A few years ago, I was a co-presenter for a series of workshops designed to help men deal more effectively with a range of issues in their lives. Through that experience it became very apparent to me just how much men are struggling when dealing with their emotions. The problem doesn’t seem to be that men do not have strong emotions but rather how we should interpret and deal with them when they arise. Looking at the journey most men have taken, including my own, it is obvious that due to our up bringing, societal pressures and cultural beliefs, that we have been led in a direction that has caused many men pain and frustration.
For many of us this continues throughout our lifetime. It begins early when as children we are often misinformed by poor role models and lies that distort the truth about who we are and should be and what is appropriate behaviour. We are told as boys that when we are in touch with our emotions, and at the first sign of a tear, that we must grow up, be a man, don’t be a cry baby, and don’t be a girl (as if that is a bad thing) and yes, this is still happening in some circles.
Due to this, many boys and young men begin to pretend that we need to ignore our emotions and then some of us even begin to believe that our emotions aren’t important or don’t exist. When this happens, we begin to turn away from something that all humans have, our innate emotional guidance system. When fully functioning, this wonderful guidance system allows us to be easily directed on our life’s journey with much greater awareness. Emotions are not signals that are either right or wrong, but instead simply feedback to gain greater awareness and insight as to how to best move forward.
Being aware of our emotions allows us to know when we are fulfilled in life, when we are sad or unhappy, when we are angry, or frustrated or overwhelmed. Our emotions are constantly giving us information on how we are on the inside so that we may more appropriately respond to what is going on around us on the outside and make changes in our lives when needed. If, however, as many men have done, we separate ourselves from our feelings, we can easily end up feeling confused, frustrated or angry.
Sadly, this typically leads to struggles in personal relationships, business relationships and even our own relationship with ourselves. All interactions produce emotions and in order for us to successfully maneuver through relationships and life we need too able to recognize and use those emotions to guide us and lead us to fulfillment. Through practice and increased consciousness skills men can attain emotional clarity, reclaim their emotional guidance system and easily find more appreciation and happiness in life.