I remember being told to 'Toughen Up' on a number of occations. It wasn't that I was particular 'soft'. It was more of a generic way of Men and Boys trying to shape me/us in the way they felt was right.
What was the signal being sent though. What is the programming? Somehow, in order to fit into the peer group and meet expectations you have to be tough. The sentiment was meant to reinforce and be of help, no doubt. But what underpins the sentiment is an assumption that to overcome the inevitable challenges that life will present us, we must be stern, perhaps confrontational and maybe violent if necessary. That may seem a bit extreme, but consider this practical outworking of the 'toughening up' process
Traditionally a Soldier has to be able to stand firm in the face of impossible odds. Leave aside any ideological reason that may drive an individual to take up arms. Thats the exception to the rule. That young man (There are more women soldiers now of course, but that was not the case for most of our history) has to be unquestioning. The months of being shouted at to do tasks that seem pointless or excessive in thier banality and the expectation to man up and be a tough guy is that logical extension of that peer pressure pointed out in paragraph one above. You may not then have to be shouted at to hold your ground.
That there are many men who have pushed back against this is truly amazing. The horrendous suffering of the wars we have seen - particularly the Total War over the past century, with all of the photographs, poems, books and then TV and Film footage.
The late 1960's was a dangerous time for proponents of the 'Toughen Up' paradigm. The assertiveness of what was then called The Womens Movement, Anti Vietnam protests and the challenge to conservative notions of just about anything set in train what I would call the softening of society.
Thankfully some of that thinking is still there and I believe that the ethos of kindness and giving back is growing again. Even the most hard-necked Captialists understand that they have to soften the edges of Sales Campaigns and the adding of Value is now at the centre of the most successful marketeers.
So, to avoid trends slipping backwards we have to consoidate the value centric approach and coninue to soften society so that cooperation always trounces confrontation.
Allure Naturally and Allure Wellbeing are the Online Businesses set up by Vincent Wood to Practice What He Preaches.