Fuseworks Media

Silent suffering: How a limited emotional vocabulary harms men – Genius You

In some ways, men are disadvantaged by comparison to women – it has nothing to do with gender – because their emotional vocabulary is smaller than that of women, and it is the central reason why so many men suffer catastrophic mental health crises.

Simone-Ellen Keller, personal transformation strategist and founder of Genius You says that many men struggle to express themselves emotionally due to social conditioning, and this has significant implications well-being.

“As a personal transformation strategist and founder of Genius You, I’ve witnessed firsthand the profound impact of societal norms on men’s emotional journey.

“Men and women possess the same spectrum of emotions, yet societal expectations dictate vastly different approaches to emotional expression. From a young age, boys are taught to suppress vulnerability and uphold an image of stoicism. Expressions of sadness, fear, or uncertainty are often dismissed or ridiculed, reinforcing the notion that real men don’t show emotions.”

Conversely, says Keller, girls are encouraged to embrace vulnerability and seek support when needed.

“Women can navigate complex emotions and form deep connections with others. This discrepancy in upbringing sets the stage for a lifelong struggle with emotional expression for some men.”

Keller says it’s time to dismantle these harmful stereotypes and empower men to embrace their emotions fully.

“Contrary to popular belief, vulnerability is not synonymous with weakness; it’s a sign of strength and courage. By acknowledging and accepting their emotional landscape, men can cultivate deeper connections with themselves and those around them.

“Breaking free from ingrained societal norms is no easy feat. It requires a willingness to challenge existing beliefs and step outside comfort zones. Men must recognise that seeking help is not a sign of failure but a proactive step towards self-improvement. Whether through therapy, coaching, or support groups, there are myriad resources available to facilitate this journey of self-discovery.”

Keller says emotional growth is not a solitary endeavour because it requires a supportive community and a willingness to engage in open, honest dialogue.

“By creating safe spaces for men to share their experiences and vulnerabilities, we can foster a culture of empathy and understanding.”

It’s time to redefine what it means to be a man in today’s society. She suggests the following three starting points:

1. Embrace Vulnerability: Challenge societal norms by allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Recognise that vulnerability is a sign of strength, not weakness.

2. Cultivate Emotional Awareness: Take time to understand and express your emotions. Develop a vocabulary to articulate feelings and communicate effectively with others.

3. Seek Support and Guidance: Engage in programmes or therapies focused on emotional growth. Take small steps towards change, knowing that personal development requires patience and persistence.

“We need to shatter the silence surrounding men’s mental health and pave the way for a more compassionate, inclusive future. By embracing emotional growth, men can unlock their full potential and lead more fulfilling lives. Let’s start the conversation and break down the barriers that have held us back for far too long,” Keller says.


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