Growing up I was told by my father that real men do not cry, do not show emotion, and certainly do not talk about their feelings. It was ingrained in me all my life. I am here to tell you that this could not be further from true.
Showing emotion, talking about your feelings and, yes, even crying is hard. It is not easy to let those around you know how you feel. It is much easier to hide them. By hiding them, you make yourself less vulnerable. You do not open yourself up to heart-break or pain when others reject you or ignore your feelings.
I have been learning this past decade how to feel again. It has been a process that has been difficult and at times painful. Today, I opened up, made myself vulnerable to a group of people I trust and respect. I realize that it may result in pain, I may be disappointed in the responses, but I will have been honest and open about my feelings.
Too often we are told to ignore our feelings. We are told that to express them is to “wear them on our sleeves”. This is simply not the case! To express how we feel is the most authentic part of the human experience! It is what connects us more closely with those around us. And it is what makes those connections more real and personal.
So let those feelings out! Express your love and care for those around you. Share the pain and sorrow you feel. And celebrate the joy and excitement you experience. And yes, let the anger out in safe and controlled ways when you need to. Be human!
Because God loves you, emotions and all, and so do we!