For most men, the phrase “getting in touch with your emotions” is an eyeball-rolling cliché that conjures up images of a weepy girly-man sobbing over some imagined slight. In reality, having real feelings is something that both men and women experience, whether they’re willing to admit it or not. In fact, admitting that at times you experience a range of emotions and recognize it is the foundation of good, balanced mental health.
Getting in touch with your emotions really means listening to your emotions, understanding them, training them so they are appropriate, and cultivating emotional health. It does not mean letting your emotions control you, nor does it means relentlessly repressing your emotions and silencing them to avoid any perception of weakness.
I don’t think it’s stereotypical to think men often err too much on the side of silencing their emotions and women tend to err on the side of being swept up in their emotions. But emotionally-healthy individuals of both genders tend to behave more or less similarly – they are aware and accepting of their emotions but don’t get swept away by them. The trick is examining your own way of thinking and acting (and feeling) to understand where you fall on the spectrum of emotion – brutally repressive to over-emotional. And the best way to do this self-analysis is through journaling.
Men sometimes have trouble with the F word: “Feel.” They’ve been conditioned to not express emotions in life, to be tough. But when you write to get in touch with your feelings, you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable in a safe space; to unwrap feelings and help yourself feel better emotionally. Self-analysis through writing is a great way to exercise your intellectual capabilities and improve your brain health, provide yourself with valuable insights that will allow you to lead a more authentic life.
Are you ready to open yourself up and examine the emotional side of your life that you may have been, consciously or unconsciously, tamping down and stifling? Then let’s go. Here are several ways you can get in touch with your emotions – your feelings – through journaling:
Let go of the past Start by forgiving yourself for any transgressions and mistakes you may have felt you made in the past. All of us have regrets. We’ve all done things in our lives that have embarrassed, humiliated, or angered us. It’s time to haul them up into daylight, take a good look at them, and then kiss them goodbye. As a man, you can now choose a different path, one free from that kind of emotional baggage. Write it down, read the words, and let it go.
Embrace the whole man Every man has a self-image developed over time from their upbringing, work and personal experiences, training, and relationships. Throughout all of that, emotions – whether you realize it or not – have played a role because you either let them, or did not. Journaling enables you to explore the role your emotions play – or do not – in your life and see them as a key part of your wholeness. Emotions are part of who and what you are, so embrace them. It’s okay.
Find the strength in your emotions Many men are taught that expressing emotion is a sign of weakness, a lack of masculinity. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is an underlying strength in emotions that you can bring to bear in a positive way on your relationships. Being in touch with your emotions will increase your empathy for others, helping you understand and interact with them better. And that, my friend, is the sign of a truly strong man.
Men can use journaling as an effective tool to express their feelings and understand them. Writing in a journal is a great way to explore the roots of “why am I feeling this way and where is it coming from?” It is awareness of these feelings that enables a man to take actions that can help eliminate the stress that can get in the way of a more productive life.
Are your emotions holding you back? Learn how to get in touch with your emotions for a more productive life by downloading the eBook titled "The Secrets to Finding the Internal Compass to Power through Life's Events."