Harden up Wuss, What are You Made of! Real Men & Putting on the Tough Act

by Josh Campbell (20), university student, New Zealand


All I can remember from my childhood years – when I think back to them – is forever getting a strong message that if I am to grow up to be a real man

  • I must be tough.
  • I must be hard.
  • I must be rough.

But the most hurtful and deeply felt ones of all were that

  • I was not allowed to be ‘soft’.
  • I was not allowed to be ‘cherishing’, ‘nurturing’, ‘feminine’ in any way.
  • That feeling things was not OK because men, that is real men, don’t have ‘feelings’.

What I was sensing from others (particularly from other men) as I was growing up, was that feelings are for ‘wusses’. They are for soft people who can’t live in this world and that real strength comes from what you can do physically, never from what you can feel. This type of strength may come through being physically mighty and being able to lift and push the body, or it may come from lots of hard work through your academic life to be super smart and bright at what you can do. Whatever way it comes, it is still the same message: ‘You are a Machine… you do not have feelings’.

This meant that things like being able to cry, or showing hurt or any ‘soft’ emotion was totally overruled by this immediate reflection of being a ‘wuss’ or a ‘pussy’.

Real men don’t cry – They don’t shed tears when life gets tough or things are too hard. Real men are asked to push hard. To push on and force themselves to the next level regardless of the feelings that they may have. They are asked to totally ignore their own bodies because real men can ‘handle the pain’.


I remember being at school one day when it was wet. We were having a whole school assembly that day which they had scheduled to be outside because they had thought it was not going to rain that day. It was OK at first when we were outside because the rain hadn’t started at that stage. However, I do remember it was cold.

Well, it began to rain and we were asked to sit through it because we were not sugar cubes and we “could handle a bit of pain”. The rain was only light so it was not too bad, but when I was sitting there in the cold in my summer uniform, it was painful. Not painful because ‘I couldn’t handle it’. No, I could handle it. I lived through the experience and survived! But at what expense?

It was painful because I knew in every cell in my body that what I was being asked to do was not loving for me. It was not honouring of me because every feeling in my body was telling me this was not right and I was being asked to override it because otherwise I would have been a ‘wuss’ or in this case, a ‘sugar cube’, if I hadn’t.

I could feel that other people were also feeling the same thing: that this was not honouring of the truth that they were feeling inside them. I could feel that others were overriding their feelings. Some were even so good at it that they did not appear fazed at all by the rain and cold conditions. I felt alone. I felt that my voice was only speaking for me and not for everyone and that I would have been seen as a sook for not handling the conditions if I said anything to anyone. This was because I felt small and isolated as everyone else was choosing against honouring or even acknowledging what they were feeling inside them. If I had said anything about how I was feeling to anyone I would have been the ‘wuss’ of the school. Speaking up about how they are feeling is not something a real man would do, is it?


We get this reflection every day from both men and from women. I know a lot of people [‘real’ men and women] who I meet on the streets, in the shops, at the university – they are hardened by life, unfortunately. Most are studying farming at the university but it does not really matter what they are studying, they have all had to go through a process of hardening to not be labelled the wuss in life.

But what does this mean, to be the wuss in life? We are not at school any more so we are not going to be labelled as the ‘sugar cube’ in front of our peers, or as the ‘wuss of the school’. So why keep the hardening going? Why continue to be the machine with no feelings instead of honouring our feelings?

What if the hardening and bullishness we felt at school has never actually stopped since we left school and we have instead adapted to a way of life that is constantly avoiding being labelled “the wuss in life”? Maybe we have got so used to it that this seems to most to be the norm in life. I know from experience that in many workplaces the so called ‘office politics’ and the ‘office silliness’ that goes on is actually like what I felt at school. The true fun and play-full-ness that many of us have had with our peers as youngsters before it was seen as ‘wussy’ behaviour is not experienced, much less lived, every day in these office environments.

We get ingrained with this mentality from young. Both men and women feel the same pressures at school. After all, in my case, there were both girls and boys at this assembly so it was not just a masculine thing… women too were being asked to override their feelings. They would have also been labelled as ‘sugar cubes’ or ‘wusses’ if they had stood up for what they were feeling.

Women and men feel this pressure in different ways, but it is still asking them to do the same thing… to override their feelings. Men feel this pressure often more directly. We are asked to be ‘strong’ in life by ignoring what we know in our hearts to be true.

Men are seen as childish and labelled as irresponsible and as ‘boys’ if they don’t harden up and grow up in life. What if being ‘real men’ is not really growing up at all but is really a process of honouring and deepening your connection with your feelings? To not be hard. To not be tough. But rather to be the gentleness and tenderness as a man that as a child he always knew he could be?

What if being a real man is not wussy at all…

What if being a real man was actually really empowering because the real strength of a man was never found in what he could lift or pull physically in life, but rather from the love that comes from within him by knowing who he is, from what he feels inside him?

Inspired by the work of Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon

402 thoughts on “Harden up Wuss, What are You Made of! Real Men & Putting on the Tough Act

  1. I can feel that critical ‘don’t be a wuss’ arise in me, it is so deeply ingrained. I was sent to boarding school when I was six and experienced the ‘only babies cry’ derogatory expressions, so I learned to cry silently under the pillows and never in public. Most of us have had a similar experience where we were actively discouraged from expressing what we truly felt. Even at the ripe old age of 68 I sometimes hold back to avoid criticism, although I am learning to express whatever I feel to and not care about the possible reaction. It is very liberating!

  2. The “Harden up!” people need you to be affected by their rhetoric. If you just laugh at them or, worse, aren’t affected at all, then they really don’t know where to go from there.

  3. Finding ourselves in a dire circumstance will show that it’s not our muscles or money that gives us strength but the essence inside of us that is eternally beautiful and cannot be diminished by anything.

  4. Now that I have re-connected to my tenderness it feels so horrible to be ‘hard’ though I lived so many years believing that was the way to be successful as a man. Oh how we have been tricked.

  5. This reminds me of the phrase “being true to oneself”. What if this was the way of being that was supported in life rather than being what is expected of us.

  6. It’s like we’re asking men to ignore they body (as in toughen-up and not feel when something hurts physically) and also ignore their sensitivity or any emotion that may come up for them – but this stops a man from having any chance of being able to truly process whatever emotion may have come up, which cannot be healthy.

  7. Great you bring this topic up Josh. Reading it I can clearly feel the consciousness which wants people to believe that men need to be strong. I can feel that I am not clear from that consciousness too, even though I love men being tender there is this part what for so long loved men to be tough. So sorry guys, there is more to let go off so we as women can be of more support to open up to this tendernes.

  8. A wise man said the other day that every man is female inside. Wasn’t that just an eye opener to feel the level of sensitivity that every man is within.

  9. I remember being around 5 years old walking with my family on the beach. They all were older and after a long walk I would say that I was tired and wanted to stop but then the family looked as there she is the weak one. I had to walk more. I remember how lovely I felt and not met in my feelings. And knowing it is no use to express. The idea/belief kicked in more and more.

  10. Now I have discovered this tenderness in me, it’s a horrible feeling to be hard, restricted and withdrawn. It takes hard work, love and space to open up again. Your words Joshua encourage me to honour what I feel more deeply and to absolutely treasure this flow inside me, to the point that I never want to sabotage or let it slide again.

  11. I have worked along side men in an industry dominated by them for a long time and what I have noticed is a softening of their behaviour. May be because I’m getting older or for another reason but now when I talk to men they are much more willing to admit they are really softies at heart and they appreciate someone seeing this part of them and they are able to relax as they don’t feel an expectation to play a part.

    1. Could it be that you have changed and they feel safe and not judged and can therefore open up?

  12. Standing in the rain in summer uniforms , sounds like a story from a prison camp, its hard to believe its a school in New Zealand.

  13. The expectation that we put on boys to be tough and hard have created generation after generation of men who cannot express their true feelings, this has reduced the quality of marital relationships and is then this contracted version of how to be a man is passed on through parenting to create the next generation of same as.

  14. I like this part about what is considered as ‘dealing with this world’ and what is not. Because maybe the man who is all hard in his body and unable to express himself, his feelings etc. is the one who is struggling? Maybe it is in the dealing with, that we are left without. Maybe it is not about managing or coping at all, maybe life is about finding joy.

  15. Josh this is a great sharing that allows me as a reader to feel the impact that ‘tough’ has on men. It is so sad that we know how to override what we feel simply because it is not ‘ok’ to be who we are. I am blessed to know men who are deeply tender and loving, and it is gorgeous to observe. But it is about allowing this from both men and women and showing that the real us is sensitive and tender.

  16. Joshua thank you for sharing such a ‘close to home’ topic, one where we get to really see how society has setup what ‘real-men’ are and boy oh boy have we got it back to front. Men, from my experience, are tender, gentle and deeply loving – why are we asking them to be anything but that?

  17. This is such a great topic to open up Joshua. Everyone in the world could be experiencing the same feelings, emotions or anxieties on the inside but feel completely isolated that they were alone in this if we didn’t actually talk about what’s going on for us!

    1. Susie, I can so relate to what you are sharing here. From childhood to young adulthood that is precisely how I felt and I didn’t talk about how I was feeling for precisely that reason – I felt totally isolated! However, if I had dared be honest about how I was really feeling I would have realised that most others would have felt the same.

  18. This pressure to be a certain way – both men and women alike, we think that that is how others would accept us, but I am one of the ‘others’ in other people’s life, so do I embrace everyone, including myself, as who we are, allowing, accepting and appreciating ourselves to feel and express everything we feel?

  19. Men have the feeling that being tough with softies helps them to protect themselves as a group. What in true they do is to shoot themselves in the foot by eliminating the reflection of their true nature.

    1. Yes, such men are simply insecure in their masculinity and try to hide this by attacking others. Seeking to be a part of a group or gang with other same thinking men supports them to think that they are right.

  20. It’s sad when you hear adults saying to young boys that they should harden up or that they should not cry. Just the other day I sat with a six-year-old who was not well and stated several times that he wanted his mother. Only to be told that he was a big boy and didn’t need his mother. I just sat with him and honoured the fact that he was vulnerable and then the following week he rushed up and flung his arms around me.

  21. Ironic that instead of wanting to be called a wuss for making choices that care for ourselves we end up cowering and hiding under layers of armour and protection of hardness.

  22. I love how you point out that you could handle the situation but that that is exactly what hurt.
    We are made to believe that we need to handle life instead of living it from our innate tenderness and the love we feel inside for everyone.

  23. Imagine a superhero being upset with having extraordinary powers. This is how absurd it is that we shy away from our feeling senses. We have made them a subject of guilt when they are a key part of our true essence. Thank you Joshua.

  24. It is such a weird idea to think that real men don’t cry. I wonder who came up with that notion because it is so far from the truth. I work with lots of men and whilst they may pretend that things do not hurt them they are very sensitive and hurt just as much as women do. What a disservice we have been doing to our men in believing that they need to be tough.

  25. We have all lost touch with what a real man is in the same way that we have lost touch with what a real woman is. As a result we are in a heck of a mess as a species. A species where no one knows who they are is not a recipe for success.

  26. I have read few articles about how we are raising young boys to be quite hard and protected recently. It was quite compelling to read it ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ so to speak and to hear your first hand experience of it. There was a real sadness that came over me when I read your words, about how society is raising our young men (and women) to not truly honour themselves.

  27. I hope we see a change of attitude to bringing up our young men much the same as with gay marriage, women’s rights etc a lot can change in a generation. I feel that allowing bits to remain sensitive, tender and open would significantly impact our lives in so many ways I would predict a reduction in domestic violence for one.

    1. Its true, it is amazing what can be achieved in a single generation and perhaps we are the generation that will change the world? We certainly have the opportunity. Or we can leave it to others in the future. Our choice.

  28. Many times we have experienced that showing our vulnerability and fragility was an opening for ridicule and attack and yet hardening and toughening up is not the answer either.

  29. The problem starts when we start to see things as normal in life when they are actually not. Like sitting in the rain with no proper rain clothes on or an umbrella is not normal or healthy, it is very normal to feel this in this way but that is something we don’t confirm often to each other in life. Yet it is important to start voicing these things so others who feel it too but may not feel confident in expressing this so can be inspired and confirmed.

  30. I am continually shocked at the pressures that are placed on boys from such a young age to harden up, not to cry, be a man etc. And I can see how challenging it must be for a boy to begin that hardening up process when it is going against everything that he is feeling inside. But I can also see that boys make the choice to align to these societal norms so they can fit in and to not stand out as being different. But as you ask so wisely “at what expense?”. From what I have observed the expense is huge.

  31. It would take enormous strength for a man to go against the current norms of society so that they can remain their tender, sensitive selves. This to me is real courage.

  32. Bringing men up with these ideals and beliefs leaves the whole world at a loss for the tender, loving strength men bring.

  33. And you would think that something like this is such an old paradigm that it would not happen in this so-called enlightened age… But literally it is happening to millions and millions of children every day all the time. Any man who knows that the true quality is tenderness needs to stand up and be seen in all their beauty now.

  34. Beautiful Josh, the true power of a man is to have the strength to appreciate and share his tenderness with all and in doing so inspiring others to connect to their own tenderness.

  35. True strength to me is the ability to love and understand others no matter the circumstances. True strength is to surrender, to let love in, to invite others to see your fragility.

  36. In fact the whole world is set up to not allow men and women to be who they really are. We are fed all kinds of images, ideals and beliefs of how we should be and behave through our parenting and education systems. Although there are also real good things in parenting and education we must not close our eyes for that what we, mostly unconsciously are fed with. Can you say you are still the same as how you where as a child, only now in an adult body? I certainly not as I am experiencing the impact of all the held beliefs, images and ideals day in day out.

  37. If we teach kids to override their feelings – what kind of world do we create? One where the truth is second to the bravado or face we put on? Essentially it’s teaching kids a dishonest, uncaring and disempowered way to live. Whereas teach a child to honour how they feel and live from that and you’ll have an amazing human being.

  38. It’s beautiful to be with a man who is not afraid to express his childlike qualities. Who connects wth how he feels and honestly shares from his heart.

  39. It is straight out abuse to ask a man to harden up because more and more I see the sensitivity and tenderness in men and to ask or rather demand that they not live true to who they are is abuse.

    1. This is very true Elizabeth however if we condone abuse with ourselves by virtue of withholding our true expression, we will accept such a withholding in another because it does not expose our errant ways.

  40. For ages I thought about hardening up to be a man as relative only to topics like sport, drinking and working hard. But now I have started to see our precious delicacy begins way before that. It’s in the way someone speaks, or holds their body around you, or even the way they move. If this isn’t about Love and adoration we know is true then we often react. This is the true depth of sensitivity we know. Your words here Joshua help me understand why we as men struggle in this world, but also the amazing power and awareness we all know.

  41. It has been absolutely beautiful watching my Brother in Law let go of all these hard intrenched beliefs of what its to be a man and to realise that this wasn’t him. To see how naturally sweet and tender he really is and for him not to be cautious of showing this. I Love spending time with him and how joyful and playful he is because of this.

  42. Embracing, understanding, allowing and celebrating just what we feel is a huge breakthrough for men. For so long we have been sold the idea that coping or tolerating with all sorts of things is a definition and symbol of strength. Today we know as you expertly show Joshua that our power lives in our willingness to feel – everything. If only we started to champion this as much as we do our favourite sports team we would see the real game that has been played on humanity for so long.

  43. This is huge – important – real and finally revealing the truth of what is going on in our world and the tenderness we are missing – as we have made the opposite our standard.. So equally for men and women there has been no true education on this – to be living from our tenderness.. Observe this truly, because that can change our world.. All we need is our willingness to see the drops of truth and wisdom that are there to be seen and lived by – our delicate, tender and precious us.

  44. When women or in truth any one us who have not accepted the tender, delicate nature of their own sensitivity we will not accept or appreciate this quality in another. Women can equality be tough, hard and rough as a form of protection.

  45. Everyone in society loses more than we have let ourselves compute or admit by castigating men and young boys into the toughie basket where ‘feelings are for ‘wusses’’ and not for real men. The tenderness in the real man that lets his sensitivity be who we he is, has the power to melt the toughest and coldest machine – and as a woman it is that solid holding that communicates so powerfully that it is ok to let myself fully surrender and not push or try, but simply be the real me.

  46. What I know is true is that now that I no longer endeavour to hide my feelings and appreciate my tenderness I feel far more a ‘real man’ than I ever did trying to be the ‘hard man’.

      1. Very true, Kim, however, until one appreciates one’s tenderness one does not realise this and keeps believing and striving to full, the belief that being a ‘real man’ is by being hard.

      2. Totally agree Jonathan, men are very blessed to have men such as your self offering the reflection of a tender man, so that such consciousness can be broken.

  47. It takes *real* courage to be able to say – call me a wuss or some other silly name but I won’t change what I know is true.

    1. I have witnessed that it is the man or woman who has not accepted his/her own sensitivity that is inclined to throw around words like ‘wuss’ or any other denigrating name towards another. It is from their protection and sensitivity.

  48. To me a real man has always been one who was strong enough to express love. To me this is where true power and strength resides.

  49. Great question Josh, What if being a real man is not wussy at all…, through Universal Medicine I have met several men who know exactly who they are, they are very connected to themselves and have no difficulty expressing exactly how they feel, and there is so much love in their expression too, there is a huge strength in the way they are, and they are definitely not wussy at all.

  50. You are right Josh, toughening up and bullying does not stop at the school gate – it’s a way of life we’ve all accepted as the norm – women too. I can see from your story how much harder it would be for men to reclaim their tender selves. At least for women there is some scope, some acceptance, for fragility.

  51. “What if the hardening and bullishness we felt at school has never actually stopped since we left school and we have instead adapted to a way of life that is constantly avoiding being labeled “the wuss in life”? Maybe we have got so used to it that this seems to most to be the norm in life.” Most definitely Josh, where I work it is mainly women but they too have that way, and I’ve even had someone say, “he needs to toughen up” and this is about a 11/2 year old boy.

  52. It must be so tough for men to be who they truly are in this current world we live in. All the hardness they are expected to be and live in, the expectation that they don’t cry when they are as sensitive as women are. There is so much that we can all learn from each other and that is to just be allowing and not treat each other with such expectations, but understanding.

  53. It is so very, very sad how we expect and impose upon men to be tough strong and stoical, and to suppress the naturally tender loving beings that they truly are.

    1. I agree Elizabeth. We lose so much as a result. When a man lets himself be the truly tender and sensitive man he is – that is what melts us. That’t when we feel truly held to let ourselves be, and drop into the preciousness we are as women.

  54. Thanks for the insight Josh into the ways in which men (and women) shut themselves down and harden up to people and life. It is no wonder we are able to become so seemingly insensitive to the harshness of so many of life’s interactions. I have always like the analogy of the baby and how it is we start out… with that level of sensitivity and responsiveness to that harshness remaining intact underneath the toughened shell of protection we present with on the outside.

  55. For a long time I have felt and heard and seen that men are, as you say Joshua not as tough as we seem. But still what persists is a sense that this world around us is not ready to see a man who embraces his true delicacy, his tenderness, his effervescent feminineness. But is that actually true? And have I lived this way and seen what may take place? For we need inspirations and role models who don’t subscribe to hardness and building outer walls. It hurts us every day to continue to live in a rigid and protected way. So I don’t want to apologise any more for the sweetness and sacredness I have in me.

  56. it is interesting to see that in many ways and in different circumstances we are constantly fed with idea that you must and can override, or even ignore your feelings of tenderness and delicateness that men and women both equally have and carry in their bodies. We all know these situations where we have felt like Josh, that we are asked to shut down that connection with our feelings and instead become hard and tough, but why is this so and do we continue with living that ignorance to our essence in our lives?

  57. Your tenderness and sensitivity are lovely to feel Josh, honouring who we are in truth is so important, ‘What if being ‘real men’ is not really growing up at all but is really a process of honouring and deepening your connection with your feelings? To not be hard. To not be tough. But rather to be the gentleness and tenderness as a man that as a child he always knew he could be?’

    1. Great question, ‘What if being ‘real men’ is not really growing up at all but is really a process of honouring and deepening your connection with your feelings?

  58. Thank you for sharing Josh how boys are raised to be hard and tough, I can say that this is also the case for some girls, it was certainly my experience as I was growing up, ‘‘You are a Machine… you do not have feelings’.This meant that things like being able to cry, or showing hurt or any ‘soft’ emotion was totally overruled’, thus setting the pattern to go through life in protection until we choose to heal this false way of being.

  59. I would love to see this paragraph hanging up on every building site, hospital, GP clinic, various workplaces etc to remind us all that there is a lot more to men than their physical strength –”What if being a real man was actually really empowering because the real strength of a man was never found in what he could lift or pull physically in life, but rather from the love that comes from within him by knowing who he is, from what he feels inside him?”

  60. This was the most timely and wonderful blog to return to today as this has been a topic that has been in my consciousness for a few weeks now. As I observe the young boys around me heading towards their teenage years I can see them slowly beginning to ‘harden up’ in some ways but then they can just as easily be very tender and shedding a few tears doesn’t faze them. I know that they are heading into a world of hugely ingrained beliefs as to what a man ‘should’ be and there is little I can do about that except to continually acknowledge their innate tenderness and their sensitivity and honour them for who I can see they truly are.

    1. Interestingly it is their sensitivity and them not knowing how to respond to the demands from the outside that make them harden up. It is quite crazy.

  61. Working in a school I get to see how our youngsters have already developed their toughened personas. It’s tragic that we don’t nurture and allow that natural tenderness that is in all of us, but learn from such a young age to hide who we truly are. Thank you for opening up this conversation Josh. It’s something we need to keep talking about.

  62. Sensitivity is not a weakness, that is for sure, everything about it says true power. It is a complete lie that many of us are still towing the line to that hardening up makes us strong. Incorrect. When we feel and are willing to feel everything available then we have access to wisdom beyond us and our physical life – this is true power.

  63. Sensitivity in men is often seen as a weakness and we tend to bury our sensitivity to show we are a ‘real man’. This ‘real man’ image negates many of our natural qualities like tenderness and gentleness. At school there was much peer pressure to prove your manliness – sport was one way of doing so – but I also felt I had to prove myself sexually. It was a time of great conflict in my life because I felt deeply sensitive but the pressure from my peers was such that I also felt I had to override my feelings and just prove myself in their eyes and be accepted. The fear of rejection was very intense. To meet other men, like Josh who know their innate sensitivity is very healing and honouring of the true sense of self that has always been in me and will always be so.

  64. Thank you Josh, for expressing what so many men have experienced. Our feelings have a true purpose and when we deny or negate them we negate something important. We are sensory beings for a reason and our senses work together to communicate with us about how to make self-loving choices – if we listen to them. I know that we never stop feeling no matter how hardened we become and the decision to start listening to them once again, rather than burying them, has opened communication once again and a connection to the deeper wisdom we can all tune into within.

  65. Just the other day, I had a phone conversation with someone at work that I had never met before, and how he spoke – the tone, the speed, what he was saying – everything about him was just so tender and I actually went into a bit of comparison and felt exposed that I was more in a male energy than he was. It was a bit of a shock, but a beautiful marker nonetheless, that there are men who do not hold back their tenderness and unreservedly inspire women to come to their own tenderness too.

  66. The hardening we experience on all levels in our society to me is a response to the lovelessness that its in as when I bring in love, this hardening is actually not there and are people prepared to show their delicateness and tenderness without any restraint.

  67. I see the hardening of boys every day and work with the most ‘difficult’ in my job. These boys are always the most sensitive, sweet and vulnerable children. The overt messages that boys are not allowed to cry or be gentle is abusive to their true natures of tenderness and the innate strength that comes from being in touch with that tenderness.

  68. ‘What if the hardening and bullishness we felt at school has never actually stopped since we left school and we have instead adapted to a way of life that is constantly avoiding being labelled “the wuss in life”?’ – The separation from what is true starts so early in life and continues through our formative years and then we go out into the world and are faced with more of the same. Boys particularly are pressured to be all of the things you have mentioned Joshua denying the loving and nurturing natural way within. This highlights the awareness for me about where this unhealthily cycle can be interrupted so we can start to change what is happening, stop the reinforcement of separation and make our focus re-connection and brotherhood.

  69. From experience I would say men are possibly even more sensitive than women. Sensitivity is not a sign of weakness.. AT ALL, in fact it takes enormous strength to honour ones sensitivity at times.

  70. It feels like society is scared to nurture gentle tender men and honour our natural sensitivity, because the power of such a man is so much greater than what it is we have been nurturing in asking men to be unnaturally tough and hard. And such a man ask questions by his mere reflection, and exposes that which is not equally being lived in others, both men and women.

  71. Being a tender, sensitive man is so powerful, and to be able to show that in the world is the most amazing role model for all of us..

  72. This is so important to talk about with so many men committing suicide in fact in the UK it’s the biggest killer of men under 45. We need to really change the way we are bringing up our children so that they are able to be themselves in their vulnerability.

  73. Josh, what an exquisite blog exposing how boys are raised into hardness and unable to express feelings incase of being a ‘wuss’/ The tenderness in which you now choose to live your life is palpable and felt in every word you write. Thank you.

  74. There is nothing more powerful than being who you truly are, and who we all truly are is deeply loving and sensitive.

  75. It is beautiful to see men like yourself Josh allow your natural tenderness and gentleness out – once viewed as being a sign of weakness in a man it is now reflecting to other men the power and strength these qualities hold.

  76. An exposing and true expose Josh on the expectations, ideals and beliefs imposed on boys and men in our modern society; such a sad indictment. However as you have pointed out these ‘norms’ are not the true nature of boys and men; it is men living and inspiring as you are that will change this culture.

  77. Who are the real men? The one that put on act and hide their sensitivity or the one that show and express what they really feel and think? Regardless what other people think of it? I would say that THIS is real power.

  78. Men are the most sexy beings when they just be themselves and let go all those believes of what has been told to be.

  79. Spoken like a real real man Josh or should we say True Man? For in truth we are all deeply sensitive and tender and it often takes courage to connect to and express that in a world that asks us to be everything but who we truly are.

  80. You can live a life as a tough and courageous man, and you will get through intact – probably. However, what is difficult to understand when you live from behind such a guard is what you are missing out on, and what a relationship with your own tenderness actually can offer you and others. That in itself is quite a bridge to get across. However, once across it, you wonder what ever took you time to get there.

  81. What I am starting to see, is there is always an opportunity to share in a tender way the thing I am feeling. This doesn’t mean I have licence to blurt imposing words out, or indulge thoughts or beliefs I know are not true, but to express how my body feels inside, right now without trying to put on a show. I have never seen this way of being fail, but the other extreme ‘toughness’ one has certainly lead to a lot of hurt for everyone. Thank you Joshua, for your beautiful sharing and offering the opportunity for men everywhere to unlock their inner feelings.

    1. I agree Reagan. And it starts when they are little boys – I watched it happen to my own son. However he has had amazing support around him in more recent years, that has allowed him too to reconnect to who he is and to not be afraid to express himself in his true essence. But although there are many who do not have access to this kind of support, at least there are men in the world today who are now living who they truly are, and how beautiful and deeply inspiring this is, for all men, boys, girls and women alike.

  82. And in really connecting to this inner knowing of the true quality that I hold within and the sadness in me having signed onto the ‘norms’, it is even more encouraging to work on appreciating our essence as men and work on uncovering the beauty that we all hold.

  83. Beautiful blog Joshua, it is indeed a very ingrained way of life for many men to stay in the hardness that we all have set as the norm to be a man. And it is so much more inspiring to see a men that is not going with this trend and have the courage to stand in his own sensitivity.

  84. The longer I live, the more I can see that my life and relationships are transformed when I am fragile and prepared to go deeper with me. As you so beautifully show Joshua this is the direct opposite of what we are told – thank you so much for speaking up and helping men everywhere to break the hold these ideals have on us.

  85. Wow what a great blog inspiring me to take a look at how I don’t want to be a wuss still in my life. I remember how boys were teased by saying to them ‘don’t run like a girl’ etc. and I was determined to ‘show them’ I was bigger and tougher. I really went to town on this one and am slowly accepting myself and my fragility. And the beautiful strength I have is when I am honest and allow my vulnerability because it’s in those moments I reconnect with me and the strength I hold in just being me.

  86. This is a great question that you are asking here Josh – “What if the hardening and bullishness we felt at school has never actually stopped since we left school and we have instead adapted to a way of life that is constantly avoiding being labeled “the wuss in life”? Maybe we have got so used to it that this seems to most to be the norm in life.” I completely agree with this. I work in health and I see men for example who are living in such a way that there is a symbolic fortress around them in order to protect themselves from been hurt or rejected. When this is the case sometimes the only way to get past that fortress is to develop an illness and disease that brings you to a point where you are prepared to not worry about what others think of you but instead focus on yourself and how life is for you.

    1. I totally agree Elizabeth… its like having an illness or disease gives them permission or an excuse to drop the facade and to show their true selves – their vulnerability, fragility, tenderness and care… and this can be the same for women as well!

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