We have all been there, wanting something but afraid of asking for fear of rejection or shame. The shame comes from what we are asking for. In our minds we feel stupid to have to ask, yet unless we ask the need or want goes without being met. What we are asking for can be as simple as being heard, being seen, talking, physical contact, validation, or a number of things we might need in our own personal lives.
The funny things is that those things we are needing and wanting are the same needs and wants of those around us. I have learned, much to my surprise, that most of us are pretty much alike and desire the same things. Often times we feel isolated from others feeling that we are weird and strange for the things we want. And most often others are struggling with the same needs and wants and the same fear of asking.
I hear men often complain about not having that close connection with other men or people in general. I hear often of men that just ache to be hugged and held once in awhile, yet go through life aching and feeling miserable that the need is not being met. Not only men, but women struggle from the same thing. Lack of connection in life brought on by a multiplicity of fears.
Since this blog is about men, I will direct my thoughts to men and the needs that men have, although is also applies to women. Women do tend to have an easier time asking but not always. I have discovered much to my amazement that pretty much all men want to connect in a deeper way with other men. Men that struggle with SSA or SGA often think they are alone in the need to connect with other men. The reason I bring this up is that most men want and crave a deeper connection with other men, beyond the casual pat on the back or how is the weather. Perhaps not in exactly the same way, but I have a feeling that if truth were to be know that if one man approached another man that is a good friend and expressed the need it would be met. There might be some discomfort to start, but I have found that it can happen and will if we take the step to ask.
Asking can be hard. I will be transparent here for a moment. I love hugs. Even more than hugs I enjoy being held once in a while by a man. Many say that it means someone is GAY, but I disagree. I was raised in a home where there was absolutely no man to man contact. I ached to be hugged by my dad. I have a deep need to feel that connection with men. I have many friends and have shared that with them and to my surprise I can get a good hug from most of them.
I hurts my heart so hear of men that have a need to connect in any way and it cannot be met. It also brightens my day when I hear stories of men that step outside of their comfort zone to feel the need of a friend in need or of a man that stepped outside his comfort zone and asked for what he needs. I have heard stories of men that have asked and because of asking have had wonderful experiences in being blessed by other men. A couple of my friends that really struggle with the need to be hugged actually have Bishops that will take the time to hug them and on occasion hold them. Now that is the standard worth looking at.
We have to get over the homophobic and sexualized fear of touch, hugging, and holding. Just because you might not understand the need of someone else, be careful how to judge and look at that person. Just because a man wants to be held does not mean it is geared around sexual desires or thoughts.
As is have stated before, I grew up in a home where it was devoid of touch. I never really had friends in school and the touch I did get was from being beat up or abused. I craved the need to be hugged, held, and touched by others. I am a touchy feely person and it was really hard not to be able to express myself in that way. Now as a grown man I enjoy hugging and yes I will admit that I have held hands with friends. Don't be shocked, there was nothing sexual or inappropriate in the action, just a comfort level of being with someone I enjoy being with and a deeper sense of connection.
I also enjoy hugging men and being held. It can be very healing and comforting to feel the strength of a good friend with his arms around me.
It did not just happen for me to get to the level where I am now. It came from me learning how to ask and get over the fear of rejection. Yes there have been uncomfortable experiences. One in particular was a home teacher we had years ago. He was visiting us and mentioned how men just don't hug men. My wife was worried at that point. She said she was thinking, "does he realize who he is talking to". He got up to leave and I stood up and walked up to him and threw my arms around him and hugged him. He immediately froze and stiffened and literally clinched his fist. I really thought I had gone to far that time. It took a moment, actually a few until he softened and said "I guess it's ok coming from you." I am happy to report that to this day he not only hugs me, his hugs are embraces. Sometime we just need to act and teach. I think he was my home teacher to learn that from me. I certainly learned a lot from him over the years and love him like a brother.
Asking is hard, but take in consideration that what you are asking for the other person wants or even needs, even if they don't know it. We are all on the same journey in life. Trying to fit in and be happy. I have learned that the things I struggle with most often are the same exact things the person next to me is struggling with. As we learn to be open and transparent with others we not only get our needs fulfilled, but in the process we fill the needs of those around us.
My hope is that we can be more open to the needs of those around us and be more open to asking what someone needs and not being afraid of filling the need, even when it is outside of our comfort zone. It works both ways. Those needing need to ask and those being asked need be sensitive to the needs of those asking. And often times we really don't need to wait to be asked. Ask first is there is anything as a friend we can do. We can work on creating open transparent understanding relationships between each other and as we do this the fear of asking can dissolve into understanding and joy.