Emotions can cause a lot of unnecessary suffering when we are not equipped with the tools to manage them. In this episode, we are exploring what it means to have emotional intelligence: the idea of knowing our feelings, what they mean, and how they affect others.
Listen in as we share:
- How we describe our relationship with our emotions
- How we avoid our emotions
- What situations bring up a lot of emotions for us
- Our greatest learning about emotions
By the end of this episode, you’ll realize that you have far more influence over your emotional well being than you give yourself credit for.
– Connect with us –
Welcome to the game and going deeper podcast, a podcast series by the gay men’s brotherhood, where we talk about everything, personal development, mental health, and sexuality, your hosts today are the terrific trio of Michael Allen and myself. Matt. Today, we’re gonna be talking about emotional intelligence. It’s going to be digging into all the juicy stuff around emotions. We have four questions that we’re going to be unpacking.
The first one is how would you describe your relationship to your emotions? In what ways do you avoid your emotions? What are certain situations that bring up a lot of emotions for you? And what is your greatest learning about emotions that you can share with the audience? So today is going to be at a vulnerable episode. Folks, we’re going to be digging into some,
some juicy things. So we will be continuing these discussions, obviously the last Thursday of every month, which we do in the gay men’s brotherhood, where we have our zoom Hangouts, where you will be invited to come and share your experience. This podcast and YouTube channel is listener and viewer supported. So if you are really enjoying what we’re creating, you can support us by heading over to our Patrion page,
where you can find the link in the show notes and contribute by supporting the show. It helps us to continue making content for you and supporting our community. So we do thank you in advance for your generosity and just a, a call out. We are, we’ve officially opened the game in going deeper membership doors. They are open. Now, if you’ve been waiting to join in on more than just once a month of the zoom Hangouts,
we offer them weekly. In this space, we do lots of personal development. We do lots of community building and, and coaching, right? So we have a lot of great programming planned for you guys in 2022. So come on over and join us by going to the game and going keep.com. So you can register today. And in January, I will be taking members through our healing.
Your shame course, it’s a course that you can take on your own, but I’m going to be taking people through it over the course of a 12 week journey. So if you’re wanting to heal your shame and move towards more of your authenticity, I would encourage you to join the membership. So you can come on that journey with myself. All right.
So we’re going to, we, we always read a review. So we have one this week from Dean Duncan. He says, where has this been? All my life. I’m so distressed by the lack of dialogue and heteronormative media on the internet. I’m a clinical psychologist working with couples, but also personally, this is valuable. I love to tackle.
I’d love to tackle some issues. I’ve been dying to go deeper on relational boundaries, lone Wolf, dating apps and culture. While we have all of that, we have an episode for each one of those. And I’m assuming you’re referring to that. And Dana, if you have not joined us, come and join us in the game of men’s brotherhood.
Cause your clinical experience as a psychologist can be very much beneficial in our community. So come on over and join us. Okay. So let’s hop in. I want to just do a little bit of a recap because this month, this is the third episode of the empowerment series. So we’ve been talking about confidence. We did a episode on real versus fake confidence.
We did one on dating apps, and now we’re doing one on emotional intelligence. We see these as three primary things when it comes to feeling empowered as a gay man. So we are excited to be talking about this today. So the, the term emotional intelligence was actually introduced by Daniel Goldman and he defines emotional intelligence as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions.
And those of the people around you, people with a high degree of emotional intelligence, know what they are feeling, what their emotions mean and how these emotions can affect other people. So he’s identified five domains when it, when it comes to being emotionally intelligent, the first one being self-awareness second one being self-regulation the third one being motivation, fourth, one empathy,
and the last one social skills. So today I’ve designed the question specifically to talk about self-awareness and self-regulation, we’re not going to go too much into motivation, empathy and social skills, because it’s just, we don’t have enough time. So it’s a lot of stuff to go over. So, so to give people an idea around self-awareness, this is just basically having an understanding of your emotional world,
who you are, how you are as an emotional person. And then self-regulation is going to be looking at how we manage our emotions, right? So we can become more emotionally intelligent. So let’s start out by just kind of defining what our emotions, because some people might not understand what emotions are and might not have a lot of self-awareness around this. So according to Don and Sandra Hawkinberry in the book,
discovering psychology and emotion is a complex psychological state that involves three distinct components. So a subjective experience, a physiological response and a behavioral or an expressive response, right? So for people who aren’t very expressive and they just have a lot of emotions going on inside, it’s like we have this perception of reality. It creates a physiological response. Our nervous system becomes activated and we have an emotion,
right? One of the most profound ways of working with emotions is learning to express them. So I think this is going to be something that we’re going to be able to chat a bit more about today. And then a couple of things for me that I wanted to point out is what for me, what emotions are there? They’re emotional, they’re they’re messengers of need,
right? They’re, they’re constantly communicating to us what we need as far as things that are going on, met in our lives or things that we want to move towards. So I look at emotions as like the compass to giving us direction of what, how we can get our needs met and how we can feel fulfilled. They do stimulate our nervous system.
This is where they actually come through there. They live in the body, they come through the nervous system and we need to learn to work with our nervous systems if we want to get good at processing our emotions. So looking at different ways that people deal with emotions, we have there’s three categories. So we have over-regulation, which is people who tend to avoid.
It’s an avoidance pattern with emotion. So it’s, it can be distracting, numbing repression using any sort of addictive substance or behavior as a way to, to avoid or over-regulate. And then we have people who tend to fall under the under regulation category, which is people that get anxious. They get flooded by their emotion. So we want to learn how to practice self regulation,
right? When we’re, when we’re over overly anxious about our emotional states. And then we have something called healthy emotion processing, which is people who don’t avoid or become anxious by their emotions. They tend to be pretty, even keel. And they’re able to practice the, the art of allowance, right? Allowing our emotions to move through us and self-regulation,
which is going to be learning self-soothing techniques when our nervous system does become under-regulated or over-regulated, we can learn how to work with our nervous system. And I want to just, I want to point out that it is completely normal and natural to move through all of these, right? We don’t just get great at emotions and we’re we’re we, we stay that way.
Like things can happen in our lives where we become, we, we, we do need to move into under regulation or over-regulation, there’s no judgments. And I think it’s just, that’s part of the allowing and becoming emotionally intelligent is understanding that this is just part of being human, right. Emotions are messy. And you know, some, some research around emotions and the nervous system is they are energy.
Emotions are energy that they, they, they excite in the nervous system. They’re particles of energy there, science around this. And it takes about 90 seconds for an emotion to fully release if you allow it right. And if you don’t, it tends to go into, it stays stuck in and trapped in your body. So this is why in my,
my personal opinion, I think a lot of diseases, mental health addiction, these sorts of things are unprocessed emotion that we haven’t learned to work with yet. So that’s why I think this topic is so important and I wanted to bring it forward just because I think there’s so much value in learning how to be emotionally intelligent. So let’s, let’s start with the first question.
How would you describe your relationship to your emotions? And I’m going to choose Mr. Callan. I knew it he’d gone to, I love this topic first and foremost. I just want to say that, and I loved your explanations at the beginning because you think that’s really important for everybody to understand a lot of those things. So it was a really,
really great intro, set everything up perfectly, just a little background on me. I came from a history of being very avoidant. Like I locked things down, very avoidant from like a divorced family life. It was like, I remember not crying from kind of the moment. My parents really separated when I was like five or six, like really young until I was like 16.
There was like 10 years where I just I’d never cried at anything. Like it was like a fucking wall until I kinda like all cracked when my dad finally kicked me out when I was 16. So it was just like an explosion happened. And since then, I’ve gotten a lot better at regulating those emotions. So my relationship with emotions is very up and down when I was younger,
it was like, they didn’t exist. They were like under lock and key. It was like, those aren’t there. Those aren’t real because I had to keep it together for the family. Cause everybody else in my family was a fucking hot mess. Like my, my family were like over a functioning, emotional people. Like they were all had thoughts and feelings and emotions and all sorts of things.
And I was just like, I guess I have to keep it together for all y’all. But as I got older and once I did start kind of crying, I remember developing a better relationship with my emotions, not by figuring out what was going on inside of me, but by allowing things like TV or movies or reading books now, especially to just allow me to connect to an emotion and feel the emotion that the character was feeling.
And if it hit me emotionally, I let myself cry where like nobody else could be around. Like, that’s still like, was like a hard, no, but I allowed myself to feel those emotions finally. And I didn’t know where they were coming from, but I knew it had to do a lot with like all those lockdown emotions for years, they just needed to come up and they needed to process.
So my relationship with emotions has gotten a lot better over the years by using that tactic of allowing like really great, like I love really great scripted TV, like just TV that just like it’s telling you a story and it’s building the characters and your connection to the characters and the emotions. And like when they go through a powerful transformation or something powerful happens and you can feel that on such a level for yourself and like the tears come,
like, let it rip, like I’m now that person who I can, I can let it rip. And I have no shame about that. But the thing that probably does it for me the most is reading books, especially over the pandemic, like past two years. I’ve, I mean, I’ve always been a big reader since I was 28. I kind of started,
but reading books in the pandemic obviously had a lot more time, but I also made a commitment to read LGBTQ plus books, base books so that I could actually like, feel it on a different level. Cause like, you know, heteronormative books are, and I love fantasy, but I didn’t feel a connection like I did when I started reading by gay books.
And so there’s a couple of series that I love and I read and if y’all are interested, just messaging in the group or something, but after that, I won’t dive into it now, but there’s like this one series that it’s just like, oh God, it gets me right in the fields because it’s two lead characters, gay men. And just like the emotions that they’re going through and all the things like I remember in book four or five in book five,
something happens to a character. And I just like, I sobbed for like over an hour in bed, like I should have been sleeping. I was like full on sobbing. And then my roommate, the next day, it’s like, oh, are you okay? Let’s go. I got it. I was like, this happened to my book. He’s like,
oh, you’re fucking kidding me. Right. But it’s kind of been this door that allowed me to kind of walk through and experience those emotions. And I now know through all the work that I’ve done, that it kind of connects the dots as to like, I don’t know what the emotions are that are hiding in me or what stuff I need to process from my past.
I know it on an intellectual level and I’ve done that work, but on an emotional work level, I know that I could like afford to cry a little bit more and to let things out. And so by reading and allowing myself to experience those emotions through those characters, I like, I can let it rip. And it’s like the most releasing relieving thing,
I call it like the Oprah ugly cry where you just like, let it go. And then the next day you just feel so much lighter. Like we’ve all had that experience where you’re just like, oh God, I feel so much lighter. So my relationship with my emotions has definitely grown over the years and it continues to get better. So yeah,
those are kind of the tools that I use to activate or access my emotions. I guess you could say. What about you, Michael? Yeah. All right. This is a great question. And I love it because I knew exactly how I was going to answer it, even though it might seem juvenile, but for anyone who has seen the movie inside out,
the relationship I have with my emotions is exactly the same. That is how I like to visualize and imagine emotions within me. So, you know, and this is a very recent thing, you know, before I used to like many people identify with them, get caught up with them. You know, like Matt was talking about at the beginning, either get flooded or avoid.
I was more of an avoid kind of guy still to some extent. But now when I, when I’m caught up in my emotions, I like to imagine them all around like a dinner table. And there’s me real Michael, with all these little characters and in the movie Riley, the, the main character had the, the basic six emotions that people often refer to,
which is anger, surprise, joy, disgust, sadness, and fear. And mine would be a little bit different if I had to pick six there’s more than six, of course. But if I had to pick six, I would say my favorites are excitement, calm, and joy. Those are three that I’d love. And, but of course we know that,
you know, the emotional experience is not just a positive one. So we have to have some negative ones in there too. And I have a very, very strong relationship with, with my negative emotions, actually more so than my positive ones. And that’s only, only recently because of the work I’ve done in actually bringing them to the surface and getting to know them.
So the negative ones that I know very well would be fear, anxiety, and awkwardness. All of them I’m kind of experiencing right now is we do this podcast to some extent, but I’m managing it. Obviously I’m here, I’m doing the thing. So yeah, my relationship with my emotions is one where I can identify them and not identify them as kind of separate or as temporary things that show up in certain circumstances.
Then they go away in other circumstances and then I’ll be triggered by something else in the external world and then this other emotional show up. So I like to imagine them as characters in my mind. And yes, I know that that the movie inside out seems truthful now, but I definitely recommend everyone go watch it. It is a masterclass in emotional intelligence.
So on the topic of negative emotions since I think that’s where, oh my gosh, I said big giant owl right in front of my building. Okay. It’s huge. It’s amazing. I’m sorry. So the thing with negative emotions that I would say is that they are the ones that I avoided the most for most of my life up until very recently.
However, as I’ve come to terms with learning, how to process them, learning to invite them in learning that they’re, they’re meant to be they’re there, they’re part of the human experience. The goal is not to banish them. It has completely transformed the way I show up in, in my work and my personal life and in everything. Because, you know,
you realize that that the goal is to first of all, that they have a purpose and they have a purpose. They’re there to tell you something they’re there to not. You had said they’re a messenger, right? Have a need, great way to say it. They’re there to communicate with you. And they’re actually there for you, even though it is a,
a negative experience. Like for example, my heart beats very fast when I’m nervous or when I’m scared, it might seem, you know, your body’s saying this is a dangerous experience, but when you can regulate that and realize, okay, what’s actually going on, what’s the need that I need to have met. And then, you know, go about meeting that need it completely transforms.
So, so much. So I’d say the first step in any habit, having any relationship with your emotions is naming it and identifying it and explaining it. I think that, you know, going back to self-awareness is such a hard thing. I want to challenge the listener out there to name as many emotions as you can. And I bet you can’t get past 10.
It’s usually like mad, sad, happy, whatever. There, there’s not that many that we get to, but researchers at Berkeley have identified actually 27 distinct emotions, which to me, I was like, there’s 27. I, you know, even, I can’t think much more than 15, but we have so many of them and they’re always applied.
It’s not like we just have one in one moment. Right? Like, like I said, there’s like this, I imagine this dinner table. And they’re all kind of, they’re fighting for my attention and fighting for a piece. And I gotta be like, listen, everyone, I hear you. We’re all here. Here’s what’s going to happen. That kind of it is that regulation.
It is it’s, I wouldn’t say control cause I don’t believe I really can control it, but I can regulate it and impact my experience of it. Whereas I think before what I would do is get flooded, totally become at the whim of whatever I’m feeling anger and then do something stupid to say something stupid and just make my situation worse. So yeah,
I think in terms of relationship with emotion, anyone out there, if you want to develop your relationship with your emotion first start by naming it, identifying it, what does it feel like? Describe it or do you feel it in your body? Right. That’s, that’s another key way to develop that relationship. And I don’t think you answered the first question,
so I want to hear from you. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. So I’ve made it very public on here that I am highly sensitive. I’m empathic. And with that comes emotional reactivity, right? It’s just, it comes with the territory and that’s both emotions. That’s both positive and negative. I feel things very, very deeply. I remember being a child and I was,
I grew up in a household where there was a lot of conflict. So I was always in fear. Fear was a very common thing that I felt as a kid. And I, so it was very intense for me, just very, very intense. I remember feeling just so much. And then there was some, some traumatic things that happened in my childhood.
And I think at that point in my life, I just shut off, completely shut off. I went into over-regulation and I actually developed a codependency as a, as an over-regulation tactic because I made everybody else’s emotions. Like I just focused on their emotions, their, their stuff. And I just completely abandoned my sense of self. And, and I lived that way from probably all the way until I was probably like,
cause it’s crazy to even think this, but probably until I was about 24, just completely shut off. And my, this is, I think this is why my spiritual path, like from 24 till now, what 30, almost 37 has been so intense for me. Everything’s been so intense for me. I’ve been, I’ve suffered so much in the last 10 or 15 years because I had such a backlog of emotions when you overregulate those emotions,
emotions, someones just evaporate, right? They stay stuck inside you and my healing journey has been about reconnection to myself, learning how to feel. And I, the first, the first, probably five years of my spiritual journey and, and developing a spiritual practice, I was completely spiritually, right. I would be, I w I didn’t know how to emotionally regulate.
So I would wish my emotions away. I would do ceremonies, or I would do plant medicines, or I would hold crystals, or I would, you know, chant or whatever the hell you do. And I would, I was trying to discharge emotion, but really emotion can’t be discharged in any other way, other than feeling right. You have to feel the emotion.
So this has been a profound learning for me. And most of my relationships have been complete train wrecks because of this, because I didn’t know how to regulate my emotions growing up. And this is a very it’s, it’s, I’d say it’s fairly new for me being like a strong emotion regulator, like within the last two or three years. And I would say the,
the biggest thing that helped me become good at regulating my emotions is, is healing trauma, because trauma really is just an accumulation of unprocessed emotional energy. And, and when you have so much of it occupying your nervous system, you actually can’t regulate if you have a backlog of emotion, because it just floods you, right. And you, you’re not,
you’re your prefrontal cortex cortex goes offline and it’s very, very difficult to regulate. So now, when something emotional happens, I, I don’t really go above a five out of 10, whereas before I was, I would constantly be hovering at a five out of 10. And then if something intense would happen in my life, I would go to like an eight or a nine,
or even a 10 at a 10. So it’s like good luck regulating from that place. Right. Like you basically are just in survival mode. So I would say my relationship to emotions now is, is so different. So different. Like, I feel, I feel like I’ve, this has been probably the biggest thing that’s helped me develop. My more of my authentic self is because of that.
My I now I’m actually using my compass. Right. I’m actually listening to the messages of my emotions and they’re guiding me. Right. My emotions are constantly guiding me. So the more I feel, the more I, I connect to the parts of me that while they need to be loved or be neat to be inspired or whatever, right. Like I just feel like I have much more intelligence around who I am because of learning how to feel my emotions.
So yeah, I would say that’s probably the best answer I could go into talking more about the avoidance, but I think that’s the next question. So I won’t go into that too much now. So yeah. We can just keep the same order. So Callen, in what ways do you avoid your emotions? Well, as somebody who got really good at managing my emotions,
like I’ve, I I’ve never been an outburst person. Like I’ve never had, I can not recall in my lifetime when I had an actual outburst outside of adolescence, like as an adult, I’ve never lost it. I’ve never had like the short fuse and exploded or like any of that in any way. Like, you know, whether it could be,
be super good or bad. And I think I avoid emotions and I know I avoid emotions because I’ll think about it. I guess I’m a very methodical person. Like I will be thinking about my emotions and I’ll see them and I’ll feel them. And I’d be like, yeah, we can’t do that right now. And like, I’ll just be like,
mm, not right now we’ll do that later or on the weekend or something like that, because I’d like to kinda like get things done and I’m just kind of like a go getter. I’m like, okay, let’s focus on this or do that, or whatever. I’ve gotten a lot better at that, but I kind of probably avoid emotions, I guess.
You know what, I think a lot of people avoid their emotions by watching TV and like numbing themselves and like going out and drinking and partying. And for me, I find that that actually heightens my emotions and allows me to access them more, especially how I said about the TV. It kind of is a doorway for me to like understand them more.
And by seeing them explore it in other people, I can go, oh yeah, I can resonate with that. And so I let it bring those things up in me. And so for me, that’s actually a way for me to access that. Whereas I know most people that would be their way to avoid it, but yeah, I think for me,
it’s just, when they come up, sometimes I’m very good at like recognizing them and be like, oh shit, I’m getting this. Or, oh, I’m getting like hyper or whatever. If it’s good feelings, I never limit those. Like if I’m out with people and like having a happy go lucky time, like I never taper those out, but it’s more of like the kind of quote unquote negative emotions that I’m like,
oh, I gotta lock that down for right now. And it’s usually just because I don’t like doing that in front of people, because for me it comes down to safety and it’s like, it goes back to, I remember we did a top, you’re like your top five people, your inner circle podcast episode. If you’ve not listened to it, go back and listen to it.
But it’s like, I kind of reserved those moments for people who deserve it and who I feel safe with, who I know are going to be able to hold me in that space. So if I am feeling super vulnerable and I need comfort, or I need just a support in that emotion that I’m feeling, I actually had one of these recently that I’ve not really talked about.
I don’t think I’ve talked about it all on the podcast yet, but my mom was diagnosed with cancer really recently as like last month. And the moment I found out, I kind of went into like a, like, I started like tunnel visioning and it was like, oh no, I’m just going to shut this down. But then I knew, I was like,
no, I can’t, I can’t do that. I know what that’s going to lead to. And that leads to me cutting myself off and like not processing and all that kind of stuff. So what I did instead was I texted Michael and I was like, can I come over later? I was like, I just, I really need to be around like some people right now,
like some good people. And so I kind of like locked everything down until then. I did the things I had to do during the day. And it was maybe a couple hours later and I went over to Michael’s and star and they were like, are you okay? And I was just like, absolutely not. And like, I couldn’t even say the words.
And so when I first said the words, like I just burst into tears and I just let it happen because Michael and star two people, my life as yourself as well, Matt, but you live far away, but like are the type of people that have earned that right in my life. And so for me, it’s not as much as trying to avoid the emotion.
Now it’s more keeping it of on the back burner until I can be in that safe space, whether it’s by myself or with people who are like, I trust that, then I can allow those emotions to come through and to be processed. And if you’re all wondering, my mom did have surgery, it all went well. We’re still waiting on kind of more tests and things to come back,
but everything is looking very positive. Bingo. So I’ll just leave that there, but I couldn’t have done this like a month ago. Like I couldn’t have talked about it openly without having it trigger me in mentally, but because I’ve processed the emotion around it and like all the things I can now talk about it. And it’s like, okay, yeah,
this is something that happened still a little sore, but it’s not to the point where it’s like going to take me over. So that’s how I kind of avoid emotions being stays. What about you, Michael? Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for, thank you for sharing that, that, that was a very powerful experience for myself as well. And I want to say that from my perspective,
you know, showing, showing that kind of vulnerability in what you did in coming over and having, you know, the, the knowledge to say, Hey, you know what, I’m not going to do the usual thing I do. And I’m going to do this scary thing. Instead. I perceive that as nothing but courageous, extremely courageous and very strong and powerful.
So I want to give you kudos for that. And for anyone out there listening, I think a lot of people are, have this fear of thinking, oh, you know, if I admit I’m using air quotes, if I admit that I’m scared or anxious, then that makes me look weak. It makes me look this, you know, people are going to judge me or reject me,
but I would, I would argue that most of the time, that’s not the case. I think most of the time people see that as strength. So yeah. Okay. How do I avoid my emotions? Well, I do it the way Calvin said I, yeah, for me, my, my favorite is like, let’s just put this away,
put this in the box and let’s go party. Let’s go, let’s go drink. Let’s go have all kinds of sex. Cause that feels really good. Or the other thing is the sky here in my phone. I like to just not want to deal with them. It’s what’s on Instagram. Let’s go scroll. Let’s go scroll Instagram. Let’s go see who who’s on Facebook,
that kind of thing. So those are the two main ways I would say, you know, these days in the last couple of years, the partying and sex has subsided. So it’s more subtle. The, the iPhone, like I noticed, even when I’m working, even if I say, okay, I have to do this, I have to do this,
this piece of content. As soon as I go sit down and I’ll yell, but first I’m just going to check my phone, which tells me, okay, Michael, what’s going on here? Why, why do you not want to get this done? Why are you avoiding the work? What are you afraid of? Freedom? And then I kind of do my own self work there.
So I would say historically definitely have been a lot of pleasure seeking. So, and again, there’s nothing wrong with drinking or partying or sex. That’s not the issue I want to make it clear. What I’m saying is when you’re using these things, as a means of avoiding and numbing your pain, it’s just, I’m going to save you all some time.
It’s not going to work because it doesn’t make the pain go away or it doesn’t make the negative emotion go away, whatever, whatever is your feeling, right? We’re all, we’re all running from something, loneliness, suffering, anxiety, stress, whatever, it doesn’t make it go away. It in fact prolongs it because you’re just not dealing with it.
You’re putting it in the closet. And it’s just staying there and growing, getting stinkier and stinkier, having more of a shitty impact on your life, creating results that you don’t even want. And you don’t know why it’s happening. So allowing it to be there, sitting with it and everyone’s like, oh, I don’t want to. No, no,
no. I don’t want to, I don’t want to sit with things. I know that sounds terrible. I don’t want to sit with my stress. I don’t, I don’t want to sit with grief. Right? These are things that we don’t want to say with, but I think not, you had said 90 seconds, you know, sometimes it’s just as quick as 90 seconds and that can start.
That’s not gonna go away, but it can start to find that you could find that relief through allowing not necessarily just through like popping on your grinder and seeing who’s online. Right. And we think that’s the case and I’ve done it. But again, it just prolongs up the next day or the next day the guy walks out your door and guess what?
You’re still left with a giant pile of negative emotions that you have to deal with. So, you know, those are, I think my, my, my favorite coping mechanisms, and while they can help with coping, like it does provide a sense of temporary relief. I want to underline, highlight the word temporary. Sure. You can have a glass of wine after a hard day of work and just kind of ease the pain a bit.
But that is not a solution. That is a very short-term coping, coping mechanism, not, not the solution. So the solution of course is to allow it process it. Sometimes that means talking to somebody about it. You know, like with Callan’s example, you know, sometimes you need the connection. You need support. If you have that loved ones,
family, friends, even professionals can help you through this so that you’re not numbing. You’re not over drinking, over eating, over working. That’s another one overworking over gaming, over shopping. There’s no shortage of ways we can numb our emotions. So those are my favorite sex partying. And then my iPhone. Yeah, mine, mine have kind of shifted over the years.
I think I, I learned from a young age, I think I started using drugs and smoking cigarettes when I was 11. And now that now looking back, like in retrospect, I’m like, it makes sense, right? Like I needed some way to numb out because I was feeling so, so intensely. And then I, I D I started progressively getting worse and worse and like dabbling with harder drugs.
And by the time I was 17, I was using crack. And I pretty much used, like from 17 to 20, I was using like weekly. And then from 20 to 24, while I was in school for learning how to become an addictions counselor, I would once every three months or something, I would go on a hardcore binge. So I didn’t fully sober up.
And this is, this isn’t super public. This is, I’m kind of exposing myself here, but Hey, you gotta be authentic till I was about 24. That’s when that was, that was the last time that I remember using crack. And, and then throughout my twenties, I would say I was sexually compulsive. And I was watching a lot of porn and having a lot of sex.
And then I started moving through a lot of spiritual work and doing a lot of deep, deep work. And I was able to kind of shed those, but then where I find myself currently, as I still do over-regulate at times when things get intense, but I do it consciously. I consciously over-regulate. I don’t, I don’t just go on autopilot.
I say, okay, things are feeling too intense right now. I don’t have the bandwidth to be with this stuff right now. So I’m going to consciously choose to move towards two things that I really enjoy. And one is food. I love food. And my phone, my phone is that it’s bad guys. Like I’m on my phone way too much.
And to the point, like, I’m very sensitive to electronics as well. So I have to really be mindful of how much I’m on them. And I do get overstimulated constantly. My nervous system gets overstimulated constantly because I’m on my phone too much. So I’m really learning how to have balance around that. And there’s two, there’s two questions I’m asking myself.
So when I’m finding myself emotionally eating, I will ask myself, Matt, what are you actually hungry for? Like, what are you, what are you looking for? And usually it’s connection. Believe it or not, I’m feeling disconnected from people and I’m, I’m wanting connection, or I’m feeling disconnected from myself and I need to go within, and then the same thing with my phone,
like it’s just scrolling, constantly scrolling and I have to stop and pause and be like, what am I actually looking for? Right. Like, and its connection, like usually. And that’s why I say like, you know, if you look at addiction, I really don’t believe that the cure to addiction is abstinence or sobriety. I think it’s connection because when people who are struggling so much and they’re so disconnected from themselves,
the remedy is usually connection to self and other, and then you find that the addiction starts to dissipate. So, yeah, I, but I’m, I’m again, I’m learning. I do, I do feel like a newbie with emotions still. Like, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s quite new. So I give myself a lot of grace and say,
you know what, Hey, I can’t, I can’t be with this right now. So I’m not going to shame myself. I’m not going to beat myself up. I’m just going to put this over here for a bit and go in, eat for a bit. And then I’ll come back to it. When I feel like my nervous system is able to,
to bring it back online. So I actually have something I want to say about that, man. Cause you brought up this point about addiction and how you think it’s like being social and like connection that that is cure. And I fully fully believe that as well, because I think there was, I have no idea where this actually came from. So don’t quote me,
but they did a scientific study with either mice or brats and they put drugs in whether it was like crack or whatever in the water. And the mice that they left alone would like drink themselves to death. Like they would go at it like until they killed themselves. But the ones that were put in an area where there was other either mice or rats and that they had a lot of toys and a lot of things to do together,
they would go and use it. But then they would go and have fun. They wouldn’t like they wouldn’t kill themselves with it. So I like, and I think it was a social experiment they were doing because of like, you know, if being social and having that connection could help in that. So yes, I fully fully agree with that. Yeah.
Yeah. It kind of makes me think of gabber, Mateus documentary called the wisdom of trauma. And he goes to down into east Hastings in Vancouver. And a lot of the people in that documentary are describing attachment trauma. Right. They all have attachment trauma. What is attachment trauma leads to disconnection from self and other. Right. So I do think when we heal attachment trauma,
we learn how to connect again. And then we get all the things that we’re looking for outside of ourselves. We start to learn how to meet those. And so, yeah, I fully, yeah, but that was a really profound study that was done. Okay. What are certain situations that bring up a lot of emotions for you? Callin Joy.
I love joy. Like when I know still pen Demi life, we’re supposed to go back to dodgeball, but they canceled that. They postponed it just cause everything that’s going on, but I won’t dwell on that, but I love being social with people like that. And even though I’m awful at Dodge ball, it brings up such joy to me. So like just being social and doing that kind of stuff just brings up like,
oh, like exactly what we were just talking about. Just being with other people and like having fun and whether that’s having some drinks or going out for food or just watching a movie or doing whatever, just being connected and social with like good people with people who have like, who really add value to my life. And I know that I add value to their life and like,
we have really balanced, great relationships. Like that just brings up all the great, lovely emotions in me. And like, I can find myself in Dodge ball and I know it sounds silly, but like just experiencing like the most crazy amount of happiness and joy, even though nobody’s watching or nobody’s doing anything, I’m just like, I’m around other people.
I’m feeling connected. I’m feeling part of a team. I’m feeling part of like a group energy and it’s gay dodgeball as well. So everybody in there, like everybody’s their own, you know, flavor of the rainbow in there, you have, the super guys were like super athletic and they want to win. And then the other guys were like myself,
it was awful. And like, I just enjoy playing and stuff. And I’ve caught myself in moments being like, this is just so great. Like I just freaking love this. Like, it just makes me so fucking happy. So that definitely brings up a lot of emotions on the joyous side of things. And then on the negative side of things,
what brings up a lot for me? I’ve I know that the thing that triggers me the most that I get the most like about is injustice. Like when I feel like a genuine injustice and I see it in front of my face, like I know that there’s injustices around the world, like, you know, poverty and black lives matters. And there’s a lot of like these types of injustices and yes,
they need to be talked about and like upset and you need to do things, but those are very prolonged, but I’m talking like the injustices, like in the moment when I can see somebody doing something or saying something in front of my face or something’s happening, like right in front of me and I can hear it, I’m like, ha ha like,
how are you saying this right now? Like, this is insane. That really, really pisses me off. And I will like rip somebody’s head off. If I know that they are in the wrong and I am in the right. And they’re just pretending like, they’re the like their shit don’t stink. I’ll be like, I will go to town.
So that’s probably the thing that triggers me the most is like injustice. That’s gonna go on. What about you, Michael? That one I love, I love this conversation. I think we should have another one. I know we talked about, we only have so much time, but maybe we can think about doing another one because I have so much to say,
okay, the, in terms of the triggering aspect, I thought of two, I thought of two examples of ones, very specific and very new as in like the last 12 months. And that is anytime. This is going to seem a bit random how specific it is. But anytime they show like those videos of like trees getting cut down or like rainforest being like wiped away,
I feel pain and hurt all over my body as if I am the tree being locked away. And it’s very strange how, how visceral it is. And that is a very triggering for me. And I don’t know where it comes from, why that is, but anytime I see those kinds of images on the news, or even if I’m walking down the street and they’re like taking down like a giant Oak tree,
like I’m like, I want to run out, what the fuck are you guys doing? Like, this is a tree. So I know it’s very specific, but that one randomly has come up and every time I see it, it does. It’s almost like traumatizing for me to see that happen. And I don’t know why. However, more generally I would say anytime I get very triggered,
anytime my value of freedom or authenticity gets, I perceive that it’s getting trampled on. So people telling me what to do. Don’t tell me what to fucking do. That’s just not going to work out for you or anytime I feel like I have an obligation like, oh, you have to go to this. Like those kinds of things. Like I just get so triggered by that.
Because again, it goes to, to my, my values of freedom and authenticity. Those are, I would say the two that get me the most triggered in terms of the, the negative sentence with respect to feel good emotions. So joy, excitement, all that good stuff that I love satisfaction. I would say I, you know, I have to kind of,
I can very easily think back to times four, I have had those emotions and feel the same intensity of it. If I just kind of close my eyes and bring myself there, the emotion comes back very intensely. And for me, I would say there’s a handful of situations where I’ve been traveling. They’ve all been somewhere. I’ve been traveling and I’ve been in nature and that’s the common theme.
And oddly enough, it’s been alone. So I’m by myself somewhere foreign while far away in like Caetano a jungle, a desert, you take your pick a beach. And I just feel very joyous, happy to like just pure satisfaction, like nothing. There’s nothing wrong with the world. It’s just this pure light and love kind of energy. Of course I’ve had that same kind of emotion with,
with people as well and lots of different circumstances. But those, those ones I would say are the ones that come to me most quickly and most easily. And probably that the two extremes of, of the end in terms of positive and negative. First of course, lots, lots in between. Yeah. Good question. I’m dying to hear what Matt has to say.
Hmm. Yeah. You guys made me think of a lot of things. It’s interesting because it’s so interesting. Interesting to kind of monitor like how I’m defaulting and I’m defaulting to think of emotions as bad. Like it’s like, I’m like, I forget that. Oh yeah. You can feel joy. And like all these other things, it’s like, I’m so used to like,
you know, trying to get away from these big dark, scary emotions. Cause I think I’ve felt like that so much of my life, but, and I wrote down three things and they’re all related to things. I’m, you know, like the bad emotions. So I’m going to try and add one in there. That’s good. But so the first thing that creates the most intensity for me as far as emotions would be relationships like bar none like intimate relationships.
Like I said, pretty much all my relationships except for my last one. Cause I did a lot of growth in that relationship, but I have shown up in like ways that I’m totally not proud of. I, and again, it’s attachment trauma. It just took over me. Right. And then I get fear. Like I get scared of abandonment or betrayal or I can’t trust easily.
Like that sort of energy comes up. And, but I, you know, so fear is the predominant emotion, but then do a lot of the work I’ve been doing on myself. I’m realizing that sure fear is there, but it’s not the bottom emotion. The bottom emotion is shame, right? Because if I feel worthy, it doesn’t matter if somebody betrays my trust or any of these things,
it’s because I’m putting too much of my emphasis on other, on them. So like shame is my healing. My shame has really helped me to be more comfortable in my relationships because I feel worthy of attracting good quality men. They’re going to treat me well. Whereas before I would kind of just settle for guys that didn’t really have their shit together and,
and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So second thing would be lying. I fucking hate when people lie to me and I’m because I’m highly empathic. I can feel when people are lying and you know, it just, it just creates anger for me. And then if I were to peel it back, cause anger is a secondary emotion,
I would say it’s hurt. I feel hurt when people lie to me because it just, it feels like they don’t respect me. Do you know what I mean? That they don’t respect me enough to give me the truth. So that would be one. And then the other one for me would be performing. It causes me anxiety. Like whenever I have to perform or put myself like under,
when I’m under the microscope, it just causes me anxiety. And I get all like jittery and anxious. Okay. And then I’m going to play the other side of the coin for joy because I love relationships. I love sex. I love relating. I love deep conversations. I love all the goodness of, of what relationships offer. And I’m very relationship oriented.
Like everything in my life is built around relationships and I love relationships. So I just think that even though I, I feared them and they do call, they do cause me to sit with all my stuff. When you really are in alignment with somebody, there’s nothing better like authentic relationships are really what I live for. They, they cause me to feel a lot of joy,
contentment, peace, love, tranquility, harmony, like all the good emotions come through whenever I’m in a good relationship. So yeah. All right. Where were we got? One more question. So what is your greatest learning about emotions that you can share with the audience? Callen? Okay. My greatest learning is that you have to do them Kiki.
Can’t run away from them. You have to do them. I they’ll take it from me. I literally tried for so long. So you, they’re not going to go away. They’re going to show up in your life and painful ways. And when I say that, I mean like, you know what you were saying to seize anxiety, stress, like all of these things they know like scientifically proven no stress adds to so many different diseases and problems that we have,
you know, like anyways, so yeah, you got feel them. And I have like the quote, you got to feel it to heal it. I love that. That’s one of my favorite ones. And then another thing I would say is if it’s all new and it’s all still very foreign to you is figure out your safe space. For me,
mine is in my bed when nobody else is home and I can have free rein. So whether that’s me reading a book that I know is going to trigger me and start crying and then I can allow myself to kind of let it rip and just feel into those emotions and just like, not care how long it’s going to last. But like, I’m talking to like the full on sobbing.
Like your body is shaking kind of crying and you don’t need to know why, but just go with it. And, or the opposite, you know, like Matt, you introduced me to, what is it? Primal, primal, scrambles, whatever. Because for me, allowing myself to physically and emotionally express anger in a confined safe space was for like,
I had locked that far away because as a younger person, I did not like the times that I let myself go there. And so allowing myself to do that and again, finding the safe space for, for me, I don’t do it when my roommate’s home. Cause he’d be like, what the fuck? But you know, when he goes out or when he’s away or whatever,
and if I have any kind of lingering stuff going on and I just feel like there’s just like a lingering leftover of like, or like frustration or whatever. I let myself just go and like scream into my pillows and just like punch them and kind of go crazy for a little while. And you know, sometimes it’ll activate something and it’ll go like even more intense.
And sometimes it’ll be like, that’s just it. I just needed you to get that little like Oop out. But yeah, finding your safe space and let allow yourself to kind of do those stupid things that you’re like, this is fucking stupid, but just do it because nobody else needs to know you’re doing it. You’re the only person who knows you’re doing it.
If you’re doing it in that safe space and you’re by yourself or whatever. So yeah, but you got to feel it to heal it. So that’s my 2 cents. What about you, Michael? I love it. I don’t know if I’ve heard. He said before Callen to healing. Oh yeah. Yeah. That’s good. Okay. I have to,
I’m going to just use them both because I can’t decide between them. So the first one is the benefit of negative emotions. The goal is not to be happy all the time. The goal is not to be only in the positive site all the time. That’s not the goal. That’s not fun. It’s can be very boring life. And you’re, you’re,
it’s the world gives us enough situations that it’s just not gonna happen. You’re just not going to have a little time. Sorry. So I think one of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned and that I would want to share is that there is benefit to the negative emotion. So it’s not something we even need to run away from something that you need to hide,
avoid resist or numb from there is benefit there for you. And you know, I’d, I’d say you, you want the full experience of life in order to have the happiness, you have to have the sorrow one cannot exist without the other. You know, I love serenity. It’s one of my favorite like calm, tranquility satisfaction, but I need to have anxiety,
stress and chaos. So that, that serenity is so much sweeter. So it’s all part of it. It’s all, it’s all part of the process. So we’re not running away from the negative there. Some of our best teachers, at least it’s been my experience. My fear, my shame has brought me to where I am today. And I wouldn’t,
I wouldn’t trade that for anything. So that’s one. And the other one is, as I was just saying it in the last segment about how I can close my eyes and create any emotion. I think we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the fact that we do influence our emotions. It’s it’s not something that just kind of happens. Willy nilly to us.
We can generate emotions if we want to. We don’t always want to, but you can’t. Right? So this is part of that regulation. It’s part of that. Self-awareness I think highly, emotionally intelligent people know how to generate that emotion, know how to kind of take themselves from one end of the spectrum, more to neutral or wherever they want to be.
And as coaches or anyone will know this, we see a lot, you know, once I lose the 20 pounds, I’ll be more confident once I have the wife and I’ll be happy once I have more money, you know, our, or my favorite one is, oh, once I’m on the beach and it’s summertime, then I’ll be able to relax.
Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. You can be happy. You can be confident. You can relax. None of those things need to happen. There are ways that we can create these emotional feelings within us in a way that is still authentic to who we are so, yes, you know, it’s, it’s December now in Canada, so I’m not going to be lying on a beach,
but I can still find ways to generate the feeling of relaxation within me in my current set of circumstances. So I think that is talking about empowerment. The theme of the month is empowerment. That for me is probably the most empowering thing I’ve learned about emotions is that, Hey, wait a minute. I don’t need someone out there or the world out there to tell me how to feel.
I can choose how I’m going to feel. And again, that doesn’t mean you always want to feel good. Sometimes you want to feel angry. You want to feel sad and that’s okay. So those are my two. Matt, what about you? Oh, you guys got some good stuff and I’ll kind of just really add to it. Cause I think that you guys set a lot of good,
good things. I feel like a broken record. Cause I keep saying this in all the podcasts, but embodiment, but I’m gonna frame it differently this time. I’ll phrase it differently. So people that can understand it differently. I would say, meet your body with presence every day. Try and meet your body with presence. Get into the physiology of the emotions.
Because I think so many of us, you know, people who are, who are emotionally dysregulated are typically people who have trauma. Okay. If you haven’t experienced trauma and your nervous system, isn’t all, you know, or you don’t have a backlog of emotions. You’re not going to struggle with this. It becomes a struggle because we can have unprocessed stuff from our past.
So I think that it’s really important to, to meet that stuff, to be with it. And we can only be with it through presence, right? And I think what ends up happening, you know, I said that it takes 90 seconds for a Mo an emotion to process that the research shows that it’s 90 seconds for it to release out of the nervous system,
right? Not for not 90 seconds for you to stop ruminating about it. Right? Rumination mental energy and physiology, physiological are completely different. And I think that when we do our healing work, I teach, I teach the concept called the emotional onion and it’s basically we, we start with, with nothing. And then all of a sudden we have all of these experiences,
traumas, unprocessed emotions, things we didn’t want to deal with. And they just kind of layer on over the years. And some people have larger onions than others. And, but when we go on our healing journey, we have to peel off the layers again. And usually how that shows up is it shows up through the same way that it went on.
Right. And I think people get confused by the, by this idea of reliving versus releasing. And I, and when we are working with our emotional, I mean, we’re, we’re just releasing, right? So we just have to kind of be like, okay, yeah. I felt that it was heavy. Now it’s gone. A layer has gone off of this emotional onion.
And I think for people that really struggled to meet themselves with presence, I love what you’re talking about Callen, because I also do that. I call it like indirect access points to our emotions. So we’re not cause some of us can’t just sit with our emotions it’s way too fucking intense. So we need to do it. Whether it’s vicariously, we need to do it through some form of art or listening to music or something.
And these are still, this is still very potent and an effective way to discharge emotion. So when w when we do meet our body with presence, we are developing the skill of, of the opposite of dissociation, right, where we’re being in our body so we can release, right? And you can, when you talk about feeling to heal, that’s what it’s about it.
We have to be embodied and we have to be present in order to feel. And what people tend to do is they intellectualize their emotion and they, they think about their emotions and then it just causes rumination. And the thing about rumination is it does not discharge the emotion. It stays stuck in a hamster wheel. So you just constantly ruminate, ruminate,
ruminate, and then you eventually ruminate enough until you can become embodied and cry or something. So rumination is, is also a tactic that’s used by the, by the body. Well, the mind and the body working together to try and help you get to that place where you get so activated, where you can’t help, but to cry. Right. But there’s a different way that doesn’t lead to so much suffering,
which is to just go directly to your body. Like, don’t let the mind have to eat off of all this onion to cause more rumination. So again, presence and embodiment, these sorts of things are going to be the fast track towards more emotional intelligence. Yeah. Great episode guys. This was really a really good to hear. Is there anything you want to add before we wrap up?
Okay. All right. Well, thank you to the listener and viewer for chiming into yet another episode, I don’t even know what episode are we out right now? Do you know? 62, 3. That’s impressive. That’s impressive. We’ve talked. We’ve pumped out a lot of good stuff. So for people that are new to this, and maybe this is the first episode you’re hearing of ours,
we do have a Facebook group called the gay men’s brotherhood. We would love for you to come and join us. There’s we’ve got about 4,500 guys in there who are all on this journey of personal development and transformation and spirituality. And we’re, we’re creating more quality in the gay community. That’s, that’s, that’s our mission over there. So come and join us.
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