Home Mind How to Man Up: The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Masculinity

How to Man Up: The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Masculinity

Being a man comes with certain societal expectations, and just one of many of them is guidelines in how men should deal with their emotions. For a long time now, the main rule has been to “man up”. Bottle up all your emotions and hide them away. To many, crying is a sign of weakness in men, and it’s a stereotype that has been driven so far into the ground that it’s now ingrained in several different cultures.

representation of emotional intelligence and masculinity - Man sitting alone

People who subscribe to these beliefs are lacking in emotional intelligence, also known as EQ. A high EQ is a vital prospect in all people, including men. The role of emotional intelligence in masculinity is essential when defining a man. How so? Well let’s get into the details.


What is Emotional Intelligence?

What is emotional intelligence in men - Man contemplating

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is defined by one’s ability to recognize and regulate one’s own emotions, as well as the ability to be empathetic towards other peoples’ emotions.

Someone who has high emotional intelligence has a good understanding of both their strengths and shortcomings. They’re able to think reasonably without letting their emotions get in the way, but doing so without completely stifling them.

People with low emotional intelligence are seen as being detached and with a difficult time relating to most people. They often have difficulty processing emotions that they typically stifle, like anger, so if it becomes too much, it can lead to lashing out. They tend to shame themselves or others for emotional vulnerability. It’s common that they’ll hide their own fears and emotional wounds, putting them on the back burner until they inevitably bubble over.


Emotional Intelligence and Manhood

Manhood - Man in a suit in the shadows

A man who is emotionally detached from his feelings may seem strong on the outside, but such detachment makes it hard for them to socialize, find a partner, or really understand their own faults.

An emotionally detached man may look more masculine and may be that perfect image of masculinity you see on TV, but their relationships with others can feel hollow and their awareness of themselves can seem lacking. There is a difference between looking more masculine and being more masculine.

By bottling up their emotions, they are more subject to being influenced by them, ironically enough. When they feel a rush of powerful emotion, such as anger, it can result in lashing out. What they gain in outward appearance, they lose in practicality. You may find that they’re fairly tough on themselves because of it, but it never does them any favors.

A man who is emotionally intelligent is a man who has discipline over themselves. They know themselves inside and out, and because of that, they’re able to tackle tough decisions while still keeping a level head. They know themselves well enough to not lash out when things get too upsetting, and instead of bottling everything up, they allow these emotions to wash over them for a small period of time.

Emotionally intelligent men understand that anger and sadness are very real parts of life, but also that these feelings are ultimately just temporary, allowing them to take on situations that stereotypically masculine men shy away from.

Men who are emotionally intelligent are also far more likely to develop long lasting relationships with friends, partners, and their kids. It allows them to get along better with work colleagues and opens up a mountain of opportunities, as opposed to someone who closes their emotions off.

Finally, there’s your well-being. Having a high EQ is necessary for a man’s well-being. One of the stereotypes of the emotionally detached man is the ignorance of mental health problems.

When you stuff all of your emotions in a singular, tiny bottle, it’s going to overflow. Men who hide away all of their emotions are far more likely to develop mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, things that aren’t as easy to hide away and can be a huge handicap for those who strive to complete their goals, build their masculine frame, have fruitful social interactions and generally be a better man. They’re not something you can grit your teeth through, though some men will certainly try.


How to Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

How to Develop Your Emotional Intelligence - Lightbulb enlightenment

Developing your emotional intelligence requires a further understanding of your own emotions. Experts advise that you practice self-reflection and mindfulness. You should always understand the driving factors of your actions, and if you feel as though you’re getting overwhelmed with your emotions, you need to learn how not to act out on impulse, such as with anger.

If you feel as though you truly have a problem with your emotional intelligence, or you just don’t know the right coping skills, you may want to seek the guidance of a professional. There is never any shame in speaking to a therapist about any issues you may be facing. You’re far more likely to develop an understanding of yourself and even any underlying issues you may not know you’ve had. Either way, seeing a professional is always an option.