By: Logan Cohen, Professional Therapist & Online Life Coach - Balanced Man Plan Online Life Coaching for Men
For hundreds of thousands of years, Men have been the primary Hunters & Warriors for our Family & Community.
These roles still exist today, but under different names - “Provider” & “Protector”.
These roles have been SO important for Men because Men cannot create Human Life in our Body, so we HAVE to protect the Women of our Family & Community if our species would be able to continue.
Over time as our species developed, Men remained much more physically powerful and also adapted much wider shoulders so we could throw objects - making Men MUCH more effective at our Hunting/Warring roles.
While the ability to throw an object overhand with high speed is specific to Male Human Beings, many other species are similar to Humans in our arrangement of “gender roles” - with the Males being more physically powerful than Females of the same species as a result. In fact, this is much more the rule than the exception - especially with mammals.
Along with the influence of nature & evolution on the physical Body of Men, Men also developed an ability to GET PUMPED UP - then also calm down a lot more quickly - than our Female peers.
This is usually a surprise for many People to learn because we get so FILLED with a FALSE belief system that, “Men are just dumb jocks who get resources & fight”, that we don’t also have feelings! This could not be FURTHER from the truth.
Studies have actually shown that Men are “more emotional” than Women in that the “Hypothalamus” - the part of our Brain that determines a threat and signals a stress response to the rest of our Body - is MORE active in Men - NOT less.
This means that with relatively less agitation, the Brain of a Men is much more likely to perceive a threat and dump cortisol & adrenaline into our bloodstream - resulting in a FIGHT/FLIGHT reaction. Men are actually MORE emotional!
This goes against many old assumptions & false belief systems about Men “being less emotional”, but it actually makes a lot of sense once we think about it.
The creation of modern technology allows us to see a threat coming from miles away - sometimes even weeks, or months out - depending on the type (weather, political, disease, etc).
This is also a brand new development, especially when you consider how long Human Beings were here on the Planet before the Industrial Revolution, let alone electricity in every home and now, artificial intelligence in our pocket with smartphones.
Before modern technology, we had minutes - sometimes SECONDS to get the news that the antelope are herding, or that the neighboring Tribe is coming to kill us and our Loved Ones - so we BETTER GET PUMPED - and FAST!
Men that were slower to get upset & agitated as quickly did not survive as well, and neither did their Communities because it was more likely that their Men would be less successful in battle and/or on a hunt.
Isn’t it weird that there is such a basic assumption around Men being less emotional, while in reality it is actually the OPPOSITE? Would you like to know WHY?
It comes down to our culture - and by “our culture” I am referring to general American Culture - largely borrowed from Western European countries like England, France, and Wales.
These countries were the main Powers responsible for colonizing the New World, so their leadership has had the most influence in shaping the foundation for the culture in those places they colonized.
These traits were very helpful for the authority figures of our history to continue centralizing and protecting their power, so the social & cultural traditions carried on through the times of isolated farming communities until very recently.
There are actually many similarities between American Culture & Australian Culture because they both came mainly from the British Empire - with a STRONG dash of tough frontiersman mentality - independent, emotionally restricted, highly competitive, risk taking, and ruthless in the name of “taking care of business.”
These social & cultural traits for Men are often referred to as characteristics of “toxic masculinity” by social sciences over the last few decades and recently, the American Psychological Association (APA) went as far as to make a formal statement with treatment recommendations for practitioners here.
We prefer to use the term “Traditional Manhood” because there are some BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING aspects of Manhood, but some of these beliefs that have been passed down to us about what it means to be a “Real Man” and to “Man Up” are downright DANGEROUS.
In fact, the gender-specific recommendations for mental health support of Men could not have come a minute too soon.
Over the last 15-20 years, the mental health of Men has deteriorated to such as degree that suicide, drug overdoses, and alcohol toxicity - a category of fatalities called “Deaths of Despair” - have claimed the lives of so many young Men that it has driven down the life expectancy of American Men over the last several years.
Can you imagine this? As science and western medicine continue to develop new “cutting edge” technology each year, the average lifespan of Men has DROPPED more years than not since 2015!
Women are continuing to live longer lives, but Men are dying younger and younger - largely due to self neglect, social isolation, and substance abuse as an attempt to numb the pain until eventually taking one’s life - either directly through suicide or indirectly through overdose.
It does NOT have to be this way and in fact - this SHOULDN’T be happening at all.
As Human Beings, us Men come programmed to be thinking and feeling Beings who NEED satisfying and meaningful relationships with other Human Beings - just like our Female peers.
We are taught as Boys that a “Real Man” proves their value & worth by “being successful” - as evidenced by winning in competition against others for an external rewards from the outside world - rather than personal satisfaction and fulfillment.
Boys are taught that “Intelligence” is about reason/rationality exclusively and that Emotions make a Man “flaky” or “soft, and of course that a “Strong Man” proves their toughness by showing NO FEAR - NO PAIN - in the face of hard times. And a request for help? Boys are taught asking for help means that we are “weak & dependent” - not worthy of social respect and a high quality mate.
When these traits of Traditional Manhood are on their own and/or less intense, they can be helpful and adaptive with intentional use.
On the other hand, if a Man is using several of these at one time - or does not have good enough impulse control for whatever reason - you can see how a situation can get dangerous.
Men have feelings too - just like any other Human Being - and those feelings are a big part of our overall health and well-being.
We have emotional experiences because they help guide our moment to moment experiences and resulting decision-making in a way that allows us to stay connected to our Personal Integrity - the “guiding light” of our Life’s Purpose - as well as inform Healthy Boundaries so we can stay connected to Friends & Loved Ones at the same time.
This type of balance can only be created when we have a FULL range of Emotional Intelligence to bring it all together, but these social and cultural lessons are not available for most Boys growing up.
And if a young Man does not know how a full range of Emotional Intelligence can be used to guide Purpose & Passion, then how are they supposed to be aware of the possibilities?
The short answer is “you can’t know what you don’t know,” and unless you have lived with Monks in a monastery for a year, volunteered with Peace Corp, or sought “enlightenment” through some other Journey, most Men are literally lost in the dark.
Are you ready to turn on the light? We will keep it on for you and your Loved Ones -
My name is Logan Cohen and I am a Professional Therapist & Life Coach with over 10 years in the field of Counseling Psychology. I am a Clinical Supervisor for the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy, as well as the founder of New Leaf Counseling Group, LLC in Charlotte, NC. After spending tens of thousands of clinical hours with my own clients, starting a successful group practice, as well as a beautiful Family, I “picked my head up from the grindstone” to check in on childhood Friends & Loved Ones.
I painfully discovered that more than a few of my childhood Friends passed away at a young age from preventable health conditions and decided that as a Man, Husband, Father, and Friend, I could no longer stand by as People suffered in silence and self-destructed rather than ask for help. It doesn’t have to be like that and the holistic healing methods offered by the Balanced Man Plan is designed to help People “get unstuck” and break free from old patterns that are the barriers between Self & quality of Life.
The Balanced Man Plan is a therapeutic digital experience delivered through Self-Guided Coaching Plans created by a Male Therapist with the common barriers & strengths of Men in mind. The Balanced Man Plan has the goal of introducing a natural Balance back to Life so it is sustainable for the optimal Health & Well-Being of Self and Loved Ones - and ALL from the privacy and comfort of Home. If you have enjoyed what you see so far, check out our Self Guided Coaching Plans!