The Intersection of Grief and Masculinity: 3 Takeaways from Author, Luke RussertJun 11, 2023
This week, we had the privilege of sitting down with Luke Russert, NYT bestselling author of Look For Me There: Losing My Father, Finding Myself and Emmy Award-winning journalist. Luke's remarkable work has captivated audiences worldwide, and his unique perspective sheds light on the specific challenges men encounter when navigating grief.
Throughout our discussion, Luke shared valuable insights into the barriers that hinder men from processing and expressing their grief. We delved into the importance of creating a grief-informed society that supports men in understanding and managing their emotions in the face of loss. We also explored the impact of age and focusing on getting ahead at work to better understand the reasons why many men feel compelled to suppress and disregard their grief– leading to the harmful tendency to "store and ignore" their pain.
Watch the full interview here and read some of our favorite takeaways from the conversation below!
“Real strength comes from understanding...”
“Real strength comes from understanding and being okay with simply taking a moment and pausing and saying, ‘hey, I need to figure something out.’ I'm not going to be so giving of myself that I'm not actually looking inward.”
Luke reminds us that feeling "off" after experiencing a horrific event is not a sign of weakness, but really, it’s our grief. By understanding and accepting this, we cultivate true strength. Luke emphasizes the value of taking a moment to pause, reflect, and prioritize our own needs.
Sitting in it
“I got professional help– therapy, that was great, that got the ball rolling. But for me, there was also just sitting in it. And sitting in it is so uncomfortable because you have to be aware of those voices in your head, a lot of those that have been ones that you've run away from for a long time.
Once I sat in that, I suddenly realized, okay, this is what's happening, right? You're still grieving, but secondly, what can you do to move forward and open yourself up to that? You don’t move on, you move forward.”
We love how Luke highlighted the importance of sitting in your grief. In the full interview, Luke raised poignant questions about identity, desires, and seeking approval from the loved one who is no longer present. By sitting in our discomfort, and sitting with those questions, we can gain clarity. Grief is not just about the loss itself, but also about the profound impact it has on our sense of self and our place in the world.
Store & ignore is not the way forward
“ I know for me, that I would store and ignore those all the time. I would not cry. I would take a moment to myself, breathe and be tough and go on. And ultimately, that does wear on you in some capacity.
I think for a lot of men there's this notion that if I'm crying, it's going to be weak, or if I talk about what I'm going through, it's weakness. I don't want to be weak or if they do want to talk about it, they’re just confiding in one other person. And that's about it, just for a moment. It's just that I just have to get that off my chest.
What I always tell folks is that you don't have to look like you're so melancholy and morose in the corner, just upset all the time. It's sort of, hey, I'm going through something right now. I’ve got to take a pause, take a breath, and acknowledge it.”
Luke highlights the challenges that men, in particular, face, as they are often encouraged to suppress their grief. We need a shift in the perception of masculinity, where it is acceptable for men to cry, express their emotions, and seek support.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of all that Luke shared during our interview! To watch the full interview, where we talk about traveling to grieve vs. escapism, how we find peace after a loss, and more watch the video here.
If you want to stay connected with Luke Russert and dive deeper into his journey, make sure to follow him on Instagram @LukeRussert and check out his NYT-bestselling book Look For Me There available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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