In previous blogs, I shared the good news is that both boys and men do have a depth of emotions and feelings, but lack the freedom to express or recognize them. In this blog, I share ways, increase awareness and sensitivity, ways to turn up the volume that will help you to recognize, affirm and express the emotions and the feelings critical to developing healthy intimate relationships.
Feelings and emotional awareness strengthen our ability to connect and communicate with loved ones. Our feelings and emotions work similar to the collision avoidance systems available on many new vehicles. To accomplish this, collision avoidance systems use a variety of sensors that are capable of detecting unavoidable obstructions in front of a moving vehicle. Depending on the particular system, it may then issue a warning to the driver or take any number of direct, corrective actions.
Our feelings and emotions are the sensors that enable us to connect, communicate and correct any miscommunication to those we love. Unfortunately for generations, men have been taught to suppress, deny or ignore or feelings. Consequently, we miss two-thirds of what is communicated by just focusing on the content all the while missing the connection that emotions provide.
However, if we re-learn to recognize, affirm and express our feelings and emotions, our connection and communication will multiply substantially. We will how our loves ones both think and feel about us. They will know what you think and how you feel about them. No more mystery, no more assuming whether the relationship is good, bad or perhaps struggling. Our emotional expression, verbal, facial and body language state clearly how we feel and think about our loved one.
So how do we after decades of denying, suppressing or hiding our emotions, learn to turn up the volume?
It’s actually easier than you might think. Most men have a built-in sensor hyper-focus that enable them to block out interrupting information while focusing on the task at hand. For example, if you send a man into a large department store, like Macy’s, with the task of finding a size 6, light-blue shirt/blouse for his daughter. Within ten minutes he will have located every size 6, light blue shirts and blouses in the store. That same hyper-focus can be deployed to focus on specific communication/information will enable you to turn-up your emotional sensitivity in ways that might just surprise you.
I also recommended that you identify ten healthy emotions/feelings out of the categories provided that you believe will improve and promote connection within your relationships. For example, you may have chosen: confident, content, proud, forgiving, insecure, motivated, hurt, inspired, lonely, scared, and loving. Narrowing it down to ten is more manageable, helps you get started and turns on these emotional sensors. As a reminder, I recommend that you write them down on post-it notes, place them in strategic locations and carry one in your pocket.
Focus on listening and watching for these ten specific emotions. Listen and watch for them in conversations with your loved ones, with friends and co-workers. Listen and look for them in the music, movies, videos and books/articles you enjoy.
Make a list of your top ten favorite movies, songs, books or poems. Then watch, listen or read them, focusing on recognizing the ten emotions on your list. The more you do this the greater you sensitivity increases.
The goal is to begin turning up the volume. Re-learn to recognize emotional content in your day-to-day communication.
You may find the volume of emotional content a little overwhelming at first, that’s normal, but don’t let that stop you. With time and practice, your emotional sensitivity and intelligence will become as natural as walking or breathing.
If today’s blog was encouraging to you, take sure you sign up to receive blogs every Tuesday and Thursday. TransformingFamilies.org was created to enable you to discover and develop authentic, healthy intimacy in all your relationships.
FYI: I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you would like to improve your relationships, or you want someone to talk to, e-mail me at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, and we’ll schedule a time to connect. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.