Over the years, I have worked with many self-employed men who own service-based businesses. These men are often in blue-collar industries like contracting and commercial vehicle parts. One common trait that I keep seeing over and over again is a struggle “expressing emotions.”
The negative impact this has on these men’s professional and personal lives is evident when you see them struggle with relationships.
Why is this so common in so many men and what is the solution?
I believe that there are many reasons that so many men struggle with expressing emotions.
Let’s consider two of them:
I’m not advocating that generational wounding is scientifically proven, but I agree with Carl Sagan who said, “we are all part of this great cosmic symphony of particles and light dancing together, an energy that’s never destroyed, only transformed.”
Therefore, it is plausible, that things that happen to our ancestors leave traces at the molecular level and are transferred to us directly. If that is the case we may be impacted by old emotional wounds.
For many, the reality of generational wounding is observable and obvious. We internalize our parent’s emotional wounds and also form identities in relation to their emotional wounds, and they did the same with their parents, and so on.
For some, however, proof of generational wounding would be an epiphany, which means it has the potential, if it becomes common knowledge, to contribute to a dramatic change in the experience of the one who is struggling with negative emotions and expressing emotions of all kind in a healthy way.
Regardless of the validity of generational wounding from a scientific standpoint, one cannot argue that genetic and environmental factors shape the personality profile of men and you often will get a person who will struggle mightily to express emotion, let alone use that emotion as a guide.
Suppressing Emotions is a Learned Behavior
Regardless of the scientific evidence, or lack thereof, of generational wounding, many little boys are taught from a very young age to suppress emotions.
This is learned behavior and as a society, we don’t even realize that we are doing it. The old concept, “boys don’t cry” runs deep in Western and Eastern cultures alike.
When a little boy is repeatedly told that “boys don’t cry” he is shamed into thinking that the emotions that made him cry in the first place are wrong or bad. As time passes the little boy grows up into a man, and voila you get a man that will struggle his whole life to process any emotion that elicits a feeling.
The Widening Gap
It has been my observation that as our society has become more inclusive and progressive the gap between men who struggle with expressing emotions is widening.
Historically, men have always been vastly different from women in emotional composition but now they are also very different from other men who are comfortable with expressing their emotions. This is leaving many men behind.
The answer, of course, is not to expect people who are comfortable with expressing their emotions to regress, but rather to teach men who are not comfortable with expressing emotions how to overcome the many causes of their emotional struggles.
The Blueprint of Greatness is at the heart of my life’s work and I am working to create educational content and coaching for men who struggle to express their emotions. It is my goal to help these men see that their emotions need to be expressed in a healthy way and that the very emotions they have been suppressing can actually become the guide to greatness.
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