Guys Have Emotions
This blog post was written by our SGS Facilitator, Corey Kinnan (and only slightly edited by our writing crew).
Wait, what? Do Guys have emotions and feelings beyond hunger and anger? Guys are complex human beings capable of experiencing the whole range of human feelings? Yes! It’s true. Men can and do experience feelings beyond hunger. We feel both joy and depression. We feel the pain of a loss and the wow of taking in a breathtaking mountain vista. We even can cry. Not just when Chiefs win the Superbowl, but at times when we feel sad.
About 10 years ago one of my best friends died of suicide. During middle school, he and I were practically inseparable. I spent weekends at his house. We stayed up late playing video games and talking about life. He was a great friend. Unfortunately for our relationship, I moved from away during the middle of my 8th-grade year. We kept in touch but slowly drifted apart during high school. This was pre-social media, which made contact more challenging back then. We met up once my senior year and he had started doing some pretty hard drugs regularly. This was especially difficult to watch because at one time he had been one of the most amazing athletes I had ever seen. After this encounter, we never saw each other again. He shut people out and became a slave to his addictions.
At his funeral, I sat with one of our mutual friends. Two guys over 6’ tall and 200+ pounds sat next to each other crying. We were heartbroken. We were crushed by our shared loss. All of these things are okay to experience. You don’t have to hide your emotions. You can outwardly show your feelings. It’s normal.
How we deal with our feelings is what defines our character. Do you find yourself engaging in destructive behavior when life gets challenging? Do you slip into a bad 80’s movie and drive around drinking in your Camaro during a thunderstorm? That would be the wrong way to work through your emotions. It’s easy to fall into the trappings of escape through drugs or other negative behaviors. The real challenge is finding positive and constructive ways to work through your feelings.
How do we do this?
Personally, my calling has always been to work through things with athletics, and physical activity. When I get angry, I go into my woodshop and concentrate on building. I like to take my dogs on walks through our neighborhood to unwind. As an adult, I’ve gotten into yoga, which has helped me increase my focus and present me with new physical challenges. We can all benefit from finding positive methods for working through our emotions. Find what works best for you. We may not all share our emotions in the same way, but know it’s okay to experience them.
I don’t think we as men are checking in on each other enough. I think this ties back into our failure to address our own emotions. We fail to check in on our friends and see how they’re dealing with theirs because we haven’t come to terms with our ability to feel. By understanding our capacity to feel, we can become better friends and all-around humans. The feeling will increase your empathy and consideration for others.
Last summer one of my contractor friends texted me out of the blue one day. He simply asked how I was doing. I hadn’t posted anything on social media for a while, and he said he was just making sure I was doing okay.
Checking in on each other is normal, even if it’s just a text or a direct message through your preferred social media platform. I like phone calls, but I’m old school like that. Ask how your friends are doing. Let’s do more of that. Let’s check on each other, and let’s make it okay to feel.