In our culture, and especially the male culture, I often hear one should just “suck it up” and be cool about it.
What that essentially means is to not feel anything (apart from an acceptable level of joy), and should you dare to feel something, suck it up (man!) and keep your mouth shut.
I tell you something: that sucks.
Just because we refuse to feel and express our feelings doesn’t mean they’re gone. The game we’re playing when we “suck it up” is similar to what we did as little kids, thinking we were invisible just because we covered our eyes with our hands so we couldn’t see. Didn’t mean others couldn’t see us, did it?
What happens when you pretend to be an emotionless (and acceptably happy) upsucker, is that your feelings and emotions will leak out. Rest assured, they find their way, and when they do, they most likely are too big to handle. The results can be explosive outbursts, withdrawal into isolation, self-sabotage, and on the more extreme end, violence and suicide.
And then we wonder about family violence and high suicide rates. The ideal of “sucking things up” certainly plays a role in it, of that I am convinced.
As I write this I feel quite angry. I know I am not in a position to tell anyone what to do. So I don’t. I just won’t “suck it up”.
NB: Find a friendlier version of this article here.
Photo by Andersen Jensen on unsplash.