Casey J. Cornelius (00:04):
Hey everyone and welcome to the latest episode of the ForCollegeForLife podcast. My name is Casey Cornelius and I’m the founder and president of ForCollegeForLife. And I also get the opportunity to interview our speakers and consultants, the people who make us who we are, and talk about big ideas. This podcast specifically is part of our Fast 15 series where we ask our team to talk about a big idea in 15 minutes or less. Yeah, it’s a challenge. Each one of them are speakers that they wanna talk for an hour or three hours or seven hours, but I promise we’re gonna talk about something important in 15 minutes or less. Today I have the opportunity to chat with Carlos J Malave, one of our leading voices on the topic of healthy masculinity, and talk about a topic that I think is particularly important for college men these days, although it’s probably important for all men who are listening as well. So Carlos, I’m gonna go ahead and bring you to the mic and ask you the big question of the day. Why is it important for men to show emotion?
Carlos J. Malave (01:07):
It’s a great question and I love this question cuz I love this line of work that I’m in, in helping men get there. And when I say get there, I mean becoming whole. And I think throughout our lives, boys, men are taught not to show emotion or not to show vulnerability because it show it means weakness. And that can be further from the truth. I think what makes a man is some is someone that knows who they are inside and out. And the more we leave inside of us or don’t express, the more it builds up and therefore anger comes out. Tempers start to flare up. Communication doesn’t become fluid or consistent with our partners, with our friends, with our colleagues. And therefore more issues consistently arise from not expressing our emotions. Now, when we hear our emotions, we think crying or getting sad doesn’t necessarily mean that.
It can also mean telling someone how you truly feel. You don’t like that thing that they just did or they don’t, you don’t like or you don’t agree with that thing they said. And I think constantly putting yourself in position to articulate yourself and express your true feelings will allow you to find your true self. And that is where healthy masculinity, la lays and lips, when you are able to fully accept who you are and how you feel about everything. I think we hold ourselves back when we don’t. And this society has raised us to be that way and we end up being confused and then we end up having to go to therapy when we’re older trying to figure out how we’re so angry and where did it start. But I think if we start developing this way of, or demonstrating this way of communication for men much sooner for our boys and schools and they have examples of men leading the work, I think it will put us in a much better place to understand why it’s important to show emotion. And to answer your question, the reason why men should show emotion once again is so that they understand who they are much sooner that society allows us to as a whole.
Casey J. Cornelius (03:53):
Yeah. I think one of the things that you talked about in your answer, which which really strikes me, cuz obviously this is a topic that I care about deeply to Carlos’s, you know, it’s showing emotion is not just about showing sad emotion right about, about crying or anything like that. Although, although that shouldn’t be walled off either, but, but there’s dozens and dozens of emotions that, that we should have access to as well. Like I think about, you know, being afraid or, or being excited or being upset by something. You know, when when we mm-hmm. <Affirmative> wall off those things, the outcome of it can’t possibly be good, can it?
Carlos J. Malave (04:31):
Yeah. I, I, I a hundred percent agree and that’s the crazy thing about it cuz everybody likes to say they’re not afraid. They, they’re not scared or they’re not sad, but the reality is that’s in the middle of greatness. Being afraid and consistently putting yourself in that position to not be afraid because you have built those repetitions of building that confidence. So I tell this to people all the time, I am as strong as I am because I’ve cried a lot. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, the reason I can speak on the topic that I can speak on in front of thousands of people at colleges and high schools across the country is because I’ve sat in my feelings and I’ve cried by myself in front of my wife, in front of my kid, in front of my friends. I’ve allowed myself to go there. And the more reps I got in, just like when I was playing basketball, the easier it got when it became game time.
And I think we’re not putting those repetitions in them, we’re not connecting the dots. It’s all the same. It is all the same. Whereas if I constantly have putting myself in those positions that I may be afraid or I may be vulnerable, the more I get in those positions, the better I will be, the more confident I will become, the more equipped I end up being when I’m constantly put in those positions. So I think with what you just said, it’s very important to understand that it’s all connected to, like for, for, for boys and men, we’re we’re, we are taught how to be men. And a lot of it goes through sports. You hear a lot of things or you have to play sports or you this and that. If you connected to sports, it’ll be much easier for people to understand where it doesn’t have to be as fast sports, but that’s a way that you could connect it. You get your repetitions and you automatically become better. So why aren’t we do that? Doing that in all aspects of our lives?
Casey J. Cornelius (06:29):
You know, the way that you just described that is, is profound to be. So I wanna, I wanna dig a little deeper for just to just a minute. And I know we’re, we’re quick on time. That’s, that’s the problem with some of these episodes. But, you know, you can be a fantastic athlete and Carlos, you are a fantastic basketball player, but you would never have imagined walking onto a court without, you know, practicing or without, you know stretching beforehand, shoot around, all that other kind of stuff. You, you, you might have done okay doing it, but you certainly couldn’t do as well as if you had gotten those reps in beforehand. So I really like the analogy that you’re working with there. It’s like, why don’t we rep our access to these emotions also?
Carlos J. Malave (07:09):
Absolutely. A hundred percent. And even to this day, I, I go play at the y m the local Y M C A, they got a couple good runs on the weekends in particular where they got former college basketball players and current basketball players come play. I don’t get there till seven, seven o’clock in the morning. Everybody doesn’t show up till nine. I make sure I’m there two hours before everybody gets there to get my shots up, my warm up. By the time everybody’s coming in to play, I already got a cold sweat. So when they, when they, when, when they just walking on the court and playing, I’m, I’m, you know, ready to go. I’m passing Bob, him, I’m, I’m hitting my shot, I’m getting the right play. And it’s all about that, that consistency, that practice putting it in. So, and I allow, and I love still playing to this day because it aligns everything for me. It’s a reminder to me of what I need to do in my own life. If I’m not preparing myself to be in these spaces, why am I even going,
Casey J. Cornelius (08:06):
Hmm. You know, I, I always try to put myself in the position of the person who’s gonna push back on this big idea, right? So yeah, I’m imagining somebody listening to our voices right now who’s saying, Yeah, that’s all well and good, but the only, the only images that I’m seeing celebrated in, in my world are the tough, strong show. No emotions, stoic show, no weakness show, no fear. Like that guy is who I’m seeing. And and I think probably that has even evolved a little bit over the last 5, 10, 20 years, but that’s still there for a lot of people. So what would you say to that person who’s like, Yeah, but the only thing that I see is celebrated is really the absence of emotion.
Carlos J. Malave (08:50):
Yeah, it was crazy. I had this conversation with my wife the other day and we’re talking about masculinity. And she flat out just said, You know, you, you’re the most masculine man I’ve ever been around. And I asked her, Why, why you say that? Because she’s been around some, you know, men that, you know, carry themselves in a strong way and much bigger, taller, tougher than I was growing up. And she just simply broke it down and made me understand what masculinity is even more. She was like, No, because when you walk in, you, you do not, you’re not afraid to say how you feel and be how you want to be, therefore you don’t let anybody else’s emotions or way of being in the moment bother you or deter you from who you are and what you’re trying to do. And because you’re in touch with both sides, your family inside and your masking them inside, it allows you to know who you truly are in those spaces.
So therefore alpha exudes out of you because you’re not following any trends, you’re not following anybody’s way of being, you’re just being. And I think that right there is what people need to think, need to hear more often, right? This whole thing about vulnerability and show no weakness when you understand yourself to the fullest, isn’t it easier not to show weakness because therefore you know what will trigger you, You know what will make you go there and then you’re not afraid to go there. So therefore, I am not weaker because I do cry. I am not weaker because I don’t shy away from those emotions because I’ve run right through them. And that’s how you gotta look at it. People not looking at it like that because when you’re running away from the, those vulnerable spaces, once again, you’re running away and what does a man do?
A man steps up and walks through it. So aren’t you stronger if you walk through those emotions and allow yourself to be and feel and then get through? And like I said, once you understand that, then the repetitions become easier. You’ll get choked up the first times you speak about it, there’s a couple, then you keep going, then you get less choked up, then you’re speaking with power, then you’re speaking in front of crowds and people are like, How can you talk about your father’s death like that without breaking down? And then I look him in the I am like, practice.
Casey J. Cornelius (11:17):
You know, if, if you’re just hearing Carlos for the first time or, or if you wanna get reacquainted with this work, please visit for college for life.com/carlos. You know, one of the things I think I admire most about you, Carlos, and the reason I appreciate you and your work so much is that I also think that you make it okay. Like you make it okay for others to look at and go, Oh, I can do this. I can access this part of myself because Carlos does it, and that makes it okay as well. Is that kind of a, like a why for you? Is that kind of like a driving point?
Carlos J. Malave (11:52):
Yeah. growing up, I, I was around men that struggled with it, like with their identities because they were trying to put this persona that just wasn’t them and they could never be. And therefore they look for other ways to allow who they really wanted to be, to come out, alcohol, drugs, and then they’ll use that as an excuse. A, I didn’t mean that cause I was drunk. A I didn’t wanna do that. I was just drunk and they hid behind it and there was just a bunch of fear. And for me, I wanna represent freedom, freedom to be, and I have to live my life that way so that I don’t end up repeating the cycle. And we talked about this before, every generation supposed to do better than the last. So I’ve learned from my past and I’m, I’m just trying to do the opposite and try to breed a different life lifestyle so that other people can see me as an example, because I, being on this side, life is good.
Like I’m telling you, I, I, it feels good. Like I love where I am right now. Like I, I love my life. Like, and it comes from allowing myself to be accountable, allowing myself to be around people that are willing to have those conversations and separating myself from all that Alyssa. Cause that’s the other thing. I had to separate myself from the nonsense. The people with that mentality, even family and friends that I like, were close. It was hard, but I made that decision. I’m telling you, life is so much better on this side when you’re whole and you are, you’re in tune with who you are and who you want to be. And when you do that, I’m telling you, life changes. Like everybody talks about financial freedom and all that, but if you get this, all that other stuff, you’ll have enough time to focus on that other stuff to get you where you want to be.
Because I’m in this space, I’ve become financially free because I’m in this space, I’m able to think outside the box and therefore more comes of that. So I am healthy within than everything else is easier to achieve. And that is what, because the stereotype of a man having to provide and having to be strong, you can’t be that without doing this. So realistically, it’s all, all this other stuff that we’re taught is being done wrong. If you don’t get here, the stuff that we are told not to do is what we need to do to get to this place of freedom so that we can be the men that we were meant to be for our families.
Casey J. Cornelius (14:25):
I love it. Listen folks, if you wanna learn more about Carlos again forcollegeforlife.com/carlos, find him on any social media platform. Learn more about his programs, learn more about his work. Carlos, this was a profoundly powerful chat, interesting chat. Thank you so much for, for joining and sharing your perspective.
Carlos J. Malave (14:43):
Thank you for having me, man. Any time.
Casey J. Cornelius (14:45):
Excellent everyone. Until next time, be well. Thank you.