When we grow up, the world and our parents tell us that we should behave like men, not boys. We shouldn’t cry because that’s not ‘manly’ whatever the f that means. Our parents pressure us to be stronger, to be dynamic and behave like men. Then, if we get into a relationship with a dominant woman she tells us to man up and act like a man. This drives men to be more closed and not open their heart to people they love. I can tell you that from my own experience. My heart was so closed because my parents are both Russian and they are both dominant. I was in a relationship where my partner used to tell me all the time to man up. That made me feel horrible at times because I felt that I couldn’t share certain feelings that I had. I felt that I couldn’t cry and had to keep everything inside me. I couldn’t talk to anybody because I thought that if I shared my concerns and my true feelings people would make fun of me and not accept me.

If a man is vulnerable it doesn’t mean that he is not dominant or doesn’t have a strong character. Sometimes it’s quite the opposite.  I lived a fake life for the past 30 years because I tried to be somebody else. I tried to act perfect and I thought that I had to behave in a certain way to win an account for my agency. Being a CEO of a marketing agency added more fakeness and ‘pressure’ to act and show that I’m powerful. It’s like we aspire to an image of Don Drapper of Mad Men, which is, of course, fake.

I believe that being vulnerable is a huge advantage for men because our heart opens up to people and you start to live in the moment. You start to enjoy your life and most importantly, you start to be yourself and accept yourself. There is a very good reason why our close friends love us the way we are; because we are authentic and vulnerable. In some cases, we are not. What I discovered recently is that once you start opening up, some people will leave your life because they are not on the same level, and that’s absolutely fine. We want authentic people near us. We want to be vulnerable and live a life that we will not regret in the next 10,20, or 30 years.

Once I started being more vulnerable with some of my close friends I noticed something magical happen; they started to open up to me and be honest with me. The feeling of having a deep conversation is priceless. The feeling of freedom is bloody amazing. I spoke to my step-father for the first time after 13 years and when I hung up, my emotions got in the way and I didn’t try to hide them, I just let emotions do what they do. After an hour I felt amazing. I felt that a huge weight fell off my shoulder.

Being vulnerable doesn’t mean that you have to share your story online like I did, it just means you are being authentic to your parents, friends, partners and people close to you. Everything changes once we start being ourselves and opening our hearts to people, because end of the day we are all human beings and we all deserve to be loved.  We can’t love when our hearts are closed because we live in a delusional world that we created for ourselves. Once I understood that that grey area of my life was not very exciting I started doing things that scare me every single day. The reason I do that is because I want to remove the fear that is holding me back. So, young boys and men, be vulnerable, share your feelings. Call your mother or father and tell them that you love them. Call your partner and tell them that you care about them. Go and speak to that cute girl at Starbucks and tell her that you find her pretty. One little step will bring us closer to authenticity and to our pure self. Don’t let that inner voice tell you otherwise. Remember, being vulnerable is a bridge to passion, authenticity and peace of mind. You will start having more meaningful relationships with your friends, family and your partners. Magic