When we hear a women’s pain we do empathize, we do understand but we don’t show that we do. We see your hurt and feel it inside and we want to make it stop, we don’t want you to hurt and so we want to act, we want to fix the hurt so we offer solutions instead.
So women can think we are not listening and we can think we are not being taken seriously, neither of us understanding that each other’s feelings are mutual yet simply expressed differently.
We are capable of showing our feelings but there must be trust, and there must be a strength.
We must trust that we will not lose social standing with you, and we do lose social standing because too many women see it as a sign of weakness. We must trust that you will not use our feelings against us, and we do have our feelings used against us because too many women are far better at wielding our feelings like weapons against us.
Strength is not men who need strength; it is women who need strength because we will not show our feelings to someone incapable of absorbing them and showing us that those feelings can be understood.
If you do not have the strength to be unafraid of our fears, our insecurities, or the strength to bear witness to our pain and grief we will hide them. When you ask us what we are feeling when you ask for us to show our emotions you are asking us to lose control. You are asking us to forgo decades of control. You are asking us to no longer be active but to release.
We cannot do that unless we know you have the strength to bring us back.
If you want us to open up it cannot be done by asking us to share, it will not happen that way. We have far too many years of control under our belt to simply let go in that way, we simply can’t.
If you want us to open up then you will need to prove to us that you are the stronger.
Join us in our actions as we mindlessly chop 1000 logs for firewood we don’t need, ask us how we plan to solve our problems.
Understand that our solutions are just words, they are not actions but the intent to solve the problem of our feelings. Our feelings are hidden, even from ourselves, but we know deep down that we have the need to act, to do, and to plan.
If you help us in our actions and planning and guide us, steer us away from unwise decisions, we will see that you have the strength to listen.
As we talk through our plans and actions slowly will our feelings become clear, even to ourselves, and if you are by our side you will see them too.
A minstrel was a medieval European bard who performed songs whose lyrics told stories of distant places or of existing or imaginary historical events. Although minstrels created their own tales, often they would memorize and embellish the works of others. The Modern Minstrel observes the world around him and shares it with us as a lyrical story. This series was inspired by Luke Davis, whose eye for story and ear for lyrical prose are featured here.
Written by The Naive Idealist
Originally appeared in The Good Men Project