Dr Mari Kovanen Coaching


Men and emotions – Unlock your relationship potential

“Emotions are dangerous!

I wish I did not have emotions, they distract me!

I can control my emotions.

I don’t feel anything!”

These are just some of the comments I have heard clients or other people say about emotions. 

Emotions are really misunderstood!

What baffled me the most is that they are a part of our physiology and they are a creation of our evolution but there is STILL so much confusion about emotions. 

So hence I wanted to write this article. 

I love helping men especially to unlock their emotions because there is whole new world to explore and the impact on well-being and relationships is ENORMOUS. 

Let’s start from the beginning.

What are feelings and emotions?

To put it very simply, emotions are those physical sensations that you notice in your body when there is something going on in your life. 

They could be butterflies in the stomach. 

They could be tension in the jaw or neck. 

They could be tingliness in the stomach and when when you are exited. 

They could be a peaceful sensation when you have been to a sauna. 

On the other hand, feelings are more cognitive representations of your emotional state. Your feelings are partly affected by your thoughts. For example, if you think of very critical thoughts about yourself you feel low. 

Emotions are deeper and faster reactions to what is going on for you internally or externally. 

There are a lot of coaches saying: “Your thoughts impact your emotional state.”

Many very cognitive and body-detached views like to think so but the reality is that you can’t think yourself our of a particular emotional state without accessing the emotion. Our emotions live in our body and are linked to our earlier life experiences. They get activated in life very quickly and often unconsciously.

Why do we need to understand our emotions?

Imagine driving a car and looking at your dashboard. You see all of these lights there: do you have enough petrol/energy to go all the way to your destination? Are your lights working?

No imagine if the wires got cut suddenly and you did not know what is going on under the hood?

Your car could stop right here, right?

Emotions have the same role in your life and relationships as the dashboard. They communicate to you about what is going on under the hood so to speak. 

You get information about how you are affected by your environment or even your internal world. When you are in touch of your emotions you can:

  • Understand what is important to you
  • Empathize with an another person
  • Regulate your difficult emotions to help your well-being and relationships
  • Problem-solve and make better decisions for yourself
  • Emotional flexibility and intelligence makes you more resilient even when facing difficulties. 
  • Communicate about your needs in a relationship
  • Create a deeper connection with a loved one 

The benefits are ENORMOUS! 

Your relationships will thrive when you are in touch with ALL of your emotions. 

When you are dating, you are more likely to be more resilient and open to a relationship. 

Why do you find it difficult to access emotions?

As a man you probably grew up in an environment where you had to..

“Man up (Don’t cry / show emotions)”

Unfortunately, unless you grew up with a father who was very comfortable with showing his full range of emotions, which is quite rare, society and your upbringing would not have supported you in understanding your emotions.  

Only parents who were emotionally aware themselves could teach their children emotional awareness. 

Thankfully, there is a lot more talk about mindfulness these days which teaches us about mindfully observing our emotions. 

I want to acknowledge the resistance to many men becoming more emotionally aware. 

As a counselling psychologist and attachment trauma therapist who has also worked with inmates, I observe currently this “Angry man movement”, which focuses on BRO marketing and an extreme form of masculinity behaviour. 

These men who resist (and actually are scared of getting in touch with their emotions other than anger) getting in touch with their emotional landscape, focus on the external instead: build bigger muscles, buy a bigger car, sexist comments….Usually there is trauma and pain in the background. 

Unfortunately, these voices are quite loud and give men a bad name, when the reality is that these are a small subsection of men. 

How to become more emotionally aware?

So if you are reading this and wondering, how can I improve my relationships…

Find love or deepen the relationships I have…

The secret is to get to know your emotions!

Start by taking a quiet moment when you for example lie down or sit down. 

Take a deep breath in through your nostrils, hold for a few seconds, inhale to the lowest part of your stomach and then exhale through your mouth. 

Do that a few times. Then start to observe what is going on in your body. Focus on your body instead of your head.  

With practice it gets easier! 

I hope you found this useful!

If you would like to get more confident in dating and find the relationship you are looking for, get in touch with me. Understanding your emotions is often the first step in increasing your self-awareness. 

Mari x 

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