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Guys Talking About Feelings
How Men Can Deal With Uncomfortable Feelings Before Things Get Really Bad
“It’s official. We’ve reached psycho-mode.”
He wasn’t wrong.
It was 8 am on a rainy, windy, and freezing Saturday morning. My friend Jonathon and I were on mile 6 of a 10-mile run around Columbus. People stared at us from their cars like we were nuts.
How did we get here?
We decided to run a marathon.
We joined Fleet Feet 6 months ago and threw ourselves in with the pace group with the most Boston Marathon qualifiers. Our first race is this weekend: The Cap City Half.
It's been fun meeting new people, and there’s value in pushing yourself to do hard things, but we found something else during the long (sometimes dull) hours of training.
An outlet for us to talk about real shit.
Yup, I'm about to get sappy.
It’s A Myth That Guys Don’t Talk About Their Feelings
It’s a myth that men don’t talk about their vulnerabilities, relationships, and worries with people.
Of course we do. We’re human. We can’t just stick our heads in the sand and pretend emotions don’t exist.
The problem is, it’s hard to find people to talk to.
I don’t know dude it’s our culture.
We want to appear strong.
We want to act like alphas.
We want everyone to know we have our lives figured out.
Jonathon and I have two sets of intense training each week: Speed training on Wednesdays and long runs on Saturdays. We often find ourselves with 3 ½ hours to kill—turns out running is an investment of time.
I started asking two specific questions that would get us to open up. A strategy I learned from Kat Cole, the COO of Athletic Greens, and one of the coolest business leaders I’ve ever heard talk.
Here are the questions:
1.) What’s worrying you?
2.) What are you grateful for?
Simple, but holy cow, do guys need the hear it.
Jonathon normally responds with something work-related.
I respond with some relationship that’s on my mind.
I get it. It sounds like a therapy session. We talk in circles around our problems and don’t provide any solutions.
It actually reminds me of the Diamond Dogs from Ted Lasso. The inner club of coaches who get together before each match not to talk about football but—you guessed it—their feelings.
What’s the point, right?
It’s important to consider how most guys deal with stress.
Normally it’s internalized. When something bad happens, we crawl into ourselves. We chew on regret like a baseball player chews tobacco and hope to emerge from our man cave with answers.
Answers don’t come, and we feel worse.
That’s when men take to drink to numb the pain or turn aggressive.
The psychologist Brene Brown says:
“Our hearts are seas of expansiveness, of emotion, of experience. At some point, those emotions and experiences need to be articulated. Language is a kind of life jacket. But often people aren’t equipped with the words to describe what they’re feeling.”
The writer Mark Manson says:
“in order to become more resilient, more formidable, you must first bare your flaws and weaknesses for the world to see. In doing so, they lose their power over you, allowing you to live your life with more honesty and intention.”
Here’s what I say.
Talking won’t solve your problems.
It won’t make your ex come back.
It won’t help you get a promotion or make more money.
Hell, it definitely won’t make you a better writer.
But here’s what talking about your vulnerabilities does.
It just helps.
How to Replace Your Worries With Something Else
The answer to the second question we ask is always the same.
Our friends. Our Family. Our partners. The people in our lives who listen to us without judgment. The opportunity to do cool shit like run a marathon.
Guys can get sucked into a black hole of moods, regret, muscle, and aggression.
You know what I’m talking about.
Gratitude brings everything into balance and replaces those thoughts with good vibes. The beautiful things that you’re giving back to the world.
Much like running, talking about your feelings is a process. An exhausting one at times.
But if you put in the work, you may come out the other side unashamed of who you are.
So open up dude.