When you were a young boy, you were probably very comfortable expressing grief over your losses. When the wheel fell off your favorite choo-choo train, you cried. When you lost your beloved binkie, you cried. If you had a pet that mysteriously disappeared one day, you cried and cried and cried.
All of that crying was helping you to process loss in a way that was meant to bring you wisdom about the bittersweet realities of the world around you. Those emotions were meant to help you build emotional resilience.
At some point in your boyhood however, you likely stopped crying — you weren’t a girl or a baby after all — and anesthetized yourself to all of the feelings of disappointment and sorrow that went along with it.
You didn’t make this up. It wasn’t really a choice. You got the message from so many sources that said this, in one way or another: Big boys don’t cry.
Rick Belden talks about how this process impeded your maturation and your ability to fully embrace your own humanity. In this episode, he and Dan talk about ways you can finally start to process grief and discover a kind of strength you never knew you had. They ask us to consider the idea that, maybe after everything we’ve been through, the real truth is that real men do feel grief and sadness. Real Men, in fact, do cry.
About Our Guest
Rick Belden is a respected explorer and chronicler of the psychology and inner lives of men. He has been writing for most of his life and has been using creative expression, dreamwork, personal mythology, and listening to the body as tools for self-healing since 1989.
His book, Iron Man Family Outing: Poems about Transition into a More Conscious Manhood, is widely used in the United States and internationally by therapists, counselors, and men’s groups as an aid in the exploration of masculine psychology and men’s issues, and as a resource for men who grew up in dysfunctional, abusive, or neglectful family systems.
Rick’s poetry and essays have appeared in multiple books and on numerous websites around the world, reaching an international audience of many thousands of men and women. He helps men who are feeling stuck get their lives moving again by drawing on over 25 years of experience exploring men’s issues, masculine psychology, and recovery from abuse.
He lives in Austin, Texas.
Mentioned In This Episode
Men’s Group Directory on Psychology Today
Essay: Men and Grief
Essay: What If He Cries?
Poem: tears never cried
Song: Comfortably Numb