by Kenneth Braswell

Recently I’ve been struggling with identifying how I’ve been feeling lately. Which is an oddity in itself because men aren’t suppose to care or acknowledge how we feel. We’re just
expected to act on it no matter how it turns out. Lets ponder for a second that
there may be many of us who are actually in tune with our feelings. Men that
recognize that there is more to life than just how we can power our way through
issues and problems. The kind of man that understands that everything can’t be
solved by a kick or a punch.

Lets also agree that the standard of masculinity dictates that we be strong and to even admit that we might have feelings in many circles is a huge sign of weakness. Thus we are challenged to struggle and even suffer in our silence. It is in these dark places that men
make decisions about the impact of these feelings on his performance. Noted
psychologist Carl Pickardt, PhD says “Achieving a winning performance at all
costs is how many men enter stress.” So given all that, the question still
remains for me, “what the hell am I stressing about and is it wise to
ignore it?” How can I possibly ignore the tension in my shoulders and
constant headaches?

As a Black Man there is so much
to be stressed about. It starts in the morning while checking your social media
platforms. You find yourself caught up in the barrage of social drama and
chaos. Most of which has absolutely nothing to do with you (directly). You
consume repeated images of tragedies you can do nothing about but respond in
comments or “like” buttons. This craziness on top of the anxiety of stepping
out into a world to which you feel like you have no control over your fate.

Here’s an example. A few weeks
ago my car registration expired on my car. My wife forgot to renew it; not that
its her job, but its a responsibly she has accepted in the course of our
household needs. So my car was not registered and I still had to go to work and
other things. I don’t expect her to conceptualize the stress I have driving,
because as a Black Man, any police officer in that situation had the absolute
right to pull me over. So every time I saw a police car my anxiety rose because
that’s the micro aggressor that today’s events has created for me. In addition
to putting me in harms way each and every time I got behind the wheel of my
car. An “oh I forgot,” for one person can have a dire consequence for another.
Yet that’s a feeling that I have to pack away because one would say I’m being

This issue crystalized for me and
gave me a little insight as to what I was feeling; disappointment. Not for this
particular situation, but for the things that have disappointed me over my life
and how recent events and the way in which we as a community have responded
(for the most part) doesn’t give me a great deal of hope. Which I believe is
our responsibility to give our future; HOPE.

Disappointment is an interesting
emotion, because it normally occurs as a result of what somebody fails to do,
that you either expected or desired. It’s often created when you give someone
or something your trust. In essence, allowing you to be vulnerable or handing
over a measure of control. A chillin thought, huh?

Who wants to give up control of
themselves? Especially when the prospect of disappointment waits to pounce at the
very moment you let go. Let’s face it, life is full of disappointments and thus
laced with a boat load of “I’m sorries, apologies and my bads” Unfortunately,
one after another. One might say to you, “so get over it.” I don’t think so. I
was watching an episode of Blindspot the other night and in an exchange of
conversation someone utterred the words, “I’m sorry.” To be followed up by an
intriguing response; “I don’t need your sorry, I just need you to make sure it
doesn’t happen again.” #dropthemic

As good as that sounds and you
might want to say; we know where that conversation can go. Lets not forget,
that was TV. So I would suggest trying what research, common sense and a
relationship counselor would say works when you are feeling disappointed and
stress ensues:

Take deep breathing,

Speak to yourself positively in
order to stop angry thoughts,

Find and do things that make you
laugh or smile,

Engage in productive ways to
communicate how you feel, and

Make plans to change the
condition that creates the negative feeling.

Every morning you wake up, and
place your feet on the floor, LIFE happens. Change the impact of
disappointments in your life by changing the perspective to which you interpret
them. Men and Women can learn a great deal about each other by changing the
lens to which we see each other.

Kenneth Braswell is the Executive
Director of Fathers Incorporated. He can be followed on twitter at

Posted by Fathers Incorporated

Fathers Incorporated (FI) is a national, non-profit organization working to build stronger families and communities through the promotion of Responsible Fatherhood. Established in 2004, FI has a unique seat at the national table, working with leaders in the White House, Congress, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Family Law, and the Responsible Fatherhood Movement. FI works collaboratively with organizations around the country to identify and advocate for social and legislative changes that lead to healthy father involvement with children, regardless of the father’s marital or economic status, or geographic location. From employment and incarceration issues, to child support and domestic violence, FI addresses long-standing problems to achieve long-term results for children, their families, the communities, and nation in which they live.

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