Today, I want to encourage you to check in on the boys and men in your life. The impact of Covid 19 has been devastating for all of us. It has caused many people to feel isolated, lonely, and depressed. As women, most of us are taught and encouraged to share our feelings and express our fears with one another. We can often find comfort from a phone call with a friend, in a virtual women’s conference, or gain connections through our personal spiritual practices. However, most men, not all, don’t have these outlets for managing their emotions. We live in a society that pushes them to be strong at all times. Even as little boys they are instructed not to cry or show their feelings of hurt or sadness. During these challenging time, both men and young boys, might struggle with knowing what to do with their uncomfortable emotions.
Ladies, some of us are uncomfortable with the men in our lives expressing vulnerability or portraying what we consider weakness. This type of thinking can make times like these extremely difficult for them. They may feel forced to neglect or hide their feelings of uncertainty, shame, or inadequacy and seek out unhealthy behaviors such as excessive drinking, womanizing, pornography, or gambling to numb these very uncomfortable feelings. Most men used sports, social gatherings, and their work as a healthy outlet for finding connection, validation, or self-worth, yet these things for many, are no longer an option. Therefore, ladies, let’s make a special effort to reach out to our husbands, sons, and other male family members by offering an emotionally safe place for them to share openly their fears, uncertainty, and self-doubt.
Here are 3 things you can do to check in on the men in your life:
1. Ask, then listen. Ask the men in your life how is this time affecting them. Once he begins to open up, just listen. It takes (some) men a little longer than women to open up about their emotions, especially the scary ones, so be patient as they take a while to find the words they want to say. Don’t interrupt or rush them ahead. Don’t finish their sentences for them. Offer your full attention and listen carefully for emotional words in their conversation. They do not need solutions, they just need to express and feel heard.
2. Express appreciation. God created men to experience love through
respect and honor. Most men love language is word of affirmation. When we affirm the men in our lives they feel appreciated and empowered. This small thing can help the men in your life find the strength they need to face another challenging day.
3. Offer empathy. Many men are dealing with some level of shame from their childhood that has never been addressed or acknowledged. Some of them struggle with the shame of not being able to provide or take care of their families during this time. Ofter the men in your life a non-judgmental space for discussion their feelings of inadequacy and shame.
Doing these three things can go a long way in helping the men in your life survive these challenging times. If you notice that they are disengaged or not their normal self, encourage them to seek coaching or counseling. We can all use special help during these special times. Thoughtfully, Caneisha