"Man up". "Grow a pair". "Men don't cry".
Stop saying these awful things to young boys. Stop making them think that they do not have jurisdiction over their own bodies and emotions.
We are human. We are all human. We all feel, and we all have that sensitive side.
I cannot stress enough how angry it makes me when I hear an adult tell a little boy, or even another adult, to "man up," or "grow a pair," or that "real men don't cry". Actually, real men do cry. Real men are allowed to have emotions, and express them however they see fit.
Children are amazing wonders. They are not afraid to feel, they are not afraid to tell it like it is, and they are not afraid to ask questions.
Telling these things to children, in particular, young boys is to tell them that showing emotion is frowned upon and even considered a weakness.
Invalidating their feelings in hopes of making their resolve stronger actually does the opposite. My nephew is 8-years-old, and he is the kindest, gentle, and caring boy I think I've ever met, and this is because my older sister has raised him to value his feelings, which has made him incredibly strong and resilient.
He is not afraid to cry. He is not afraid to ask for help. And most of all, he is the best big brother ever, because he has grown up with a particular knack for building relationships, expressing empathy, and with the knowledge that he is heard, understood, and valid as a human being.
Meaningfulness is created through sensitivity and vulnerability, and these pivotal traits get squashed down just a little farther every time we tell our boys to stop acting like a girl or to grow a pair.
I cannot stress this enough: as humans, we are hardwired to feel. By nature, we are emotional beings. Boys have emotional tendencies just as much as girls do, and it's time we stop trying to strip the feeling away from our boys.
Boys are strong, but they are also vulnerable, just like everyone else.
Let them feel. Let them be sensitive. Let them cry. Let them express their emotions. In fact, encourage it. Let them love. It's what humans DO.