Films can be a useful tool to increase men’s emotional fitness. Movies can often ‘move’ us and touch us emotionally in deep ways and it often it feels safe to express tears while watching a screen in the darkness of a cinema. Films often demand an emotional response, seeking to connect with our commonality and humanity in a way that is accessible. Becoming aware is to reflect on why I responded or reacted to the film in a certain way.
Let me give you a personal example where I first learnt this lesson. Several years ago around the time my dad died, I watched ‘Billy Elliot’ and was deeply moved and became very tearful during the film and then sobbed afterwards. The relationship between the father and Billy was very touching and I think it connected with the way I felt about my father, who was mostly distant, unengaged in my world and had an inability to know or connect with me. What I found incredibly powerful in this film was the way that the father was able to enter into Billy’s world. He was eventually able to accept and support him in a untraditional masculine pursuit, putting to one side his own views. I also recall how I found the tactile and fun moments between father and son immensely emotional – moments that I was never able to experience with my own father.
So how did it help? It helped by highlighting these experiences of loss in my own life, naming them and allowing me to own them instead of project or distort these feelings. This awareness gave me a safe place to express these deeply held feelings allowing me to be with them, feel them and talk about them. The loss will always be there, but the ‘wound’ is not so raw.
Tip from the #ommcoach When you watch films try and be aware what is ‘moving’ you and what in your story those feelings connect with.