however I can assure you that once you do it, you will feel so much better for it. Do not put on a false smile and pretend that you are okay. If you are struggling with something then tell someone. There are people out there who will listen. You may not know these people in real life, but there will always be someone, somewhere, who is willing and wanting to listen to you. You admitting that you are struggling is not you being a failure. In fact, you are far from it. You are so much stronger for admitting that you are struggling than you could ever believe. Admitting you are struggling is the first step to getting the help that you need and you will feel so much better when you receive this help. There is no shame in getting help. That is why people offer help, because they genuinely want to help you. So do not 'man up'. Instead, get up and ask for help. Tell people about your problems. No one will think any less of you for doing so.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please do not hesitate in getting yourself or them the help that you/they need. If you click on the helplines tab then this will take you to a page that is full of helplines/charities you can get in contact with in the UK and USA for whatever your need is. They are there to be used, so please use them.
Love Beth xx