There’s a lot of miscommunication these days about what it means to be a man in 2019. Does it mean being stoic? Standing alone? Suppressing emotions? Not committing to a long-term relationship? Living like it’s the zombie apocalypse by not being vulnerable with anyone for the sake of survival? This blog is not intended to generalize all men, but it’s meant to discuss a problem a lot of men face. The fear of vulnerability!
Important thing to note about men that have issues with commitment. Vulnerability is scarier than death. They’ll play games with you because they are looking for a short term commitment, they’re too immature, however there are others that want to commit long term, but they have a difficult time making it happen partly due to the fear of vulnerability.
Why is vulnerability so scary?
The unwillingness or inability to be vulnerable could be due to past trauma or past relationship baggage. The fear of vulnerability may be a way to protect ourselves emotionally from being hurt again.
We also live in a culture where it’s considered weak, needy and pathetic for men to show vulnerability. We also assume that men don’t feel hurt when they’re let down due to a relationship that didn’t work out or childhood trauma, they do have feelings and they do get hurt, but it’s a major turn off to express ourselves emotionally. We get labeled as “pussified”, “a nice guy”, “weak”.
Men also fear being vulnerable due to superficial issues such as the fear of not being wealthy enough, smart enough or good looking enough. The fear stems from the fear of being judged. This fear can cause us to pretend to be someone else and can cause stress and a disconnect between who we are in our hearts and who we pretend to be in our minds.
These emotions are expressed in a negative way. Some men start abusing drugs and alcohol, some become addicted to work, while others develop a need to constantly be validated by women to boost their shattered egos. Anything to not have to be vulnerable ever again.
These emotions should be expressed in a more positive way. Instead of feeling bitter about past hurt it’s important for men to put that negative energy to good use.
How can negative emotions be expressed positively?
When we ignore our emotions such as the fear of vulnerability it’s not the healthiest thing to do. The emotions we feel will eventually come out in different ways.
Instead of ignoring our emotions they can be expressed in positive ways including:
Exercise: Exercising is not only good for you it can boost your energy and add years to your life. Exercise improves not only your physical well being, but your mental well being as well by managing depression and anxiety that comes with negative emotions.
Practice self-compassion: Self-compassion can be practiced during periods of perceived inadequacy, failure or general suffering. It entails being warm toward yourself when encountering pain and personal shortcomings, gathering than ignoring them or harming yourself.
Ask yourself why you don’t want to open up?: Learn about yourself and why the fear of vulnerability affects your life. Parts of my past are difficult to talk about with other people. I once had to deal with serious mental health problems and only worked part time for two years and barely left home when I wasn’t working. I’ve gotten better since then and I have my bad days, however I feel like the baggage from that time in my life still affects my personal life now. Mental illness whether it was a past problem or a current problem is one of the top deal breakers in any would be relationship. Worse than unemployment and being an Ex con.
Meditation and Mindfulness: The practice of meditation and mindfulness can help you focus on living in the present moment without regrets about the past or fear of the future. It can also help us reconnect with who we actually are.
Know Thy Fear: It’s important to get in touch with yourself by knowing about what you fear. Instead of eliminating fear it’s important to expose it so it shrinks and makes you less fearful of what you’re afraid of. Gaining a deeper understanding of what you fear is achieved by facing it. If you really wanted to identify exactly what you’re dealing with what you fear can be dissected and analyzed.
Vulnerability is necessary for building intimacy in a relationship. It allows other people to get to know the real you and you get to know yourself.
What are the ways you deal with what you fear?
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