As technology advances, so does our understanding of the brain. The Mars & Venus differences of the 1990's have now been largely dismissed as we know that men and women think the same way, feel the same way, and process information the same way. It is the way in which we communicated that led us to the Mars and Venus conclusions. We then reinforced the stereotype because it was what we were told was correct so we adhered to that perception.
If you don't believe me, ask a man to tell you truthfully what he is thinking when he sees a puppy, a kitten, or a new-born baby for the first time. I'll tell you what he is thinking - "Isn't that just the cutest thing, gorgeous, beautiful". What comes out of his mouth - "If that dog pees on the carpet I will kick it outside", "That cat better not scratch me", or "Congratulations on your new kid, let's go and celebrate."
Science, through advances in technology, now shows us the true picture of what is taking place inside our brains. And we are mostly all the same, men and women, with just a slight variation being the circumstances into which we were born. Technology can also show us what we are feeling, our emotions. Emotions are something that all of us have, the exception being just a few people who were sadly raised inhumanely.
All of us have the same emotions, five of them in fact, divided into the following categories - joy/love/happiness, fear, grief/sadness, anger, and envy/guilt/regret. Notice how just one of them is positive, joy. The others are all negative which leads us to having a negative bias. This means we all have to work a little harder to remain happy.
So where did the Mars and Venus theory come from? It was the way in which we communicated that gave rise to it. Men communicated mostly from their left brain bringing unemotional logic to the conversation. Additionally, because it was uncomfortable for men to talk about emotions, they often went straight to the solution as a way of quickly end the conversation. Women use all of their brain - left and right - to bring logic (left) and emotions (right) when conversing. Yet we now know, and have always known intuitively, that men and women think the same way.
How did this happen, why did men stick to logic when communicating yet have always felt the same emotions as women? It is my strong belief that men learned to suppress emotions throughout evolution. If men showed emotion thousands of years ago, fear, we were killed by our enemies. If we showed love, we were ridiculed as not being 'manly'. If we showed grief, we were told to harden up.
Furthermore, why is it that women are underrepresented in depression and suicide? Because they talk about their emotions, they are unafraid to say how they feel, they communicate their issues to others. What do men do; they bottle it up, hold back their emotions, dismiss their feelings.
Communication began to change in the 1980's through medium, we no longer needed to talk face-to-face with others, we could send people a text message. This isolated us even further from human contact and made it easier to tell someone how we feel. Today, young men in particular, are unafraid to tell others how they feel. Often it is not done so in person, it is communicated through social media. They vent their feelings to the world only to later regret their actions which adds to their current struggle.
Men and women are so similar today in the way we think, feel, and now communicate. Young men are struggling with this concept of telling others how we feel yet it is a must if we want to overcome our struggles, we should be embracing it.
What else can men learn from women apart from talking about our problems, we can learn to hug. 'Men don't hug men enough' in my humble opinion. We once did thousands of years ago, if only to check to see if the other person had weapons hidden on them. Oxytocin is a strong chemical associated with bonding and is released when we hug, and oxytocin is known to have great physiological and psychological benefits.
So what can men do to help themselves - talk about their problems and hug, more so than they currently do. Men, tell others what you are thinking, tell others what you are feeling, tell others what you are considering. And, hug it out. Give your mate a slap on the back as you hug them if you want to make it ‘manlier’, just ensure that you hug each other more. A talk and a hug can do miracles to relieve your unwanted feelings.
Let's talk (and hug)!