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Sometimes people don’t talk because they don’t have the words to say things. Sometimes it’s because they weren’t taught the words. I think this is particularly common among men (or those who identify with masculine energy) largely because, for a litany of reasons, women are better at the emotional language game. In so many of the important shifts necessary to reconnect us in this disconnected world, I think those who identify as female will, and must be, at the helm. 

I am aware of how binary that statement is. As a mother of two sons and the wife of a (fairly) phenomenal husband, I promise you this: men, women, and the spectrum in between are all profoundly important. Obviously, there are distinct biological differences in the anatomy and physiology. What isn’t different, however, are the emotions that we, as humans, are made up of. Now more than ever, we need those of us who are better equipped with an emotional language to step up and step out in positions of leadership and mentorship, primarily because, once again, we can’t tell them—we must show them. We (I’m speaking as someone who identifies as a woman) have to really know we require a seat at the table because we have so much of what the world needs. I wonder, in fact, if it’s wise to consider it the responsibility of those of us with an emotional language to lead the way back home—to a connected, feeling understood way of operating.  

We like to think we are now so much better at gender equity. Perhaps understanding gender identity is progressing, I’m willing to give in there, but I think we have a long way to go. Think about the last time you walked into a toy store—one of those big box–store types. At this very moment, around the globe, these stores are clearly set up in a divisive way—blue and pink. A penis section and a vagina section, respectively. What’s most available in the penis section? Guns, trucks, tractors, hockey sticks, baseball 

bats. The tough, rough and tumble stuff. Look across the aisle to the vagina section. The colors change, the softness appears. There are dolls and food and things to be nurtured. We give our girls the chance to be empathetic and emotional. But we still tell our boys to “toughen up” and “suck it up” at every opportunity.  

Can those who don’t have an emotional language get one? Hell, yes. Again, it happens so much more frequently in the showing and not in the telling. If you want more on this conversation–including coming to terms with our own expectations and biases as we interact with our children – grab a copy of Feeling Seen. This is just an amuse-bouche, there is much more to digest around topics like gender identity, parenting, empathy, relationships…all the topics that impact us deeply as human beings. I hope it serves you well. 

One Comment

  • Barb FM says:

    I LOVED this blog. Fantastic insight. I have been married for 18 years, to an amazing man. My husband does have a language learning disability, that was not diagnosed until we meet. I am a special education teacher and quickly pointed out while in the early days of dating that he had a learning disability. Luckily the conversation did not derail our early courtship, but I do forget how difficult finding the words are for him. A 56 year old male, national wrestling champion and high level rugby player, who did not really talk about emotions until we met. Also a mother of 2 young men, but as a former competitive collegiate athlete I have often said “suck it up” especially in high level sports my kids have played. Hopefully I have enough years left to keep learning and looking forward to reading the book.

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