Is it nature/nurture or just simply different biological composition that drives some women's hearts to "go out" to those who are in need of comfort and some men to ignore it? Is there something within the different bodies that enable women to know more easily how important and life-changing comfort and reassurance are when you're feeling small, that your words make a difference to someone else's wound (even a small difference), that this is important work to do for each other? That everybody is scared and that we need to learn to trust each other again, even on a provisional level, for social cohesion?
Perhaps it is because many women, either through disposition and cultural encouragement or a combination of both, learn how to do this for each other and so learn the benefits. Perhaps many women simply need it more than many men. Perhaps too because cultural placement still allows women to show their weaknesses to be salved - at least out of the boardroom - whereas it's still not really allowable for men to do so. It is not safe and therefore many men keep their shit to themselves to deal with. And a lot of men have a lot of shit they're keeping to themselves. A lot of men are miserable and in hell and in need of comfort and assistance and don't know what to do to change their situation ... and if you're hanging on by a thread with your own gaping hole you're less inclined or able to help others with theirs.
It is still not so manly to be a dispenser or a receiver of comfort, is it? At least for some men. I do wonder if comfort is still seen as women's work. They're the nurturers. And emotions are weak and have no place in the economy. If you are feeling weak and ill, then you need to deal with it yourself.
Which is entirely true. A child sustained by good parenting will grow up learning to salve their own wounds when they bleed. They will also learn to ask for help when they bleed a little too loud and not feel shame. That also is a way of dealing with it yourself, even though paradoxically it involves another person. Even those without childhood sustenance can learn to do this. "It's okay, sweetheart," we learn to say to those parts of us that throb. I am always astounded when the throbbing lessens. Now that, my friends, is empowering.
Now, I know it's not fashionable to make distinctions between the sexes but
nevertheless the distinctions remain. If I am feeling unwell, it is women I
turn to. Overall, men have proved pretty much unsatisfactory in my life when
it comes to giving comfort. Perhaps it's because women haven't taught them.
And so when I am in need of comfort, and am able to bring myself to ask, women are the ones who provide the reassurance and the CNS calming and
who make my scary places safe. Women are the protectors, the palpaters
of hidden nightmares.
Maybe comfort and calming is women's work. I don't know. Maybe we are the ones to dispense comfort to an ailing planet or else no one will. Maybe the things that need fixing in the world, and the mindset changes that need to come if they are to happen, require women as the instigators. Perhaps women are positioned, much more easily than men on the whole, to see the gape that remains when the salve is not applied, and the beauty that comes when it is.
The Dalai Lama said that western women will be the ones to change the world. Perhaps he was right.
The world is in sore need of comfort and assurance.