Many men live their lives devoid of feeling or expressing any darker emotions or traits.
This may not be a framework that you heard of before, that is the idea of darker emotions…but it’s a powerful context to hold when seeking to become more emotionally mature. An example of darker emotions and traits are:
Anger (not aggression)
Your inner killer (figurative)
Your inner badass
Or “I don’t give a FUCK” energy
On the one hand, when men do access these darker traits and emotions, they usually do it without awareness in reactivity, and it usually creates more pain and suffering for all involved.
On the other hand, with modern men being told that these darker energies are unacceptable, they have generally veered away from these unexplored taboo aspects of themselves.
For men on both ends of the spectrum – those who have overindulged these darker aspects, and for those who have suppressed and avoided them – when consciously relating to these darker aspects, it is a mind-blowing and powerfully liberating experience.
A man on a serious spiritual and transformational path must confront and embrace his dark side.
Many spiritual men avoid this and want to only live in the idea of light, Love, and “it’s all good” (especially in California).
Yes, light and especially Love is crucial, but a man on the path must learn to expand into the darker range of his emotional life.
Some religious traditions personify the dark side as something “outside of us,” such as in the idea of the devil or evil. Some mystic and wisdom traditions speak about our darker aspects as part of humanity, and in the Buddhist tradition, one frame is through befriending our demons.
Your darker aspects must be accessed, expressed, and tempered with Love. I am not suggesting allowing reactive, destructive anger to be unleashed.
If you are a classic nice guy and can’t access darker aspects like anger or killer energy, it leaves you cut off from an essential range of emotions.
These darker aspects are a hugely important ingredient in developing true confidence.
For men with nice guy habits, repressing and ignoring your darker aspects keeps you trapped in the prison of the diminished pleaser.
And.. Very often, the partner with the more feminine style of communication may have to take on a more directive role in the relationship, and that becomes unenjoyable for them at some point.
Men with unhealthy emotional habits (like reactive anger or hyper-masculinity) most likely carry shame about it, which can cause them to repress any darker emotional expressions further.
You might have been taught that anger or darker directive energy is unacceptable. I’ve heard many men say, “I don’t really have any anger.
But the disowned darker emotions are always under the surface and can come out in unhealthy emotional explosions, or maybe you shut down emotionally.
It’s time to do the work, brothers.. As the saying goes, “what you don’t own, owns you.”
The work- will liberate you.
GET SUPPORT- Find a man trained in facilitating this work. There needs to be a deep trust to do this.
If you’ve never expressed anger or if you have unhealthy reactive anger, this will feel like newfound freedom and lifting of a veil from your blindspots.
Open through the density of your darker emotions, to not let your wounds limit your functionality-your desire- your expression- your ability to love.
Men, this is not an intellectual process; it is work-based within the body.
Emotional growth work like this requires us to feel our emotions in our bodies.
Our body is the living storehouse of our emotional life, and by feeling it within and expressing it through our body, we can gain more freedom and power.
Dip your toe into the work- by taking some time alone in nature to feel and express the darker aspects of who you are.
Feel and move your body– get physical, allow, express, and always approach it with empathy and self-compassion.
As you liberate your unexpressed darker aspects, it will allow you more easily access and use these traits and expressions in leadership and Love!
This is the core of the work we do in the Men’s Coach Training.
By men having more emotional range of maturity, the world changes, men change..this is how we stop wars, aggression, and the habit of “power over others.”