“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
The world knows it as Newton’s third law of motion, I am sure he wanted to say the Third Law of Emotion. Because, whatever you say or do, it tends to generate a certain kind of emotional reaction in other people. This is very evident in the case of social media celebrities – one tweet or one Instagram story from them and you can see all emotions flooding the comment section.
When I agreed to write about this topic, I was a little unsure if I can do it. Not because I do not have emotions. I do realize my eyes oozing out a teardrop when I am watching an emotional scene and my hand wisely wiping it off secretly before my wife finds out about this and mocks me. I was hesitant because I cannot even name many of the emotions. Just like I can recognize only basic colours on the rainbow and not all the shades on the paint company’s colour catalogue, I understand the basic emotions like fear, anger, and happiness but I cannot clearly identify the other emotions and feelings. Partly because, as men, we do not talk about other emotions much. It is not very common to hear two buddies, at least as I have observed, having conversations like “I am extremely anxious about this situation”, “This made me super emotional, I feel sad”, or “I am feeling ashamed”. Most of the conversations will be about positive emotions like pride, excitement & amusement.
Each one is different. In my case, many a time I catch myself going into an empty cocoon without thinking about anything. I don’t feel anything – neither happy nor sad, neither anger nor fear. I am calm. I think this is the enlightenment state that many spiritual leaders talk about. My wife doesn’t think so. She says I may have some sort of diurnal lagophthalmos. As a man who has not read “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, I refuse to let her assumptions shake my belief. I was thinking maybe I am special until I found this video from Mark Gungor. The response from the crowd says how true this could be for all men. All men seem to get into a box (not the final one, although one day they will).
I am not an expert in this field. If I was, I would be publishing a book instead and charging for it. In order to learn more about emotions I started reading the book, “Master your emotions”. I must say that I was not too emotionally attached to the content and set it aside for another time. Like any normal human being slaving in the Information Technology world would do, I resorted to Dr.Google and asked, “Hey Google, how do men handle their emotions?” There were a bunch of articles both from experts and from wannabes like me. Some interesting ways that men use to handle their emotions, that caught my attention, are listed below.
The feelings may be expressed in the form of physical ailments. It looks like men tend to complain of sudden headaches, backaches etc when they are emotional. Have I done this before? I do get headaches and backaches but mostly they are either because I am sick or because of strenuous physical work like sitting in that uncomfortable seat in the flight for 9 hours. I do feel fatigued on certain days but that’s a rare occurrence. Otherwise, I was guilty of occasionally faking physical complaints to avoid a certain situation or people. Maybe that was my way of expressing disinterest? Is disinterest an emotion? Not sure. Only experts can say.
Men remodel one feeling into other feelings. They tend to convert emotions that they perceive as weak like sadness into an emotion that they feel is strong, like anger. The belief that it is okay for men to express anger but not sadness could be because the former is considered as a more masculine feeling. We have all done that. When I feel incredibly sad about how little common sense few people have, I turn the hulk mode on and smash that like button, err, smash whatever is in hand. I miss my Nokia 3310. Sigh!
Walking away is the default survival instinct. When men find themselves in an emotional situation they tend to walk away from that place or situation to calm themselves down. Be it when you are arguing with your better half or when you are in a group where the stupidity hits the fan. I have walked away from a lot of arguments when I sense that my heartbeat is rising up. But with this Corona fiasco on, not many people have the luxury of walking away from an argument. Please remember facing the conflict and having that argument with your wife is far healthier than going away and risking your life.
Is it really a blog post if you don’t leave a quote at the end to ponder about? Here is the food for thought on handling emotions from an anonymous person that is generally attributed to Lord Buddha (or Mark Twain, if you know what I mean) on the internet.
“Don’t promise when you are happy, don’t reply when you are angry and don’t decide when you are sad.”
Mr Sadogapan Govindan
To know more about the author, Mr Sadogapan, click here.
Do let us know in the comments below, if you feel the same about how men handle emotions or if you have anything more to add to the list.