Hard shit happens to everyone. When something hard happens we have three ways we can communicate it:
1. Don’t tell anyone about it ever: “Life is good. Living the dream.”
2. Get through it on our own first, then tell our story: “I was in a really dark spot back then, but I’m much better now”
3. Tell people we are close to as it’s happening: “This is really hard. I’m not sure what to do. I’m scared.”
The first is the easy option. For a lot of men, it’s the default. It’s not a good option, though. It’s hard to get through hard stuff on your own, and even if you can, it leaves the people around us not truly knowing us.
The second is the most common option by far. I’d guess well over half of us fall into this category. It’s easy to talk about things after they are over in hindsight. It feels good to share. It leaves the listener feeling more comfortable too because they can relate to your story and be happy everything is alright all at once.
The third, in my humble opinion, is how to live. These are the times when I feel really close and connected to people in my life. It takes amazing bravery to reveal how hard something is while it’s happening. Not many people do it. It’s hard as the listener too. It makes us feel uncomfortable to know someone else is struggling. It makes us need to show up and be empathetic and truly listen and connect. That’s hard scary work.