Recently, one of my male friends posted something incredibly personal and vulnerable on social media. My first response was “I don’t want to know that about this person.” My second response was shock that I would have this thought in the first place. For years I have been wanting men to become more vulnerable and share their emotional self and when one of them do I turned away. I didn’t turn away for long. I caught myself fairly quickly but my initial reaction gave me pause to see where I still have work to do and the challenge that men are having with being vulnerable in today’s world.
A former boyfriend would always tell me “We got this!” I felt safe and supported when he would say this to me. How do men be both strong and vulnerable for us? The only way they can is if, we as women, allow them to be. Me saying, “I don’t want to know this about you,” doesn’t create a safe place for vulnerability to occur.
The world we live in has conditioned us to see vulnerability in men as weakness. When in truth, it takes great courage and strength to become vulnerable. The only way to change this is if we allow one another to be our authentic selves. Authenticity is often messy and emotional. Holding space is a sacred act that we do when we listen. True listening involves not just hearing the words that someone speaks but being completely present for them as well. We have a long way to go with creating a place of safety for men to become vulnerable. I wonder how the world would change if we did?
This is one view and it is completely from a feminine perspective. I would love to hear from men what they need from women and even other men to feel safe with being vulnerable. Please tell us what you need so we can be there for you in a much more sacred way.
Della’s website can be found here.
p.s. – Since I wrote this several days ago I’ve had the awareness that in turning away from this male friend I was also turning away from my own inner man . . . food for thought.