Big boys do cry

In the wake of increased suicide rates, it sets an alarm for the urgent need to revise intervention measures that are buoyant. Different causes of suicide have been cited and these range from biological, socio-economic, cultural and often psychological factors – all of which can sometimes strike at once. The suicide cases, failed and successful, have been highly registered among males than females and this can be heavily blamed on the cultural and societal attributions and expectations of men and boys from a tender age.

Society’s definition of a real man is erroneous and its requirements of him are so burdensome that he really finds it difficult to be a man. Deep inside, he finds it nearly impossible to cope with these heavy demands.

For such a reason, I am inclined to re-evaluate the question, “what is a real man?” Five characteristics to me must be incorporated when defining a real man and these include being sincere, simple, courageous, visionary and vulnerable, especially when needed.

These characteristics have been altered and modern man is not supposed to be vulnerable, this is imprinted and conditioned to most of the boys from the time of birth till his last breath on earth. According to research, most difficult statements for the modern man to make are; I don’t know, I was wrong, I need help, I’m afraid and I’m sorry. In other words, according to the world’s definition, real men do not admit vulnerability, and if they do, their masculinity is in question.

Most people don’t want to show anger or grief under the curtains of culture or religion, this in turn is partly responsible for the suicide we’re witnessing in the modern world, in fact, most people don’t know that grief is an emotion just like love or fear, guilt or anger and probably a mixture of all these. Religion or culture does not make us immune from or to emotions and it is as pointless to deny grief as it is to deny laughter.

This mentality for suppressing anger and grief has caused many men and women to push their anger out of bounds in another direction, denying it, suppressing it, or pretending it isn’t there. Suppressing of anger and grief nevertheless does not mean it vanishes but it accumulates and explodes/implodes at a later stage in more unpleasant ways that could either inflict self-damage or harm to those surrounding them.

So, if we want to surely eradicate mental issues (emotional disorders), we have no choice but to challenge some of the cultural and religious notions that have bound individuals to mental illnesses and ensure a healthy life. Appreciation of the fact and must for big boys to cry should be the new slang as we encourage health coping mechanisms.

One day I was listening to one celebrity who said that his mother often encouraged him to be vulnerable, saying: “If it’s good, laugh hard and if it hurts a lot, cry and cry hard my boy”. So boys and men, just like you enjoy laughter, you can surely experience tears flowing down your cheeks as you release pain, grief or anger.

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