Home Empowerment It’s Okay to Feel What You Feel.

It’s Okay to Feel What You Feel.

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I thought this was cool. Oh yeah, feel what you feel.

So last week on my personal blog, I wrote about a guy that I went to school with who recently took his girlfriend’s life before taking his own. Since writing that post, there hasn’t been a day that’s went by where I haven’t thought about how the news unfolded, the range of emotions I’ve felt, the details of what happened, the girl’s family, the fact I knew the guy, and all the other people impacted by the tragedy. I wasn’t close with the guy and I didn’t know his girl, but the impact that it’s had on me would lead you to believe otherwise. I also found out that a contact of mine’s family member has cancer. Not a direct effect on how I live my daily life, but I was impacted all the same.

On a more positive note, I was watching some reruns of America’s Got Talent. One contestant, an attractive some percentage black opera singer, talked about how her man had passed away and she hadn’t sang since. Her appearing at the AGT tryouts was her reintroduction to the mix and pursuit of her dream. She knocked it out with her performance and advanced to the next round. I felt genuinely impacted like she was someone I knew personally even though I had just known her for a few seconds.



They also featured this dance group composed of three 8-10 year olds. Their enthusiasm for dance was obvious and the pride on the faces of their mothers’ was evident. One of the moms was shedding tears of joy after their performance and the announcement of them making it to the next round. Once again, my life wasn’t directly affected but I was internally impacted. (Pause need be necessary)

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Would I have been as impacted by all of these happenings 10 years ago? Maybe, but probably not. I was younger, less emotionally mature, and a lot more concerned with me, me, me. There were things I didn’t understand about terminal illnesses and the impact they have on families. There were things I didn’t understand about mental and emotional health issues, and how not getting those addressed could have disastrous consequences. I didn’t really know how few kids would have the chance to make it out of their neighborhoods to do great things until I moved to Harlem. There was just a lot I didn’t know.

And as I continue to get older but certainly not elderly and I will take down the IP address of anybody in the comments section of this post that says differently, my empathy continuously increases…for the most part. In the past, I’ve really tried to not concern myself with the situations of others at a deep level. I don’t say that in an “I’m a carefree asshole” sorta way even though I have been known to be a carefree asshole at times. On some days, it’s just a matter of what side of the bed I wake up on and who’s on the other side but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, I just mean I used to hear about unpleasant circumstances, acknowledge their shittyness, then keep it moving. But now…

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I sometimes feel peaks and troughs of emotion because of someone else’s situation. If something positive happens to someone, I feel genuinely happy for them. Sometimes it even feels like it’s happened to me. On other occasions, the news is the antithesis of “happy times” and I feel like a conduit for the emotions of all those impacted. Not that I’m trying to turn this into a sci-fi summer blockbluster post, but I really do feel like I’ve become some sort of X-Men character with the mutant power of feeling deeply for and what others feel. I used to try to suppress it, but I failed much more often than I succeeded. The valuable lesson learned from all this?

It’s okay to feel whatever it is you feel. It takes a lot more energy to suppress emotions or feelings than it does to let them be (in most cases), internalize, understand, and decide on a course of action moving forward need be necessary. If you wanna be happy for someone, be happy for someone. If someone’s tragedy causes you pain, feel the pain. If you’re locking yourself away at home and fighting through feelings you can’t understand or interpret, talk to somebody. Trust me, you’ll feel better.

How about you? Have you become more empathetic over the years or have you grown more callous and desensitized to others? Any other thoughts? Do share.

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Pisces Bawse,

In NYC? On June 29th, come join me at Human Intonation’s Protection is the New Black: Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell. It’ll be an interactive discussion on sex, relationships, protection usage, and other topics. For more information on the event, click here.

Comment(59)

  1. Intriguing how people feel the need to take another's llife & then take their own…

    I know as I grow older, I tend to judge less, and be more understanding…

    And it is nice to cry every now & then…

    Enjoy

  2. Empathy and emotional maturity is what turns boys into men; and girls into women. It's all a part of "growing up". I've felt the same way, and have come to the same conclusions..

    You went deep on this one, my brother!

  3. As someone who is dealin with molestation 12 years after the fact, I wholeheartedly agree. Pain is heavy, but it's not permanent. Sometimes it just takes someone sayin that it's ok to feel sad and to let things out. This was a good read.

  4. Congrats on your catharsis, Slim.

    Emotions and feelings are the most poignant and visceral part of my character…but God forbid I would show these emotions in public. Tis my problem. Of course, filtering is wise, but I filter them even from loved ones.

    I'm a time-bomb of emotions during stressful events, and one touching clip/story/movie/song, sends me over the edge…and this is such a time!

    I also heavily empathize stories of strangers or mere associates, especially when it relates to death. Death always always makes me pause and ponder. It could've been me. It should've been me. It would've been me. (or a loved one)…If it wasn't for His Blood. Grace. Mercy.

  5. I thought the article was not only moving but put a true meaning to the saying" With age comes wisdom", which is a loaded statement in itself. I recently had a friend to committ suicide approximately 2weeks ago today, and let me say it has been and will be a rough process. But like you it has caused so many of my male friends to express themselves in a way that would move anyone to tears. Unfortunately a majority have felt the need to add " No Homo, lol " to the end of their expressions. So kudos to you for expressing something that so many men around your age are surely feeling but not willing to share.

    1. Wow! I have been going through something similar. One of my bff's committed suicide last year. It will be a year August 13… she had just turned 31 the previous month.

      The thing is I knew she suffered from depression and sometimes I feel like I should have been there for her more. Helped her to lift her mood or something. But I guess I thought she would always be here. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that I would never see her again.

  6. WISE WORDS. Always thought the best way to get control of your emotions was to accept them and admit that you are going through it. Don't try to paint a situation a different color. If you are jealous just say so. Don't try to cover your tracks by adding weak logic to your emotions. It makes your emotions harder to deal with.

    You are better off calling a spade a spade and asking people to work with you during a tough time than rationalizing why the world should be more favorable to you.

  7. I love how you put emphasis on how others people emotions can affect you and how that’s ok and can be at times very positive. I know when I’m feeling down and out I spend times with my friends and their smilez usually bring me back to life. I give them a shoulder to cry on and in return they give me theirs.

    I know when that news story that came out about the lady who drove off the bridge with her 3 kids in New York, I even felt all types of ways and I didn’t even know those ppl .Unlike most ppl I know I felt sorry for the mother because I know she had to be suffering with a lot of mental anguish to take her children’s life. They said she let the oldest son out the car before she drove it off and said sorry. So I can’t even begin to think how the oldest son feels. I also think ppl underestimate the power of therapy and meditation. I know at times it can be expensive but for the people who can afford it, if you don’t know how to deal with certain feelings you should look into.

    We also have to teach our sons how to deal with anger in a positive way. In my house we let my little brother get his feelings out especially anger, whether it is through talking or letting him get it out through drawing. When he gets mad he goes and draws or plays video games.

    1. I think most folks with healthcare coverage can go to something like 20 sessions a year and pay whatever their regular doctor visit copay is depending on what plan they have. I've found that a lot of people don't even know the option is available…or they just don't care to see it.

  8. Hey Slim, I've stalked this site for ages, and I've never really commented, but I just want to take some time off to commend you on your writings and the many different views you've been providing to people online regarding various issues that might or might not hit close to home.

    Thanks for doing what you do continuously, and as much as you enjoy writing them, I'd like to say, I enjoy reading them more. You go deep man, and I've learned a great deal of things from your posts. So I hope you keep doing what you do for as long as you can !

  9. I've never been heavily emotional but watching a death on a tv show or reading it in a book will get me bawling. It wasn't until I started my summer job that I realized how much ignoring feelings could build up into something. I hear about domestic violence situations for 8 hours a day and in order to get my work done I have to be out of my feelings but sometimes I just come home and cry for people. Sigh.

    Good post.

    1. I feel you with having to be out of your feelings in order to get by through the day. Last summer I went down to Haiti along with 11 other volunteers to work at a hospital in Port-au-Prince. Seeing a lot of the victims post-earthquake was really heavy on the heart especially kids who had a leg or an arm amputated. Walking through the maternity wards and talking with mothers who don't have money to pay for medication for their babies. There was one day we walked through a neighborhood and just held a therapy session with the folks in that area on the grounds of where a home once stood and as we stood there listening to a ten year old girl telling us about how she lost her father and we started fighting hard to stop the waterworks. No lie, like two tears fell down my face. At the end of our first week we hit up the grocery store one night and bought bottles of rum and liqour and got wasted on the rooftop of the hospital. Keep in mind, we were just a bunch of college undergrads. During our stay at the hospital it was necessary to just be desensitized to all the pain around you but as soon as the weekends came we released everything we had pent up inside. By the way, Hello SBM community. I found this site earlier this year and been reading yall blogs ever since and enjoy them to the fullest. They are always insightful as well the commentary. Keep doing your thing.

  10. "How about you? Have you become more empathetic over the years or have you grown more callous and desensitized to others? Any other thoughts?"

    I have definitely become more empathetic over the years. I use to be a selfish person and not care how my actions affected others. I learned that my actions never ONLY affect me, but everyone around me. I really do know that if more people thought about the consequences of their actions, good and bad, the world would be a better place. Ya know, “do unto others….”.

    I appreciate this post Slim because as I stated before therapy is the field I will be in very soon. I understand the power of talking and getting concerns and worries off your chest. Stress and unexpressed emotions cause cancer. Talking to the right person will heal the soul. Stay away from a 'yes man' but keep an objective person that will be honest with you no matter what.

  11. <blockquote cite="comment-316502">

    CHeeKZ Money: Always thought the best way to get control of your emotions was to accept them and admit that you are going through it

    AMEN!

  12. I remember some months back, MTV had a show geared around HS kids. The show was all about getting kids who normally wouldn't open up or speak to each other to talk about their past, whether it be health, family, bullying, whatever. I was so ridiculously touched by the show, that I sat there in tears. From the outside it probably seemed like I was just having a feminine emotional moment. But in reality, the show had really affected me as I took a deeper look into other people's lives and how their personal situations affect them their social life, mental health and overall well being. I then proceeded to text some of my closest friends, male and female letting them know that in case I never told you, I love you. It was odd of me, cause i'm far from the mushy type, so they all were wondering what was up. But nothing was up, I just wanted to let them know, in case I never told them.

    But despite this, I still try to maintain a certain distance from people's situations. Sometimes when we have friends who are constantly down and out it is like they become a leech on our soul. I'm always striving to find a balance with two of my friends who seem to be perpetually sad. I refuse to let their bad situations become my situations, particularly when it is on going. But random stories always seem to catch me, and all I can do is hope that if my family or I end up in a similar predicament, I'd do all within my power to support wherever necessary.

  13. I'm quite the emotional person. I feel for others and I feel very deeply. It's both a blessing and a curse. I like that aspect of myself. I think feeling is apart of living life. To experience the wide range of human emotion is to experience life as it was intended for us to live.

    I remember this book I read as a kid, The Giver. That book was deep. I don't have time to go into the details but if you haven't read it just google it and read the plot synthesis on wikipedia or something. It's good shit.

  14. I'm not old(er) so I wouldn't put too much stock into my 2 cents. I've always been able to sympathize and empathize with others well enough. When it comes to my own emotions I'd rather deal with them myself. I have a hard enough time communicating with others when I even have a clear head, so going in flustered because I'm too happy, excited, angry, sad, etc. has hardly ever ended with any positive results on my end. I'm envious of the emotional purge that other's get. Though, I've come to terms with it really not being for me.

  15. Amen. I often feel that empathy is my super power. When I say, damn I really feel it for so and so that's exactly what I mean. I also have experience repressing feelings. Never ends well. Great post Slim.

  16. "It’s okay to feel whatever it is you feel. It takes a lot more energy to suppress emotions or feelings than it does to let them be (in most cases), internalize, understand, and decide on a course of action moving forward need be necessary."

    Whew… this is the realest statement EVER.

  17. I've gotten better with age but I still limit the majority of my emotions to family and (good/worthy) friends. I'm fairly emotionally stunted so I dont have the energy to get invested in every issue that ails the world. Although, with age, I have matured emotionally and find it easier to express myself to the few people I choose to express myself to. Actually just had a milestone with my pops not too long ago, which I wont detail here because that's between me and him but almost losing him to cancer was a very eye opening and humbling experience.

    Real talk, "growing up" is a b*tch. No way around it. I'm getting to that point where not only am I expected to take care of myself but I'm suppose to shoulder the weight of other obligations – folks getting older, being the responsible one in the family, role model, mentor, brother, son, uncle, and eventually husband and father. Part of this is the burden of being a man and the other part just comes with age.

    It is what it is.

    1. <blockquote cite="comment-316520">

      Real talk, “growing up” is a b*tch. No way around it. I’m getting to that point where not only am I expected to take care of myself but I’m suppose to shoulder the weight of other obligations – folks getting older, being the responsible one in the family, role model, mentor, ……..

      THIS! I feel you on being the responsible one – we are >>HERE<<. I found out 2 weeks ago my mom made me the executor of her will OMG! I perish the thought of any of it but its so reality!

      1. I feel you. Every time my folks travel, which they do all the time now that they're retired, they make sure I know where all the information is and how to contact the lawyer to get into the safety deposit box.

        MANNN I AINT TRYIN TO THINK ABOUT THAT SH*T. lol But…well, you know…

  18. Good mental health is extremely important for any relationship, including family relationships. I've definitely been "on the ledge ready to jump" and have had to let my mom, sister, son etc know that "I need a moment". Sometimes its as little as locking yourself in a closet and getting some quiet time, alone. Its definitely okay to feel any way you want but its the behavior (negative) that may come after which is not okay.

    I'm extremely empathetic and I get very distraught during tragedies but I have great coping skills (thank God). There are times when its so evident that I'm carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I'm a thinker and feeler, I can't help it.

  19. I think as Black men we are often taught either by society or by our environment that we need to suppress our emotions and feelings. A quick story, I grew up in a couple rough neighborhoods in DC, enn… I won't say that, because I can think of several worse. However, i've had friends and neighbors, close and not so close die of gun violence. A little while back someone was telling me how someone got killed in the drug game. And my reaction was nothing. In my head I thought, well if you sell drugs, I think everyone knows how that ends up in the end. My environment made me that way, how many funerals can one go to and shed tears on tears on tears before they start to lose a connection with that emotion? Is it ok to feel that way, because that's how I feel? Probably not, i'm sure most people wouldn't agree with that.

    On another note,

    You have people like Kanye West and Chris Brown and sometimes you have to wonder if they're given the space to feel how they feel. Funny how we tell people it's okay to feel what you feel but then tell them that they shouldn't feel the way they feel. Do these two artists act like jerks and brats? Yeah, but that's how they feel. People fall in love with an artist because of their ability to pour their heart & soul into their work and then get upset when they show their emotions when they are themselves upset. And i'm sure that many will argue that it's because Kanye and Chris take it to the point of disrespecting someone else in order to express themselves.

    So the next thought,

    Streetz touched on angry commenters or tweeters a while back, I believe Slim did as well. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, especially here on SBM, we get a lot of them. And sometimes people say some offensive stuff, and other times people straight up attack the author. I've gotten a certain empathy for people like Kanye and Chris because i've found that you're expected to take the abuse and the judgment and not react or feel any type of way about it. And what that means is "it's not okay to feel what you feel" if you are a writer on a major blog and have a comments section and write about how you feel about a topic and someone tells you to go f*ck a goat.

    That's what I learned.

  20. Tis true – in my "older age" I've become a complete cry baby. I had to stop watching " Extreme Makeover Home Edition" every Sunday I was a complete mess and I didn't know those people. Seeing new babies make me all mushy (i have no kids), I didn't think I wanted to have any but recently these little bastids have me all in my feelings UGH!

    Thanks for this Slim!

  21. I think it's great when people learn to accept their emotions and deal with them accordingly. It also makes discussing them with loved ones that much easier (on average, though not always). I've always been empathetic, but my problem is that it will last for the duration of the relevant conversation or viewing session, and my brain moves past it just as quickly as it's over with, unless it holds some personal relevance. As I've grown older, I've learned to reach out to people and follow up on their respective situations more. I try to make more of an effort overall. Can't do anything about the tv stuff, though. lol.

  22. I really love this post. In all it's simplicity, this is a very big part of a solution to a very complex issue our generation will inevitably face.

    As we attempt to achieve more sustainable solutions to secure the future of generations to come we are going to have to alter the way we think and behave. Without regard for others, which is hinged upon our ability to be empathetic, we will never be able to make decisions that are not based solely on our selfish ambitions but on behalf of mankind as a whole.

    Being sympathetic is tough though. We may have all heard that story where a man hears a story about a million people in China who are dead after some tragedy and he takes a moment to think about how terrible it is…but at the end of the day he doesn't loose sleep… But hearing that a friend talked badly about him behind is back the next day kept him up for days and days. It's all relative – and we are only human.

    Great post. Gives me the warm and fuzzies. * II *

    1. "We may have all heard that story where a man hears a story about a million people in China who are dead after some tragedy and he takes a moment to think about how terrible it is…but at the end of the day he doesn’t loose sleep… But hearing that a friend talked badly about him behind is back the next day kept him up for days and days. It’s all relative – and we are only human."

      This is true. Very true.

      1. Very very true. I book I read called "Predictably Irrational", by Dan Ariely spoke about this particular phenomenom. I forgot what term he used to describe it, but basically gave a similar example and said that is how the "Feed the Children" campaign with Sally Struthers framed their marketing. They knew if they just said a whole bunch of poor kids in Africa were starving that not many people would connect emotionally and therefore not donate. But, if you notice in their ads, they always talk about ONE specific kid…has the kid front and center and asks the audience to help (insert african kid name here) for just $1 a day. People connected and felt an emotional bond with said kid therefore increased donations followed suit.

        Think about it…there is genocide going on over in Darfur and that rarely puts a dent in our emotional psyce or makes it newsworthy, but Jon Benet Ramsey is still front page news after all these years and she's just one person. You can see how the title of the book makes sense now, lol…irrational situation…but very predictable.

  23. <blockquote cite="comment-316522">

    Dr. J: And what that means is “it’s not okay to feel what you feel”

    Maybe because people chose to only look at the rich and famous as 'pretty little things’ and not as an actual people. idk. Feelings make them human and we all know people who makes little gods of the rich and famous. Heaven forbid our entertainers become human like us! lol. This is why people get so upset when a celebrity does something…well…human.

    However, I guess it works this way in life in general. When you don't fit the description of what others made up about you…to them something is wrong with YOU. That is why it is important to know yourself and to have thick skin because who you truly are and how the world sees you at times will not be one in the same.

  24. I've always been an emotional person, and I've always felt deeply for others and what others miht be going through in their life. What I don't so is express my own emotions, especially as it relaties to those negative feelings of hurt, sorrow, pain, disappointment, sadness. I find myself not really expressing myself when those thigns occur in my life, but I feel it greatly when other people are going though it. Hell, I cried while readin Secrets in Memoriam, and those were fictional characters. smh… I think I express my own feelings by showing empathy for others. I cry for others when I can't seem to cry for myself or my family. Its interesting…

  25. Were all in a warm and fuzzy place right now, but I just had to mention that empathy is not an easy task for some! There are people who have had the worse things happen to them and they are still unable to empathize with others who have been through the same exact thing or worse. Its mind-boggling, but very true.

  26. What's really interesting to me, is that most ppl's comments are referencing emotions/being emotional with a negative context while most of Slim's examples were actually feeling positive emotions for ppl. I'll just comment on the positive.

    When it comes to other ppls success, joy, accomplishments, (especially for ppl I know) it usually motivates me to continue to work hard to reach my goals.

    But I'm not gonna sit here and lie, folks. Sometimes, I'm hatin'. Especially when it's ppl who don't work hard, don't deserve, feel entitled, or don't appreciate whatever they may receive.

    Example 1: I wasn't happy when Steve Nash won his 1st MVP. I thought other players deserved them more and I thought the league was just tryna prop up a white boy. (Nash is a dope player, btw.. but come on now… he aint deserve MVP).

    Example 2: Any money/accolades whack rappers with no respect are getting. Eff them for abusing the culture without giving back.

    Too many ppl I know are good, hard working, soldiers of the struggle who can't catch a break. I'd rather save my positive energy for them.

  27. <blockquote cite="comment-316522">

    Dr. J: My environment made me that way, how many funerals can one go to and shed tears on tears on tears before they start to lose a connection with that emotion? Is it ok to feel that way, because that’s how I feel? Probably not, i’m sure most people wouldn’t agree with that.

    It’s ok to feel that way because those are your feelings and they aren’t hurting anyone else directly. I understand where you are coming from it comes to a point where you become frustrated that the young men in your neighborhood (friends and family) see the end results of the drug game (death or jail) and still choose to participate and then become shocked when either one of the two happens. I feel the same way when I see someone carrying a "Free _____" t-shirt and this is the persons third time in jail. If he isn’t being wrongly accused then why should I feel sorry for him? I feel sorry about his situation but we all make our own choices we have to live and die with.

  28. I've always had a compassionate empathetic spirit. I sometimes get really overwhelmed by it–good, and bad. I don't think I've ever felt like anything was wrong with that though. Despite those intense feelings, often towards total strangers, I still have difficulty reaching out to people I know on a more personal level. Or opening up about things I'm going through myself. I definitely need to do better with that. you really never know what someone is going through and how you could help or how you can allow others to help you.

  29. I often times wish I was more emotional than i really am. Last time i cried was 10 years ago (Had to pull my moms off my lil brother from the abuse) and the flood of emotion I felt was nothing i ever felt before. Up until that point it was more so that my feelings were hurt or I was actually in pain. I feel so far removed from that level of emotion, i can't even fathom, nor want to, a situation where it would be reproduced.

    I will say that my empathy has increased over the years. A young lady i've been getting to know as of late just told me about a week ago that her lil cousin's gf committed suicide in his place. Prior to that he was apprehensive about breaking up with her cuz he thought she'd commit the act. I can't imagine the range of emotion, feelings, thoughts that has been going through his mind since then.

    In closing, I appreciate your ability to express these things in writing and stand proud in those feelings and have the gumption to write about it in a very interesting way. I'm glad i found this blog. I've been a regular since the 1st day I arrived and that's in part due to you guys ability to write candidly and with varying topics. *Kudos* to you fellas.

  30. I sensed your Pisces nature all through this post

    I've always been emotional but as I've gotten older I've learned how to deal with the emotions I've allowed others to make me feel. Like when I was younger, I used to get really upset when someone was mad at me. Not to the point where I'd go out of my way to make it better or continuously apologize, it would just make me feel horrible. Now I've learned that when ppl are mad at me, it's up to THEM to get over it, esp. after I've apologized.
    I no longer let things I really can't control get to me, I no longer let the opinions of others deter me from being ME
    I'm still emotional and sensitive, I've just gotten better with how I deal with it

  31. It's interesting that you wrote this. I've spent most of my life trying NOT to be so emotional and empathetic. I can't watch a sad tv show without crying (Friend: Why are you getting all worked up? It's fictional! Me: But it could be happening somewhere in the world right now! It's possible! *cries*) And in relationships, I would fall so easily, love so hard and (inevitably) be hurt so much in the end. Now that I'm older, (I think) I've learned to control my emotions so as not to be a walking puddle of feelings all the time.

    It's funny how men are raised to believe that emotions and feelings are bad, and only as you get older and more secure in yourself does it seem ok to become a more feeling human being.

    As you explore these new found sensations, I struggle with trying to push them back in. We're all just striving for a balance though.

    Hope I didn't ramble too long- loved this post.

  32. Not to interrupt all the thug hugs and tears, but is anyone else going to the Human Intonation’s Protection? I'm going and I'm curious if I should be on the look out for anyone.

  33. this is a good post.

    much like you, i was a carefree arsehole when i was younger. on a personal level, that is. i never knew how to react to someone's pain. i could be happy for them and excited for them, but i was seriously lacking in providing comfort when people turned to me.

    i've always been touched by broader world ails, like hunger, homelessness, touched by seeing reality stories on tv about someone overcoming obstacles… but my own emotions and those closest to me, it was a disconnect.

    as i've gotten older and experienced the wear and tear of life though, i've become significantly more empathetic and emotionally mature. i'm glad for this because could never really connect with people closest to me on any deep level. now i find myself rejoicing just as much, feeling just as proud, or just as sad as those who are experiencing it.

    still working on my own emotions, but that's another comment. lol

  34. Good read and great perspective.

    The "emo" stigma stops a lot of people from expressing how they feel. To feel is human and natural. Express yoself!

  35. I feel like I have gone through stages in my short 20 something years. When I was younger (preteens) I was considered emotional, but that passed and I couldn't recall the last time I cried. I never understood people who said they were crying because they were happy, BUT now I notice I tear up about everything! Just as you said Slim I cry about other people's misfortunes and achievements from the television. I would guess this started about 3 years ago; Its really crazy and foreign for me. Honestly its as if I can only experience emotion through watching other people. Whenever it comes to things that directly affect me I draw a blank. Its something I need to work on but I do find this new resurgence of empathy a start to better emotional health for myself.

    Great Post!

  36. "How about you? Have you become more empathetic over the years or have you grown more callous and desensitized to others"….absolutely! sometimes it totally catches me off guard too…

    loved this post…Real Talk at its finest….

  37. This is a fantastic post. As grown me we have to do our best to be in touch with our feelings, even though this usually gets beaten out of us as boys.

    Being an introvert, it can be hard for me to outwardly express empathy even though I feel it inside. I've gotten comments from my wife and others that I appear cold during such times, even though I am extremely affected on the inside.

  38. "Feelings or emotions are the universal language and are to be honored. They are the authentic expression of who you are at your deepest place." ~Judith Wright

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Greetings Slim (as well as the SBM Blog Community):

    I pray this message finds your soul enveloped with solace and peace despite the unfortunate news you've had to meditate upon concerning your friend (my condolences to his and his girlfriend's family…it is utterly tragic indeed, but I won't dwell on the sadly obvious; please just know you and their families are in my prayers for God's miraculous comforting, peace, and emotional healing at this delicate/shocking time).

    The title is what DREW me to this post. I have read MANY MANY interesting posts by you as well as the other SBM blogging gentlemen over the past year 1/2 that I have been a subscriber; usually I do not comment, not for lack of interest rather I just usually zoom on through, glance at a few posts, and zoom on away, never fully feeling compelled to issue a commentary (only a couple times to date). YET, today marked a time I HAD to leave my indelible mark on this informative forum, a place where I KNOW you as well as many others will heed the words I so deeply render and will do so with contemplation and reflection…my two purposes for posting right now. I thank you humbly in advance.

    A good black man who is near and dear to my heart is at a wake right now for his friend's mother (who also was like a mother to him especially since he lost his own biological mother a few years ago). I will call this man C for sake of expediency in writing this. I point out GOOD because I must pay honor to where it is due; he is a single father of two wonderful sons; he has full custody; he works diligently and daily rarely calling off; he gives to anyone who is in need who is near/dear to this heart (friends, family) without hesitation, and I say all this background because even with his full plate he has been at his friend's side all week: financially (although he didn't have it), emotionally (even though he himself was taking it hard) and spiritually (he asked me to pray and we agreed to pray together for C's friend). He told me today that he was sullen all day long anticipating with dread the wake; he is not one to show much emotion so instead he just kind of shuts down and gets "quiet" he said; but I shared with him many times that as your post title reads "It is OKAY to feel what you feel" and I would add "It is OKAY to show some emotions regarding how you feel whether that's tears or just acknowledging that yes you are sad/hurt/angry"…Emotional release is HEALTHY so I plan on showing him this post; I believe he will glean so much healing and affirmation from it that yes it's okay to show emotion. C is such a strong man for everyone else; I think he is afraid to let down that "strong exterior" for fear that others won't be able to rely on him; but just the contrary is what he needs to understand will transpire: by him releasing his OWN emotions it will make room for him to be a comforter for others.

    God bless you Slim for sharing this post, by far and to date, I feel it was one of your most poignant declarations, and I agree on a personal level also; that is why whether I am angry, disgusted, upset, sad, joyful, etc…I live in that moment and acknowledge it, embrace the emotion, and then move forward…amen.

  39. I just think this post was a nice way to start off the week. Nice to see a balance of issues regarding men being discussed Slim. Empathy is an important element of what makes people human. Empathy keeps me focused on the positive things going on with my life. Should I ever feel sorry for myself or feel my glass is half empty, I tap into the experiences I see my family, friends and community going through daily. That keeps me focused on what I do have going on. "It could always be worse". Emotional expressions (and/or lack there of) doesn't mean the person lacks genuine empathy. Some folks deal with empathy based on their level of comfort given the situation. There is no correct or incorrect way in going about this. If it's real, it's real. Consequences or not.

  40. ah……. Isn't maturity wonderful? 🙂 Interesting article, and read, about the inner workings of the mind and soul of a single black man. Love the "That's neither here nor there" comment about….uh, do we even remember who we woke up next to? Observatory, but non-judgmental comment. LOL LUV IT!!!!!!!!. As I said, I have never encountered such fluid thought in an "I ain't even sorry about it" kinda way. So, I'm going to spend time reading more of your thoughts. As a SBF I can relate….uh, to the emotions part ONLY!

    You don't have to get into the mix of someone else's life in order to understand that life. You just have to be willing to give a damn when they share that life with you. It helps you to grow as a person and broadens your sense of awareness of the plight of those around you. It by no means detracts from the man that you are. It does, however, add to the man that you are becoming. From the looks of it, you are developing into an intricately interesting one indeed.

    Read and respected 🙂

    *props feet up, leans back, and sips slowly on a deliciously bold Argentinian Cab Franc* Now, on to other, equally enlightening thoughts of the SBM…

  41. Slim, it's refreshing to know that you go deep as to feel other people's emotions. That's where the empathy starts. I have more often than not met men who don't feel much for others or worse feel jealous of other people's success and brush off other people's feelings unless they were in his closed circle. It just shows your openness to broaden your self and connect to people and situations around. That's one of the things strong, mature and beautiful men and women are about. Much loved the post.

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