The level of emotional constipation that modern man suffers from is embarrassing, it really is.
Please don’t take my tone as one of condemnation. I’m a man who has struggled with this area myself and it’s something I’ve worked really hard to resolve.
Even now, as much as I know I can express a depth of feeling and emotion, sometimes old patterns of conditioning kick in and I have to consciously practice letting go, loosening up, and setting my emotions free.
Why are we so blocked up? Why are we so entrenched in the habit of repressing as opposed to expressing?
I guess it has a lot to do with societies unhealthy perception of a man as someone who should be ‘strong’, even though societies idea of being strong actually correlates better with weakness. The idea that a man shouldn’t cry and should stay detached from too much feeling or emotion is actually a pattern of retreat, a running away from reality, a succumbing to the fear of being real, a weakness.
It also likely has a lot to do with our parents. We inherit their ability, or lack thereof, to express feeling and emotion. I consider myself lucky to have had the family I’ve had in so many ways, but if I had to criticise I could quite fairly say that they struggle with expressing emotion, and I know it’s a lot worse in other households.
Whatever the case, we are where we are. It’s less important why we struggle in this area and more important how to shift gears and start expressing our emotions more freely. Science has investigated this topic and there’s evidence to suggest that emotional repression is related to increased biological markers for inflammation, inflammation being the starting point for all serious illness and disease.
Could this be why women live longer? Who knows. But this alone is reason to work towards being better at expressing oneself. All the more so when we consider some of the other more obvious benefits; a greater capacity for connection, being more likeable/personable/relatable, an enhanced sense of trustworthiness.
So, how do we shift from being emotionally constipated and repressive, to being emotionally free flowing and expressive? It’s easier than you could possibly imagine. Here’s a three step guide:
1) Step outside the mind
Perhaps another major reason why men seem to be poorer at expressing their emotions than women is because they spend so long in their heads, wandering from thought to thought, trapped in the habitual pattern of logical and analytical problem-solving.
So long as you are lost in thought you are largely detached from feeling. The first thing to do is step outside the mind.
This can be achieved very simply by becoming aware of the breath and placing your primary focus of awareness on the breath rather than on thoughts. If thoughts arise, let them. So long as you keep your awareness primarily on the breath the thoughts will disappear just as quickly as they arise, and more and more stillness will come about. At this point you have stepped outside the mind.
It’s tempting to stay inside the mind, believing you can think your way out of this puzzle, but you can’t! Don’t fool yourself, stay with the breath.
2) Connect with the body
From here you want to sink into the body, into feeling.
Feel the chest, feel the heart. Feel the belly, feel the gut. Whatever you’re feeling in any given moment is absolutely real, it’s an absolutely pure expression of yourself now.
If you’re feeling a strong attraction to a woman you’re conversing with, first follow the breath, and then sink into the feeling. If it manifests in a feeling of excitement in your chest and belly and a raised pulse, feel that fully, become one with it, merge with the sensation. Don’t fight it, don’t resist it, don’t cover it up or move away from it. Sink into it.
Just as soon as you’ve begun to sink into it, it has already begun to be expressed, not overtly through your words but on a more subtle level through your eyes and your smile, and all of the non-verbal channels that illuminate your energy.
If you’re feeling a sense of love for your girlfriend, once again follow the breath and then move into feeling. If that feeling happens to be a glow and warmth in your heart, feel it as fully as you can without holding back, allow it amplify and grow to it’s fullest capacity.
Once again, when you fully embrace the feeling it has already begun it’s expression, pouring out through your very presence, through your being with the emotion.
3) Stay with the emotion unwaveringly
The trick, if there is one, to allowing the emotion to be expressed verbally, is not to consider how or what to say, but rather to stay with the emotion so unwaveringly that you are consumed by it.
When you are consumed by the emotion, when it becomes you, when all there is, is this feeling, it will be expressed spontaneously without the need for thinking or preparation. It will flow out of you and be expressed with perfect present moment awareness. The energy that is attached to the words will say so much more than the words themselves, because they come from total presence, from a perfect association with feeling and emotion.
This is the opposite of trying to think your way towards expressing your emotions in a well-worded fashion, which is always hampered by the time-bound nature of thought. Thought is always pre-rehearsed and never spontaneous, and doesn’t carry the aliveness of the moment or the energy of the emotion.
Stay with the feeling, let it consume every part of you, and feel it so fully that it seems as if you will explode. And indeed you will, there will be an outpouring of whatever it is that you’re feeling in the moment, and that outpouring will be offered as a gift to whoever it is that you are communicating with. Lucky them!
The more that you can practise this, the easier it will become and the more freedom you’ll experience.
Just like physical constipation, emotional constipation creates blockages and stress in the body. You become stifled. You become a shell of what you might otherwise be if you could set your emotions free.
Once you learn to express rather than repress, you’ll feel a loosening in the body and mind, a sense of liberation, an ability to move and ebb and flow in ways that were otherwise not possible.
Transcend the mind.
Get back in touch with your breath, your body, your sensation, your feeling.
Stay with those feelings unwaveringly.
And set your emotions free!
Want to get your dating life handled?Sebastian Callow is a personal dating coach for men in London. Unlike other dating services he provides a practical, real-life coaching experience that actually involves meeting and interacting with women in everyday situations. Sebastian helps men develop the comfort and ease to express themselves with raw honesty. If you're unhappy with your dating life and you're hungry for change, the Personal Coaching Course could be exactly what you need.