Vulnerability is terrifying. As males of the 21st century, we have been conditioned to suppress our thoughts and feelings – those are for girls, right? Wrong. This is why so many millennial males struggle. It’s not your job/salary, the weather (though seasonal affective disorder is a serious diagnosis), and it certainly isn’t your partner’s fault. It starts with you. Stop being stubborn and standoffish. Allow yourself to flourish. It starts with opening up.
I have always been great at bottling up my emotions. I didn’t want to be seen as weak. I am a tall, athletic male and therefore had an appearance to keep up. Though a few years ago I had a slip up, but only once. I fell in love which led to some significant emotional damage. This led me to put up so many walls that I built an impenetrable fortress. Or so I thought.
The next few years saw meaningless dates and self proof that I was strong because I did not care. I wasn’t about to put my emotions out there. Those would make me weak, and I was strong. Then it all changed. Fast.
I met someone. She is strong, independent, and she wasn’t going to put up with my shit. She was in it for me and wouldn’t let me hide away in my fortress. Let me tell you, it’s hard to succumb to emotions after feeling so strong on your own, but it is worth every step.
I love basketball, so I’m going to use one of the basketball greats to explain to you what I mean:
Five guys on the court working together can achieve more than five talented individuals who come and go as individuals – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Essentially, The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Let me repeat that. THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS. I was a strong individual on my own. I had big aspirations, but with the love, encouragement, and support of someone truly invested in in me, I have become so much more. With this person my dreams and my success have flourished beyond what I thought possible.
Gentlemen, I get it, exposing yourself and being vulnerable is terrifying. Yes, you will take a few hits to both your emotions and ego, but when you find that one person who wants to see you succeed your world will open up – life becomes that much better. So let yourself be vulnerable. Speak your thoughts, don’t suppress them. You spend hours in the gym working on your physical well-being, now it’s time to support your mental well-being too. Express yourself and allow yourself to be vulnerable, it’s worth it.