We live in a world that feeds us opposing messages about who we are supposed to be. The very things we are taught in the classroom as ideal traits – compassion, kindness, empathy – are treated as weaknesses in life. The people who get ahead and become icons of business are the ones who are ruthless and cutthroat to get what they want at all costs.
I blame a lot of it on the language we use without realizing it.
Man up! Act like a man!
Boys don’t cry!
Don’t be a pussy!
You’re acting like a little bitch!
When we say things like the examples above, we are perpetuating the same toxic masculinity that forces us into strict roles about who we are and how we should act. A “real man” isn’t supposed to show emotion, only to be gruff and get shit done. Someone who is showing fear or weakness is called a pussy, when in reality, the pussy is strong and incredibly resilient.
Today I encourage you to look carefully at the language you use and make sure that what you say is what you truly mean. Anyone who identifies as a man is a real man. Anyone who identifies as a woman is a real woman. If you are here in terrestrial form, you are real and no one else gets to decide what makes you real enough.
A man who wears nail polish and has a lisp? Real. A woman who has a 5 o’clock shadow? Real as fuck. Someone outside of the binary who does not feel appropriately identified as either a man or a woman? REAL. Whatever you feel is real, and it is high time we start accepting that if we ever hope to overcome the stranglehold that toxic masculinity has on us as a society, we have to learn to feel what we feel unapologetically. If we can’t feel it, we can’t heal it.
Never forget that I love you, and that excludes no one.