The introduction to this series on Men and Their Emotions started with the premise that science tries to define and group our emotions but most of us are not even sure how many emotions we have, much less know how to manage them.
In this post, I’ll explain “the why” about our need to learn to manage our emotions. Some following posts will describe the “how” and “what” of these emotions that I believe is the most difficult for men to manage:
- Fear (especially of fear of failure)
- Pridefulness (Ego & Power)
- Guilt (Shame)
- Boredom (Aloneness)
As I continue in upcoming posts on each, I hope to format those in 4-parts:
- define the emotion
- describe the environmental and physiological reaction
- provide some biblical context
- suggest the appropriate response as a godly man
So let’s start with the “why” of learning to better manage your emotions.
Do You Know Thyself?
Like Socrates’ famous phrase “Know Thyself,” and Carl Jung’s quest for a fully integrated Self, men need the ability and time to understand themselves. This usually starts by asking questions.
- Are you willing to evaluate yourself?
- How well do you know your strengths?
- Do you acknowledge your limitations?
- Do you know “Why” you emote the way you do?
- Do you know how to respond to situations that stir up your emotions?
Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning suggests “He who has a ‘why’ to live, can bear any ‘how’.”
Additionally, Simon Sinek describes the need to ask “Why?” in his seminal TedTalk “Start With Why” before we move to the How and the What?
First, Mind Your Qs & Cues
In 1912, German psychologist William Stern came up with the formula “ratio of mental age to chronological age times 100” to measure IQ or Intelligence Quotient that signifies our mental potential and academic ability. Having a high IQ is considered a mark of brilliance with examples of Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, both with an IQ score of 160 leading the pack.
In his 1983 book, Frames of Mind, Howard Gardener put forth the Multiple Intelligences theory that argues there are several intelligence dimensions in the unique cognitive profile of each individual.
These dimensions or “quotients” led to new vocabulary for individual competencies, starting with IQ and now including others such as EQ (Emotional Quotient), which is the ability to understand your own and others’ emotions, and to use emotional information to guide thinking, behavior, and interpersonal relationships.
Recent additions include Curiosity Quotient (CQ) that measures open-mindedness. Adaptability or Adversity Quotient (AQ) measures our ability to adjust to different and ever-changing situations. Spiritual Quotient (SQ) measures whether a person is able to put the interests of others ahead of their own personal interests.
Newer Qs include UQ — the “You Quotient” as a measure of self-knowledge and personal intelligence. The YQ — the “Why Quotient” to measure an ability to define and pursue meaning in our life. (I won’t go so far (yet) as to suggest a GBQ — the God Buddy Quotient, but may end up doing so by the end of this series!)
My point with all these Qs is that men must have self-knowledge and remain intelligent about emotions. We should also be curious and adaptable with a spiritual aspect for how we manage our emtions.
But we should also know why certain “cues” trigger certain emotions but that will unfold in the later posts.
So “Why” must we must manage our emotions?
To Become like Jesus
One of the goals of having a God Buddy is to help us become more like our ultimate role model, Jesus Christ.
Jesus experienced a wide range of emotions Himself. He shows us the way to be strong, emotional people, yet compassionate and tender at the appropriate times.
Jesus openly wept (see John 13:25). He felt deep compassion for people (see Mark 3:5). Jesus also got tired, He was asleep in the back of a boat in the midst of a storm on the Sea of Galilee. He even displayed righteous anger (Mark 3:5).
Though Scripture does not speak of Jesus laughing, we should not assume He was never happy. He rejoiced with saving people (Luke 15:5-6) and in defeating Satan (Luke 10:21). There are also several occasions with a touch of humor in His parables such as attempting to remove a splinter from another’s eye, while a beam protrudes from your own eye (Matthew 7:4), and swallowing a camel (Matthew 23:24).
Jesus Had All “The Qs”
There is no doubt that Jesus had a high IQ. He held his own in intellectual debates over spiritual matters with the most-learned theologians of His day – even at the age of twelve! (Luke 2:47). He was able to think fast on his feet as evidenced by any of a number of His confrontations with His enemies (see Matthew 12:3, 26; Mark 2:17; 3:4; and Luke 11:39).
Jesus was The Master at managing emotions and able to do so while avoiding any sinful abuse of His emotions.
But He Was God
Most importantly, we must know that we can’t be like “perfectly” like Jesus in our emotions. He was fully man but He was God and we are not.
So while we’ll never attain perfection in managing our emotions, Jesus can still be our model for our emotional lives. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and left us with The Spirit too.
Scripture tells us “Above all else guard your heart, everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23).
But it requires we first acknowledge our need for a change.
It is not until we relinquish our struggle with emotion, can we begin to better manage those emotions. All of our thoughts, desires, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes come from the condition of our hearts.
So it begins with a heart transformation.
The next post is about “how” our emotions became so hard for men to manage.