Previously, I shared that the good news is that boys and men have a depth of emotions and feelings but lack the freedom to express or recognize them. In this blog, I share ways to increase awareness and sensitivity and turn up the volume that will help you identify, affirm and express the emotions and 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 similarly to the collision avoidance systems available on many new vehicles. To accomplish this, collision avoidance systems use various sensors capable of detecting unavoidable obstructions in front of a moving vehicle. Depending on the particular scenario, it may warn the driver or take any direct, corrective actions.
Our feelings and emotions are the sensors that enable us to connect, communicate and correct any miscommunication with those we love.
Unfortunately, men have been taught to suppress, deny or ignore our feelings for generations.
Consequently, we miss two-thirds of what is communicated by focusing on factual content while ignoring 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 know our loved ones both think and feel about us. They will know what you think and how you feel about them—no more mystery or 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 learn to turn up the volume after decades of denying, suppressing, or hiding our emotions?
It’s easier than you might think. Most men have a built-in sensor hyper-focus that enables them to block out interrupting information while focusing on the task. For example, if you send a man into a large department store, like Macy’s, to find 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, enabling you to turn up your emotional sensitivity in ways that might 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 you write them down on post-it notes, place them strategically, 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, 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 your 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. Your emotional sensitivity and intelligence will become as natural as walking or breathing with time and practice.
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FYI: I also provide one-on-one coaching; if you want to improve your relationships or 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 being abundantly blessed