Unlike women, it’s not okay for men to admit that they have low self-esteem, or that they have genuine problems with their self-image, as they are seen as weaknesses in-and-of themselves — a Reddit user.
This isn’t far from the truth. A study finds that 4 in 5 millennial men are insecure about their looks. And more than their body image issues, their insecurities branch out to displaying emotions and unmet expectations.
To shed light on this topic, here’s what men on the Internet have to say about opening up about their insecurities:
Losing respect in the relationship
It’s the worst to feel insecure about feeling insecure. My ex-girlfriend had depression and was always super insecure and needy at the beginning of our relationship.
I supported her through it. But when I talked about my own self-esteem issues, I could instantly feel that she lost respect for me. Now I was “too sensitive and emotional,” and I was “the girl in the relationship”.
Bottling up emotions
People just look at you weirdly when you wear your heart on your sleeve. After that, they see you differently, they treat you differently. I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression and anxiety. I find it really hard to regulate my emotions too, and I’ve been pretty upfront with people about my struggles.
In my life, I learned pretty quickly that people can be heartless and cruel when you show how you really feel. There’s always been a stigma that men have to bottle everything up, and that you aren’t a man if you show how you feel.
Always tiptoeing around things
A man is expected to get every so slightly touched by an emotional movie, but not to cry buckets. A man is expected to be a good provider and make a good living to support his family, but he cannot be more married to his work than to his family.
These might be personal experiences, but you can’t deny that they are prevalent in society. Men who show vulnerability and emotions are often regarded as weak, even by their partners who, apparently, are also fixated on the toxic double standards in their relationships.
As a result, these men would bottle up their emotions and would always walk around on eggshells because they don’t get the support and comfort they need.
We need to talk about men.
Emotional vulnerability is not limited to women. Men should not be afraid to be vulnerable in the same way that women are. I know it’s been said a thousand times, but I can’t stress this enough as it’s a vicious cycle that never ends.
If anything, you have to be confident — be confident in confronting your feelings, being vulnerable, and especially in being honest with your insecurities. It will not make you weak; rather, it will make you mentally and emotionally strong.
As a society, we must move past these harmful gender stereotypes and gain a better understanding of each other’s needs and feelings. Let’s celebrate men who confidently open up themselves to the world.