Her World Indonesia June 2021

Men and Vulnerability

It's time to talk about the social pressures of masculinity

Socially and culturally, we give specific ideas about what it means to be a man, namely to be strong and steadfast. Vulnerability is not included in this. Because of the social pressure of masculinity, men always feel the need to "be manly" to maintain their self-image so that they are not weak and always feel strong. Feelings of sadness, grief, and loneliness often have to be suppressed and hidden deep inside.


For men, being open and vulnerable is difficult to accept because there is a feeling that the emotions and personal feelings expressed can threaten a person's masculine identity. So many men have the idea that sensitivity and vulnerable emotions are feminine and stoicism is masculine. Having sensitivity to emotions means showing signs of vulnerability and being seen as weak and unmanly.


Even from childhood, such ideas are instilled in men by parents, other family members, friends, mass media and cultural products such as TV shows, advertisements, music, movies, and magazines. They are taught not to

may cry or accept feelings of sadness. Men are not trained to be aware of emotions. This is the unrealistic expectation we give them to become a true man. The question now is, “Is being vulnerable good for men?”


The True Meaning of Vulnerable

From a psychological perspective, vulnerability is a person's openness and willingness to take risks emotionally. Vulnerability also involves being open about one's true emotional and mental state. It is this openness that connects us to other humans. Vulnerability is consciously choosing NOT to hide our emotions or desires from others.


We express our thoughts, feelings, desires, and opinions without being paranoid about what other people think of us, Vulnerability is important to being a strong and healthy person. By doing so with those closest to us and we trust, we will strengthen relationships, improve mental health, and improve quality of life.


A study shows that being vulnerable to someone creates an opportunity to express feelings and process them. Being open increases closeness and intimacy. Of course this becomes important for personal growth and mental health.


Vulnerability is not…

Weaknesses The portrayal of this as a weakness may be ingrained in the effects of childhood, early relationships, gender, media, and culture. Paradoxically, the more effort we put into protecting our fears and insecurities, the more internal shame comes to mind. Often, it is this shame and insecurity that tends to drain our strength and time.


Tactics

Some see this as a tactic that can be used on others to manipulate someone. The real vulnerability is not about what we do, but about the reasons why we do it. The real goal is not to appear more vulnerable, but simply to express yourself as honestly as possible.


Flood

Emotions That is when we suddenly bring out an excessive amount of emotion into a conversation, which usually overwhelms the listener. This is difficult because on the one hand, it is also a form of vulnerable emotion, but on the other hand, it is unattractive. As a result, we will only continue to be angry and frustrated and alienate everyone we meet.

The Importance of Men Feeling Vulnerable

Connection and intimacy Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable means creating security to open up to our partners and friends so that they will also open up to us. Receiving love and care makes us feel accepted, supported, and fosters trust. Any relationship created through the vulnerability allows all to truly know each other, promoting growth and change.


Increase self-confidence

Expressing vulnerability will help us feel comfortable with our imperfections without shame. Being open to our fears strengthens our sense of self as we endure the pressure to pretend everything is okay.


Increase love

Expressing our feelings and thoughts with openness and acceptance is a basic part of building love. Being open emotionally and physically naturally increases love in a relationship. Vulnerability is about being authentic and honest.


Steps for Men to Become Vulnerable

Admit I can't

Think about it: if someone is clearly not an expert at something, most of us will cover up that fact. In fact, when we admit that we are not capable of something, in the end other people will appreciate us more. Stop trying to be something you aren't yourself. Accept who we really are, including mistakes and all. People will see this as a behavior that is so self-confident that they will respond well to that shortcoming.


Take responsibility

Taking responsibility will put us in control of the solution. When we blame others, we hand over control to everyone and everything around us. In fact, we cannot control everyone and everything around us. Acknowledge by saying “I have a problem. I'm not perfect, and that's natural. I can deal with it, and I will deal with it.”


Confess the feeling

There may be a slight risk when doing this. We may offend some people, even lose a friend or a client or a romantic partner. But the key to true vulnerability is that we are willing to accept the consequences no matter what. We can never really know exactly how other people feel until we tell them how we feel.


Stop trying to be perfect

Show us the real us. Accept rejection and failure to make yourself bigger and stronger.


In the end, there's no right and wrong when it comes to being more open and vulnerable. The important thing is to make a conscious effort to be more real with people, especially those who are important to us. Pretending to be strong will only be a burden on the shoulders.


Vulnerability is the path to true human relationships. Even so, this change is not as easy as the writing discussed here. However, there is a need for an overhaul of social culture and a change in mentality that we must start now. Men should be allowed and able to share their pain and insecurities deeply. This is another form of empowering action.