• Get in Touch With Your Feelings

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    Get in Touch With Your Feelings

    I often work with males who have not be in touch with their feelings.

    This could be that they grew up in a home where feelings were not explored and talked about much. And so, they didn’t really learn to connect via vulnerability.

    Vulnerability is sharing what’s really real. It’s sharing your truth and feelings that may not be pleasant. It’s putting down your mask, or wall, and being open.

    Often us men are not taught how to do this and so we’ve inadvertently learned that there’s not much utility in feelings, so why be aware and share them?

    This narrative is supported in our culture. Men are generally raised to be “tough and invulnerable.”

    Speaker and best-selling author Terry Real states that in our traditional culture, men are only allowed to express anger and lust. The problem is that those feelings are only a small part of us men.

    We have more than that, and we can offer more to our spouse, our family and ourselves.

    Often our spouse demands more from us than being just a financial provider. They want us to be an emotional provider especially for our kids.

    So, how can we become emotional providers and learn to be vulnerable?

    First, we need to become aware of our feelings.

    Here’s the exercise (based off of an exercise in The New Rules of Marriage by Terry Real:

    Take your favorite notes app on your phone and make a new tab called “Feelings.”

    Under that put today’s date.

    Pause, take a breath, and write down what you’re feeling right now. Your feelings don’t have to be big.

    You may be feeling different feelings at once. The way we note this is by saying, “a part of me” feels this and, “a part of me” feels that.

    For example, as I write this, a part of me is feeling at ease and a part of me is anxious for the rest of the day.

    Then, be aware of where you feel this in your body.

    For example, I’m feeling the ease in my face and my arms. The anxiety may be a little deeper in my neck and belly.

    Write this (feelings and where you feel them) down and do it twice a day.

    There’s no right or wrong here. Feelings are not good or bad. Fundamentally, they’re just information.

    The crazy thing is, sharing this information that you write down with your spouse creates emotional intimacy – the very thing they often crave.

    Remember, the purpose of this exercise is to “reach in” with your own awareness to what’s going on with you.

    If someone has recommended you read this, chances are, no one really “reached into you” growing up to understand your feelings and your experience. So be patient, this is new territory.

    As you have a few days under your belt, share some highlights or themes of this exercise with your spouse.

    Here’s one my twist that will help your relationship. Every other day, write down what you are grateful for in the relationship. What are your partner’s positive traits, what have they done for you and the family?

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