The phrase man up, grow a pair, suck it up are often misused when we think about it. When I have been told to man up in my life it has always come at a point when I was being overcome with emotions. It was used as a phrase to get someone to shut down how they are feeling for one of two reasons.
The first one is because person A is putting a task in front of the needs and well being of person B. This is super common in our world. For so long we have looked at our "work" as who we are and what we are worth. Let me just say that someone still needs to work, they need to provide for themselves. I am saying that we can value our "work" too much. If your working in a horrible environment but you are building a beautiful house or you are the top sales guy at your place; what is that worth? Does that make you worth more than someone who is doing their best but is not successful at their job? No it doesn't and stop telling yourself it does. That mindset puts blinders on us and we don't care about someone around us struggling. We are quick to tell them to man up and do better. This is so incredibly destructive to someone who is dealing with something so hard that it may be affecting their day to day life. You telling them to man up only makes them want to suppress even more and now adds to Person Bs stress as they are worried about their performance on top of what they were already battling. As people we need to do a better job at caring for others, you don't need to invest in every person's life you interact with. You do need to be mindful that your words, actions and attitude can have a lasting effect on someone.
This leads me into reason number two, I think we use the phrase man up as a lazy way out. If I come up to you to start talking and start to share my problems out of the blue, I am crying out for help. I am sure we have all been there on both sides. We are just hoping someone will take the time to listen and care. I have also been on the other side where someone as come up to me and I have a list of things to do and I don't want to talk for a while so we put the ownership back onto the person to solve their own problems. When we do this we are being lazy and missing the point. Our friend that approached us didn't want us to solve their problems, they were in need of someone to care about them. They wanted to know they were not alone.
When we say man up we think about pushing through and just getting by, but I would argue that manning up is showing your emotions. I think figuring out what's bothering you and pushing through what you're dealing with by dealing with it head on is what being a man is all about. I want my son to grow up not seeing a man as someone who can just get work done, because that is easy. You can suppress everything and not feel and than do any task no matter how much it sucks; but a man that can talk openly about how he feels to his loved ones, someone who isn't scared to be vulnerable. I want him to see being a man isn't about just being the toughest person it's also about being humble, I like to think of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. I don't think it is about washing my friends feet but it may look like being soft and gentle with a child, loving and caring for your wife, or being kind to a friend in need.
I don't know about you but in my experience getting help and dealing with my mental health is ALOT harder than just shutting down my emotions and moving on. Caring for friends and family is ALOT harder than just telling them what is wrong with them and how to fix it. Men need to work toward being stronger not physically but mentally. We need to work to understand who we are, what we are dealing with in side us. We need to care and love ourselves before we can care and love others.