Emotion is the glue that holds relationships together. When partners feel close and safe with each other then they form an attachment. This bond is the foundation of a relationship. Emotions can pull couples closer to together or push them apart. Men sometimes struggle with the words to express how they are feeling and will even say, “I am not sure how I am feeling”. Women can also struggle with their emotional intelligence too but the focus of this blog will be related to men.
It can be hard for men to “trust their gut” when often times they feel safer with “the facts”. Fortunately, we don’t have to just pick one or the other we can have both emotions and facts. In fact, the purpose of emotions is to provide us with information. We can make better decisions when we are able to understand and work with our emotions. The benefits of working with and trusting your emotions means that you will be better able to manage your emotional response, be more aware of your impact on others and respond to your partner in a more effective manner.
1. Know the difference between positive and negative emotions. Some men struggle to identify the difference between positive and negative emotions. Here are some examples of positive emotions: Amusement, Awe, Compassion, Contentment, Gratitude, Hope, Interest, Joy, Love, Pride and Sexual desire. Here are some examples of negative emotions: sadness, anxiety, anger, guilt, annoyance, shame/embarrassment, discouragement, despair, hopelessness, apathy, disappointment and frustration.
2. Recognize your feelings. Your body has feelings and it will show up with body sensations. When you are upset you may notice sweaty palms, racing heart, muscle tension or tightness, deep breathing, nausea etc. When you are happy you may notice smiling, a warm feeling in your chest, excited voice etc. Your body will provide you with clues to explore your emotions. When you feel body sensations you can pause and explore what it is that you are feeling. Some feelings may be: anger, fear, joy, love, sadness or surprise. Once you identify your feeling then you can share that with your partner.
3. What does your face look like? A partners first clue as to how her or his partner is feeling is often based on the look on their face. We learn to read facial expressions at a young age before we have language to identify what are parents are feelings and saying. Partners can easily misinterpret their spouses’ feelings by reading their face incorrectly. Be aware of how you look when you are communicating with your partner and clarify any misunderstandings that may arise.
4. Practice being with your feelings. Use meditation to bring awareness to your inner world without judgment. Meditation helps to build empathy, reduce fear and enhances emotional management. There is extensive research to support the fact that mindfulness and meditation practices change our brains with neuroplasticity. As our brains learn to be more emotionally intelligent, we are better able to manage our emotions and behaviors. How we respond and act will then become more automatic and second nature.
5. Be kind and compassionate to yourself. Working with our internal negative and critical thoughts in a compassionate way increases emotional resiliency and allows us to whether the storms of life. When men can be kind and compassionate to themselves it also allows them to show that same compassion to their partner allowing for improved communication. Partners will feel emotionally safer in a relationship when they are approached with kindness and compassion rather than criticism or contempt.
Emotional wellness is connected to all areas of our life. When men develop a greater emotional IQ, it improves all of their relationships and deepens their ability to understand themselves and others. To learn more about Emotional Intelligence from the creator of the term please read, “Emotional Intelligence Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”.
If you are struggling to develop your emotional intelligence or have experienced trauma in your life that may be impacting your ability to feel and express emotions then seek help today! Trauma therapy such as EMDR therapy can be very beneficial in clearing the blocks that hamper your emotions and allow you to be better in touch with yourself and your partner.