Have you ever heard the statement, perception is everything. I have and I used to think that it was an undeniable truth! I thought that what you see is the truth and the way that others will see or react to you. I am no longer so certain.

Though my recent life changes, it has been brought to my attention, my perception and others perception differ greatly. I have also come to understand that what others see is often a complete opposite of my reality. This is why I am no longer in agreement with the previous belief in that statement.

For years, I have believed that I outwardly appeared to be a very upbeat person! I did whatever I could to present a positive outlook for the people in my life. I did everything that I could to bring a smile to the lives of the people who surrounded me. I kept my melancholy to myself. I always looked for the silver lining and kept pushing forward. There was a honest belief in the power of positivity and being optimistic!

This is how I thought people would see me. Boy was I wrong! A couple of very dear friends recently pointed this out to me. Both friends stated, “I had a dark cloud” over me. I seemed so unhappy. This completely surprised me. I had no idea that anyone saw me like this. Not that I was hiding my sadness, I just never wanted to darken anyone else’s day. I was always very happy to be in the presence of my friends and very excited that they allowed me to be a influential part of their lives. I believed that this would show through!

It took my life being turned upside down and loosing what I believed to be all I wanted to change this perception. Today, I often hear that I have changed. The clouds are gone and I seem so much more happy. I have to laugh at this because I usually feel as if I no longer have any chance of happiness! I feel like I am in the darkest days of my life and simply doing all I can to make it day by day. It is hilarious to me, that everyone sees me as having the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders. What they see is the polar opposite of how I feel. How I feel definitely has not been what I have shown!

This makes me wonder. Does anyone ever really see another? What is real and what is perceived? I ask myself these questions but, how many others even see this possibility? Life is full of questions so it is not likely that many would stop to ask these questions. After all “Seeing is believing.” That is at least what I’ve heard all my life. I did not ask until my life started falling apart. It wasn’t visible to me until all that I believe to be true was stripped away.

I am happy for those in my life who shared their perception of me because it has helped me to have a better picture of myself. Thank you to all who see me.

Emotionally Handicapped

On a recent Facebook post, a question was posed to the group.  Basically asking, why is it that men have so much difficulty with expressing their emotions.  This was one of the best questions I had seen in the group yet.  I have struggled myself as a man to find the answer for many years. The questions has also molded and directed the majority of my relationships in both positive and negative ways.

I immediately jumped in to answer the question. As I see the problem, men are all handicapped from a early age. You see, we as males, are told not to cry. We are told that there is something wrong with us if we show emotions even before we start talking. Boys are supposed to be tough and strong. We learn to equate emotions with weakness. As we get older, these ideas are often pushed even further so by the time we are adults and in the world on our own, we are mostly train wrecks!

It doesn’t take large and long studies to show what I am saying. We know behavior is learned. We also know that it is difficult to unlearn. We know that what our parents and peers impress upon us in our formative years will affect us throughout our entire lives. When we really examine how we treat young men in the society today, I wonder why anyone is ever surprised.

From the time boys are in diapers we basically are teaching them to be jerks! So why are we surprised that men are emotionally stunted? So many women that I talk to or hear say they don’t understand why men are the way they are. No one looks at how we are teaching the boys to behave in the first place. We are creatures of extreme and just do not admit it. While many are starting to realize the issues, many who do see go to far in the opposite direction.

As a man, I struggle on a daily basis. I love my family and friends. I also know that the majority of them would be extremely uncomfortable with my expression of love. Why do I say this, I see it every day. I have recently suffered the lost of my partner through divorce. It has devastated me emotionally. It has hurt in ways that I did not actually believed that was possible. Months later I feel as if it has just happened even though I am now so happy that it has happened.  Even though, I realized that it may have been the best thing that has happened outside the joy of my children, both natural and the step-children.

All of this said, as a man, I wouldn’t want one of my sons to suffer what I am suffering.  Having feeling that you do not  understand is difficult. Having feeling that you cannot speak to anyone about is horrendous. It is a shame to think of all the little boys walking around in Adult skins with no hope of  finding someone to understand them . Not feeling safe to seek the help to understand themselves. This is why men choose to suffer alone. While sitting here pondering what can be done a very quick search showed me that men suffer the highest suicide rates world wide. While I am not say that this is the reason, I can say as a man, I can see how this is a great deal of a contributing factor.