Big Boys Don’t Cry! Or Do They?

In today’s blog we are going to look at how to become more emotionally intelligent. Now this is a subject that most men don’t want to go anywhere near as to show emotion, except for anger, is to be soft and feminine. Boys are conditioned not to cry – it was just the other day that I was on the bus and I heard a mother say to her young son “big boys don’t cry”. I was dumbfounded that this kind of thing still happens. Cutting a boy off from his emotions at any age is unacceptable. Emotions bring richness, connection and depth to life and they also carry very potent messages. You can’t just suppress the “bad ones” either. If you cut off from sadness then happiness and joy will follow.

Antonio Dimasio’s work on emotion tells us that we can’t function properly in the world without emotion and even something as simple as making a decision about an upcoming appointment is near impossible without first dropping it past our emotions. How do you feel about that?

My first tip for becoming more emotionally intelligent would be to drop any labels that you given emotions. There is no such thing as a positive or negative emotion. As we are grow up we are socialized to believe that some emotions shouldn’t be there or are dangerous. Anger is one such emotion. Because we don’t have any good role models for the healthy expression of anger in our life we often cut off from this emotion at a young age or we are very sloppy in expressing it.

Without the labels we begin to allow room for our emotions to just be. When we don’t resist an emotion it comes and goes much quicker than if we try to get rid of it.

What we resist persists. Once we let our emotions in and can express them in healthy ways then you will see the power of this tip. The emotion will pass almost as quickly as it arose and you and then free to re-enter into relationship again.

I spent a lifetime not expressing emotions and muffling them any way I knew how. I would be angry for days on end without ever giving voice to that anger and heeding the message it carried. It was an absolute revelation when I began to express anger and I saw that I would move through it in seconds. I would think about the situation that made me angry¬† in the first instant and I just couldn’t be angry about it anymore. It was done and I felt complete.

Emotions aren’t supposed to be scary. They have evolved over millions of years, long before the mind came into existence, and are an intimate part of how we interact with the world. My own personal experience with emotions has taught me that they are nothing to fear, even the “bad” ones, and that when we build our capacity to be with stronger and more intense emotions they will become a valuable tool in helping you navigate your way through the complexity of life.

For more advise on all things men check out the FAQ videos and other blogs. You’ll also be able to download my free e-book “The 4 essential practices of healthy men”. which contains information and practice to help you begin your journey to freedom.

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