Okay gentlemen, we are coming to the end of this look at ourselves and now I’m about take a look at the subset of males which I happen to belong to, how we get the short end of the stick, and what we can do about.
I am referring to Highly Sensitive Men, or HSMs. No, we are not whiny babies, arrogant pontificators or pity seeking sad sacks, at least not by nature. We are, actually, normal men, who just happen to feel our emotions a bit more profoundly, and are affected more deeply by the world around us. Yes, many men in the “alpha” subset like to mock, deride, and go out of their way to make us seem irrelevant or some sort of weak mutation. We have our masculinity questioned regularly, and must do what we can to adapt to life and conform to a rather stilted standard of what a man is.
The problem is we don’t help our cause by getting involved in bad behavior and relationships, prattling on about unrequited love, and looking for the nearest hankie when the world has done us an injustice. Gentlemen, this part is about accountability for our emotions, not seeking a justification or excusing bad behavior.
We HSMs have become synonymous with “queenish” behavior, and by that I don’t mean sexual orientation. I’m talking the over-the-top, Nathan Lane/Jack MacFarlane/Cam Pritchett/Rajesh sort of behavior which stereotypes both gay men and straight HSMs alike. Gentlemen, both gay, straight, bi and otherwise, we are way better than this.
Let’s start with our relationships. We want to be taken care of. Okay. There’s nothing wrong with that, except when we decide that means running from responsibility. When we allow ourselves to be taken care out of love and we cherish it but don’t expect it and show gratitude, that’s healthy. When we either expect it, or are afraid of live without it, that’s codependency. Yes, many of us HSMs suffer from this, but we can work to replace the Co with in and, on the process, serve ourselves and those we love.
Now ladies, I can’t let this go on without a little commentary about your end of the equation. We men look to our partners for trust, support, love and the most critical thing for an HSM, acceptance. That is one thing, ladies, which has been in short supply in it culture. Look, we know you want a man who is both confident and sensitive, but there are times where it feels like the “jackass lust switch” is literally firing on all cylinders. When that happens, acceptance is tossed aside in favor of uber masculinity, which is rarely a good outcome. This is not a condemnation of the female love of the prototypical “beefcake.”. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows they women have their eye candy, same as men do. This is about your accepting of responsibility of your role on a relationship. If you want your HSM to become something else, you’ll have a long wait. HSMs rarely change if we don’t perceive an issue.
That brings it back to us, gentlemen. We often don’t perceive the issues we have because, as HSMs, we experience a strange sort of inferiority/superiority complex. We justify our arrogance and aloof attitude as being better than those who deride us, when it is merely a mask to hide the fact we secret want to be the people who look at us with condescension. This particular dichotomy is no different that the very behavior we decry women got. We have to learn that, before we should even hope to be accepted by those we love, we must first practice the hardest of all disciplines, self-acceptance.
And no it’s not easy to do this, but it is worth it. Societal acceptance of male sensitivity won’t happen overnight; we must be ahead of the curve. So, my fellow HSMs, let’s do the work. Let’s stay humble, grateful, and caring. We will be far ahead of our own foibles when we achieve this, and those around us who love us, or have thought about a life with us, well be able to embrace our sensitivity that much more readily