A man wants to embark on emotional connection
Although I mainly work with women, I sometimes work with men who are travelling a similar personal development and spiritual path to me. I thought I’d share this advice I gave one of these good men, as it might be useful to others, and give you a sense of how I personally (as a man) work with my emotions.
This is what I was asked:
Just looking for any advice recommendations about books / websites I can use to support Emotional Connection, this is something I’m working on to further my connection with [name of a wonderful woman who is inspiring him] . Any help will be appreciated.
The challenging journey of connecting to your emotions
Ah – this is the start of a potentially challenging journey…
The first thing is: don’t rely on books too much, otherwise you’ll end up in your head, knowing lots of theory about emotions and emotional connection, but not developing it. The trick is to start feeling your own emotions. When you have emotional connection to yourself, you’ll have it more with others.
However, having a book or two to give you a map of the territory is a good thing. I would recommend Brené Brown’s “Atlas of the Heart”.
How to relate to emotions
From a masculine point of view, notice that emotions are the feminine in you – they are an energy that flows. So, as a man, you do three things:
- Have consciousness over emotions – notice the sensations, how they move, what they cause in you
- Hold the emotions – so no matter how intense the emotions get, you keep that core of consciousness still noticing them, while they move (i.e. not shutting them down or restricting them)
- Direct the emotions – help that energy go in a useful direction (e.g. to heal something, release something, take some positive action in the world)
If you’re really good, and realise emotions are the feminine in you, you can love and appreciate emotions.
An example of relating well: to anger
An example might be that you feel angry.
So consciously, you notice your heart rate increases, you notice more blood flow in your body, perhaps a heat, some sense of a surge of “energy” through you, an impulse to take action.
Then you hold that anger – allowing yourself to feel all that you’ve noticed, not letting it overwhelm you, but not shutting it down or constraining it.
Then you give it direction – so you don’t punch someone… perhaps, you have a strong and firm conversation with someone asserting a boundary, or you protest outside parliament. You direct the energy of anger into a positive action in the world.
All this is a skill that takes practice to develop. And it’s a lifetime’s work because you’ll keep noticing more and more nuances of emotion as you go (the feminine is infinite, beautiful and mysterious!).
Having said that, you can get significantly better in a relatively short time if you make the effort.
How to develop a relationship with emotions
I’d suggest finding some ways to access some emotions in a manageable way. Maybe reading Brené Brown’s book will provoke some, or you could watch some emotional films. Let yourself feel the emotions when they come up. And maybe even cry – eek, a big step for a man.
To develop your consciousness and noticing ability, you can “body focus” on some emotions. So remember a time where you (manageably) had some emotion. Start to feel it again. You might want to start with emotions we generally like, such as joy or awe, and then move to ones we typically like less, such as anger, guilt or grief. Welcome the feelings. Notice the sensations in your body. Where are they? Can you find a word or two for each sensation to describe it? How do the sensations change as you give them attention?
An important extra piece is to know that all emotions are beneficial for us. So noticing whether you like or don’t like certain emotions is important. You aim to be conscious and loving of them all equally. Which is not easy at all.
The gifts of empathy
As you develop these skills of relating to your own emotions. You might notice you develop empathy. You might start to feel other people’s emotions in you. So now, when your beloved is upset, you feel it too. You can notice it both in you, and in her (from the outside).
Because you can now hold your own emotions, you can now hold her and her emotions. And sometimes you can give all that a direction. For example, helping her settle a chaotic storm of emotions into something calmer, with your presence and love.
The rewards of this effort to relate to emotions
It’s your ability to hold a woman and her emotions, no matter how intense, with calm presence and love, that will be one of the greatest gifts you give to her.
And the gifts that come back for you are unimaginable. Women can feel things in ways that are very hard for us men to feel without a lot of work. When you’re “in resonance” with a woman feeling her emotions, her energy, synchronised in you, she can show you effortlessly such emotional range, nuance of sensation, and beauty. It’s an incredible, life-expanding world. And that is why it’s worth the effort to develop your emotional intimacy, and love women with this kind of masculine presence.