Last night, I wrote a Facebook post in which I stated, “I am man enough to admit that when it comes to missing my wife, some days are better than others. This is an ‘other’ day” as I added a sad face emoji. My wife and I are both in the Army and she has been in Europe for more than six months. She’ll be back home in another two.
Thinking about it this morning, I remember that I was sort of hesitant to post it. I’m not sure why. Here is a woman who I’ve been married to for more than 18 years and we have two children together. I do love and miss her very much. So why would I need to feel that way in speaking about it?
These days, there’s this seemingly obsessive need by much of society to be “tough” or “strong” all the time. Constantly. Every other meme or social media post is about “F*** the haters” or “Don’t let them get to you” or “Don’t let ’em see you sweat” or “Stay strong” or everything else that seems to dismiss these feelings of temporary “weakness” (as viewed by society) that we all have.
That’s right. WE ALL HAVE THEM. I don’t care who you are. Every last one of us.
So what reason would I have to think twice about telling the world that I miss my wife?
I can be man enough to admit this. Often, what some other people think, despite how much we proclaim to the contrary, does make a difference.
I believe that these moments of temporary “weakness” are avoided, not so much because we don’t want people to see them, but our focus can sometimes shift to those who mean less to us than others. They end up getting more attention from us than those who love and care about us.
Yes, it happens. We want to show that person who expects us to fail. Those people who think we’re lying about how happy we are in our relationships. Those folks who want to see us fall. It’s perfectly normal to want to stick it to them. I get it.
But what does this do to YOU as a person?
I admire toughness and strength. But what many of us need to realize is that toughness and strength isn’t always about putting on that red cape and shirt with the “S” on the front, or putting on that crown with the star in the middle. Those are often facades…what we want people to see, but not all of what’s there.
Society as a whole is quick to put down those they feel are “weak.” Of course we know everything society says makes us that way. Crying, sharing feelings, expressing sensitivity and the list goes on. Basically, what it boils down to is that we are just never supposed to show emotion.
Aside from this being complete and utter nonsense, it really can really take a toll on us. It can affect our health and relationships.
So what about me in particular? Well, sometimes, I’ll admit that I don’t want to give certain people satisfaction. I have more than 3,000 “friends” on Facebook and I know they are not ALL in my corner. (So why not just get rid of them?) Because sometimes I don’t know exactly who they are as they haven’t reared their ugly heads yet, or because I do know and they have and sometimes, I want to keep them right where they are. I say things on Facebook that many often don’t agree with, so maybe in some ways, considering how offensively some take the things I say, perhaps they could be giddy at the fact that I mention missing my wife. It’s a “Haha! Take that!” moment because they didn’t like something I said earlier in the day. Again…don’t want to dignify those mindsets with posts or replies. Right or wrong, you just don’t want to do it sometimes.
But you know one thing you can be in which you are absolutely NEVER wrong?
Be human. Let yourself FEEL. You don’t have to be Wonder Woman and Superman all the time. Even they aren’t those characters every second of the day. I understand being strong for family members, such as your children when in a tough situation, or maybe your spouse if he or she is going through something major. But “toughness” to that mean person who would never praise that toughness anyway isn’t necessary. “Strength” to that bully-ish person who will minimize everything you do wouldn’t be helpful no matter what.
It’s one thing to pretend to be tough, let’s say, if you’re putting on a show of some kind. If you are doing something in which “toughness” is a staple, such as playing football or any other highly-physical sport in which the time engaged is often temporary. That makes sense. But when it comes to our feelings and LIFE in general, why do we need to toss that aside in favor of those who likely don’t care about us much anyway?
If someone was building a house for you, would you prefer that they pretended to know what they were doing, or that they had trouble in a certain area and were upfront about it?
Emotions are natural. They are not these embarrassing figments of our imagination. A person is not “tougher” or “stronger” because they don’t show them. When that is all I get from a person, I’m not impressed. I wonder more of what it is they’re trying to hide or who they are trying to fool. Because it isn’t me.
People talk so much about “what’s wrong with society” and I say that this is very high up on the list. The gross lack of compassion by our fellow human beings is the main reason I believe so many avoid showing emotion in practically everything they do. With compassion, people don’t have to do this. But because so many folks spend all their time looking to put every down for showing any kind of emotion and very few can learn to have compassion for one another, many of us feel like we have to spin in place to a ball of fire (to turn into Wonder Woman, for those who don’t know) or rush into that telephone booth (Superman) to put on a protective layer of figurative mental and emotional “armor” so that people can’t see us for who we are and expose us for the horrible excuses of human existence that we are. Not because we might be bad people, because society says that it is “wrong” for us to be those individuals who have the nerve to cry, to express feelings, to show sensitivities and so on.
As I said above, we ALL have sensitivities. Every last one of us. Something that is powerful enough to bring us to our knees. So why do people feel we can dictate what makes another person strong or tough? Something can strike us all. And I’m sure you wouldn’t want someone dictating to YOU that you aren’t “allowed” to express anything in terms of it.
There is nothing wrong with feeling. There is nothing wrong with showing emotion. We all have to do that or we would go insane. There will always be those yay-hoos out there who are self-proclaimed experts in damn near everything who will try to tell you what you can and can’t be sensitive about. Don’t listen to them. They are speaking of what may work for them, NOT you.
Allow yourself to FEEL. Allow yourself to HURT. Allow yourself to BLEED. Often, those are the only way healing can truly begin. Let the process happen as it’s intended. No one is allowed to tell you that you cannot do so, just because they wouldn’t. Not to mention, we are all at different places in life. Everyone cannot walk into the gym and lift the same weight.
Wonder Woman and Superman are amazing and admirable characters. Not being a hardcore fan, I still believe that in everything either have ever been in, at SOME point, they were their original, human characters.
Allow yourself to be that HUMAN character.
It really is okay. Never let anyone tell you it isn’t.