If women are to be regarded equal in value in the world and our power and the medicine we bring, honoured, then I believe that part of what we must move towards is men learning to meet their feelings of inferiority and smallness, if or when they arise. Of course we all have feelings of being small and insecure – and so much of the bullshit that happens in the world is due to all of us avoiding and compensating for these uncomfortable feelings. But in this case I am particularly addressing when men do this in response to the ‘strong woman’.
Looking around me, I see so much behaviour in heterosexual dynamics involving men avoiding situations in which their sense of masculinity is threatened, by feeling out of their depth, lost or smaller than women. Sometimes avoiding intimate encounters with women they deem as strong all together, sometimes habitually going for younger, less experienced women so they can maintain their sense of pseudo-masculinity.
I get it. We have been conditioned to have very narrow ideas on what it is to be a man. Men are meant to be consistently cool and in control and masterful. But if you want to be an ally towards women, supporting our ability to rise, to speak up, to shine our essence and medicine into a world that so desperately needs it, as a man there will be times where you will feel small.
You will feel overwhelmed.
You will feel lost and confused.
And that’s ok.
And if as women we expect men to become friends with these feelings in response to us, then we have a responsibility to stop thinking of men who are vulnerable in the presence of our power and complexity as ‘weak’. We have a responsibility to challenge our definitions of masculinity and to see how they may not be serving us. We have a responsibility for our actions to be in integrity and to stop protecting men from feeling small and stop protecting ourselves from the discomfort of feeling like we’re too much. And of course above everything, we have a responsibility to give ourselves the permission we so long for from the outside.
What would the world be like if we acknowledged that feeling out of our depth and unsure of ourselves is not only part of life, but a frequent and potentially welcome consequence when learning and growth occurs?
Fuck being a ‘real’ man, whatever that is.
Fuck the polished, inflated exteriors and the limiting ideas of what we think is expected of us. Being a real human being involves befriending ourselves in our entirety and realising that feeling weak or small at times is part of life.