Sensitivity – are men risking their health by dismissing their greatest strength?

What it means for men’s health when men display their sensitivity.

Sensitivity – are men risking their health by dismissing their greatest strength?

There is a prevailing idea that being sensitive and displaying sensitivity are signs of weakness in men. That being sensitive means you don’t have it all together, when in fact the opposite is our truth. We can’t live with vitality and be truly empowered as men, unless we embrace the sensitivity we possess.

Sensitivity is actually our greatest strength.

  • The myth that a tough man is more resilient than a sensitive one needs busting.
  • A man who does what the world tells him to hardens and becomes insecure – not knowing himself – he holds tightly onto ideals and beliefs.
  • This hardness and restricted way of life is not natural for a man and the ill way of being takes its toll on the body in the form of illness.
  • A man who reads the world through his sensitivity is much more resilient and able to cope with life's challenges because it is natural to respond to what one feels.

When we debunk the myth of what sensitivity means and explore the word, we see the normality and the need to harness it in our everyday living.

Sensitivity – to sense the world around us, attuned to what is going on and how we personally feel in relation to our experiences.

It is how we handle our sensitivity that either gives us that strength or leaves us in a weakened state by not feeling able to handle all we have sensed – a state known as hypersensitivity.

We can all recognise, however hazy the memory, the time as a very young boy when we were dismissed as weak, soft, or ‘girly’ when displaying that tender, sweet sensitivity.

From this moment on we often block and dull this sensitivity as we felt rejected by those around us, thus perpetuating a cycle of dismissing the feelings that we experience, creating a pretence that they don’t exist.

If we can accept this delicate nature was and still is our true nature, then we can begin to understand the imbalance that is taking place in men’s health when we shun this sensitivity and replace it with more dulling, often jarring behaviours. This will be a stretch for some men to consider, as the hardness of the behaviours that replaced the innocence of the young boy have become very ingrained and normalised, forming an identification that many perceive as safe and pleasing.

It is perhaps because we have removed ourselves so far from our truth surrounding sensitivity and what it means that we are blind to it being a strength. Consider the word ‘sensitivity’ in relation to men’s health and the prevailing statistics around male health outcomes[1].

Ignoring our sensitivity causes a hardening in the body, affecting the muscle tissues, the organs and on a micro level, the cells of our body; what effect does this have over time, physically and psychologically?

For many men it would be difficult to relate to this hardening as this has become so normal, but we can notice it when we take ourselves to something that allows us to feel our bodies, eg. holiday time, getting a massage, or even taking time to just completely stop and reflect. After all, how often do we allow even a minute to stop and feel where we are at with complete honesty? In such moments we can feel the tension we have created from blocking our feelings and the unease and tension this causes us to feel. In this we can know that our willingness to be sensitive is a personal choice we either embrace, or we block, and has a significant part to play in the wellness we experience.

Here are two points to consider around sensitivity:

Consideration no. 1: “you’re being too sensitive”

It is actually impossible to be too sensitive. What is commonly called too sensitive could be someone not handling the sensitivity they feel – this plays out as hypersensitivity – being reactive to cope with an issue. Or often the accusation of “too sensitive” can stem from the other person feeling threatened by the level of awareness being offered, and possibly exposed in their choice to block their own sensitivity…. which takes us on to point 2….

Consideration no. 2 – “We are all equally sensitive”,

Yet some people seem obviously more aware of their sensitivity. We are all choosing to be more or less numbed to the world around us and the feelings we constantly experience. It is our willingness to develop and embrace the equal sensitivity that comes through us that separates us in the attunement we allow.

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We are all equally sensitive

Exploring our sensitivity and what we do to fit in.

When we hear the poisonous phrases, “toughen up”, “don’t be a pussy”, “man up” – we can recognise that this is actually saying – don’t be willing to feel the pain of a situation, override it and pretend it doesn’t exist. That way you won’t expose the lack of care in the rotten construction of manhood that surrounds you that doesn’t want you to accept the truth of being a man who is deeply sensitive, naturally caring and tender to his innermost being.

It’s time to redefine some of our most glib phrases that dismiss our sensitivity. For example: “take it like a man” – it should mean: take it like a very sensitive being that recognises his own strength in feeling the impact of a situation on his body and being ok with allowing those feelings to be deeply felt, responding in accordance with what feels true within, instead of shaping to accommodate the insecurity and harmful behaviour of others.

And next time you get called “such a sensitive soul”

… you can consider that yes, you are, we all are, and this is something to be fully embraced. For to live fully sensitive means we harness our strength and start to live the powerful sensitivity we can all embrace as the future of men’s health.


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Men's healthSensitivityHardnessRejectionTruth

  • Photography: Rebecca W., UK, Photographer

    I am a tender and sensitive woman who is inspired by the playfulness of children and the beauty of nature. I love photographing people and capturing magical and joyful moments on my camera.