By Dr. Krystal White
You tend to give more to others than you ask from them. You find yourself holding your tongue, avoiding conflict and accommodating the needs of others. You hesitate to take care of your own health, take space for yourself, or take a day off. You find yourself feeling misunderstood, run-down, disengaged from the very people you serve and love.
And you’re a guy.
In my experience, just as many men as women want dynamic, heart-felt and connected relationships. Yet their desires often go unexpressed and therefore unrecognized in our culture. I’ve got an uphill battle selling a book about love to my clients—mostly male leaders in service industries. That’s not because they don’t want or need a quick and easy tool for understanding their own needs and easily creating connection with their partners. It’s because male emotional psychology, especially when it comes to love, doesn’t get a lot of “press.”
Men struggle with home-work balance just as much as women do, but few men are going to talk about it publicly. Men need social support to sustain their emotional, spiritual and physical wellness, yet they often do not establish these relationships. Research shows that women still out-number men in initiating social plans, seeking behavioral and proactive medical care, and consuming available self-education or other resources aimed to enhance their wellness.
Men who actively do, however, have a competitive advantage over those who don’t. Men who understand their own emotional needs, blind spots, trigger points, and desires, tend to more readily address them. They tend to practice communicating in ways that connect emotion to action, and they tend to socially address the needs of others.
Research has shown that men who do not spend time investing in self-examination and self-care are more likely to think, feel and act selfishly. This is not due to a character flaw or lack of integrity, it’s because they have been led to believe that their emotional needs come after the needs of their work, the task in front of them, their significant other, their children. Spending time and money on self-development has been taboo for men for quite some time, not only because it’s falsely seen as unmanly but because it feels “selfish.”
One of the reasons I wrote The Letter Code is to give readers easy access into their emotional psychology. Without using jargon, diving deep into social attachment theory, or imparting moral judgement, the guidebook gives readers passage into an area that is often off-limits or confusing terrain. Readers who go there gain a language that helps them not only understand themselves but is easy to translate to others.
What we are trained in is what we practice. What we practice is what we default to. And what we default to becomes who we are. It’s time for us to train our hearts as much as we do our bodies and minds,
I believe men want to be leaders who live, serve and love from their core. They want to be connected, and balanced. It’s up to us to invest in accessible opportunities and resources that guide them towards this progressive outcome.
I’m hopeful The Letter Code can join other resources out there designed for this specific purpose.