The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Never Apologise For Your Emotions …

I cry.

I cry a lot.

I cry at films.

I cry at memories.

I cry at just how much I love Otis.

Now I appreciate that’s not the sort of thing you should admit, but that’s what I want to change.

I get why it happens.

From the moment we are kids, we are told not to cry.

To be fair, it’s less to do with any sense of parental embarrassment and more to do with parents hating seeing their precious child being upset, but in my opinion, it’s still wrong.

But it gets worse.

Especially for little boys.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard a Dad tell their little man who has fallen over …

“Big boys don’t cry”.

I totally appreciate they’re not saying it to be mean, but I can’t help but worry for what we are teaching the men of tomorrow.

Especially in America.

I was lucky, I was brought up in a household that didn’t try to hide emotions.

I was taught it was healthy and was encouraged to express how I felt.

Now I know that was pretty rare, but fortunately for everyone else, there was the local pub.

The pub was more than a place for drinking, it was a place for men to express their feelings.

Sure, they did it through banter and jokes, but it was where you could reveal your feelings and fears to other men in an environment that was, ironically, none threatening and none judgemental.

I have no idea if that’s still the case but I know in America it’s not.

Here, you don’t go to a bar to talk, you go to a bar to sit with other men and watch sports.

There appears little outlet for men to express their feelings which means either the pressure of situations add up to unbelievable levels or the response to situations is disproportionate or overly aggressive and confrontational.

OK, so not everyone is like that, but until we teach our children – and especially our little boys – that crying is actually the act of someone strong rather than weak, then we are going to continue stopping people knowing how to navigate the challenges and frustrations that fill our lives. Or said another way, we’ll be stopping our kids from being able to be as good as they can be … which is a crime no parent wants to ever be accused of doing.

Which is another thing we could all learn from the values taught at Otis’ school.

21 Comments so far
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Well said Robert. The ability to express your feelings is a gift that should be encouraged at all times, regardless of gender or age.

Comment by Lee Hill

campbell finds it easier because of his italian blood. unfair fucking advantage.

Comment by andy@cynic

Maybe there is an element of truth to that Andy, but I think it’s more to do with being born into a family that believed that your emotions were your truth and to deny them was to deny yourself from being who you are. I know that’s a very sensible answer, but I am sad at how few people feel they can express themselves through their emotions … fearing judgement or abuse.

The great irony is our industry is supposed to be founded on the premise we can connect to people through emotions – so I wonder how we can do that when so many can’t even express their feelings without diluting them a little.

Comment by Rob

A great post that 15 years ago I would have found to comment on.
I was brought up in one of those homes that told you not to cry. My parents were not trying to deny me, but they didn’t know how to deal with emotions and so that became my frame of reference. It was years later, when I heard someone tell my first born not to cry, that I came out the other side. Crying isn’t weakness, it’s the bridge to learning and strength and it should be encouraged not judged. Well said Robert, I’ve seen too many male friends buckle under the pressure of appearing strong when they are crying out to express pain or sadness or frustration.

Comment by George

i hope you smashed whoever told emma she couldnt cry.

Comment by andy@cynic

funny it took emma to make you see the light and not psychologist mary.

Comment by andy@cynic

Oh Andrew.

Comment by Mary Bryant

Same situation for me. When I first met Rob and saw how easily he could express his feelings, I thought he was an alien. Well he is an alien but his emotional confidence was from another planet to me.

Comment by DH

Well you certainly have got through that frame of reference because your kids are immense and full of expressions of emotion. Even if it’s annoying when it means they take the piss having beaten me at Monopoly. Again.

Comment by Rob

Yes, that makes me proud of them too.

Comment by George

the whole fucking world know you cry. but this is pretty fucking good apart from the revelation pubs in the midlands used to be cry centres for nottingham hoodlums.

Comment by andy@cynic

Robin Hood must be turning in his grave. But it does explain why Nottingham Forest are so bad.

Comment by DH

Yes Robert. This is so important.

Comment by Mary Bryant

Really interested by your view of pubs and I’m not being facetious when I highlight the fact that yours is a sober interpretation of what is going on. I don’t know if that means you see something that the rest of us don’t or if your sobriety means you have a different interpretation or if, as I suspect, this is actually because of the way you were raised to express and therefore inhabit emotion.

Personally, I think pubs used to be the only place you could go and looking back I wasted a lot of time in them which today I would be spending online meeting similalry minded people rather than going to local pubs in the tiny hope of randomly meeting them there.

Comment by John

Well my view of pubs is a hybrid of when I used to drink [underage] and when I stopped. But when I was younger – it definitely seemed to be a place where my mates could express their feelings more openly and easily than they ever would do ‘outside’.

Yes it was often done through banter, but it was an outlet for emotions they felt hard to express in any other area. Of course, it could have been the drink that helped this shift, but I also think the fact they were environments with little other distraction that helped it occur.

Compared to the sports bars in America – full of screens and noise – there certainly isn’t the environment for men to express themselves and I feel that is at the harm of male development.

Maybe England is like this now too – I’ll find out soon – but while I was blessed to have parents who encouraged and valued emotional expression, I did see the local pub as a place where you could speak more openly about issues we were – as a generation – brought up to keep quiet.

Comment by Rob

You’re probably right and I’m going to look out for it in future but it’s noticeable that outside London, pubs are far emptier during the week than they were and the drinking is focussed on weekend nights. One reaon 18 pubs a week are closing. Wonder what people being more sober implies for the expression of emotions?

And I agree with you about American sports bars and thanks to pay TV there’s more of that here than the was but it’s not every night and it’s not the only reason every person go to those pubs.

Comment by John

Remember I’m talking about almost 30 years ago and Nottingham … where the only places open after 7:30pm was the pub or Leicester Forest East service station.

Comment by Rob

The reason you always lose at Monopoly is probably because it doesn’t involve real property and you therefore lose interest.

Comment by John

And there’s no windmills.

Comment by Rob

I cried today. I cried on the way to the shrink and I cried all the way home. Then, for good measure, I cried s’more.

Comment by cubedjungle

Well said. Always find it funny agencies are supposed to be about people who can do original thinking etc yet self-expressions tends to be discouraged.

Comment by Northern

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