Welcome to the deep, mysterious, likely un-relatable, rarely revealed cavern of the emotionally intelligent male mind.
Back in 2010, when my wife was pregnant with our son, my blog was featured in American Baby magazine; which eventually led to me becoming the official daddy blogger of their sister magazine, Parents; from May 2011 to June 2014.
In the initial write-up in American Baby, they pitched my blog to their readers with this invitation: “Wondering what your hubby’s really thinking?…”
At the time, I remember reading that and thinking, “Yeah, but I’m not that kind of guy. That’s not me. I don’t keep things to myself. My thoughts are no mystery to anyone…”
That was in 2010, before I actually had kids. Plus, I had only been married about 2 years at that point.
One of the great advantages of being married now for 8 and a half years and having 2 kids is that, by default, I have gained emotional intelligence. I grew up on in the inside. I got toughened up.
I became the husband and father I needed to be. The sensitive, and therefore “offendable”, guy I was before wasn’t enough to get the job done.
Essentially, to the outside world, I transcended from “optimistic nice person who everybody likes” to “hopeful yet realistic personable man who doesn’t necessarily measure up to everyone’s expectations anymore.”
Nostalgically put, I evolved from Luke Skywalker into Han Solo.
It was a necessary transformation for me. Perhaps one of the major milestones of this journey was when I published a blog post (and accompanying video) inviting the free world to attempt to offend me.
I had discovered that the only person who has power and authority over my emotions is me. In other words, no one in this entire world can “offend” me or “hurt my feelings” if I don’t first give them permission.
So I simply stopped giving anyone permission to offend me. And up came the walls…
I now live in a reality where I am unoffendable. Since making this conscious decision, the quality of my life has undeniably…
Things in life just don’t bother me as much. Life is smoother now.
I am now in control of my emotions instead of them controlling me. For example, I have no shame in admitting I allow myself to cry every time I watch Disney Pixar’s Inside Out. I am in touch with, and in control of, my emotions to the point where the cartoonish yet realistic presentation of a parent’s love for their child gets to me.
Needless to say, on the other hand, other people’s Facebook comments claim no effect on my day.
I have simplified my life so that I can enjoy and appreciate it that much more.
Granted, there’s a perceived downside to the lifestyle of male emotional intelligence.
I’ve got those walls up now. I’m more detached from the popular distractions of the world- and I know this.
But this, for me, is safe- and it’s efficient; less complicated.
In other words, I’ve become that guy I couldn’t relate to back in 2010:
I keep a lot of things to myself. Most of my thoughts are now a mystery to everyone.
I’ve adopted a Libertarian approach to the opinions and lifestyles of other people. What they do doesn’t bother me and I don’t bother them. I don’t try to change them. I don’t need to change them.
Because now, I am truly confident in myself and my beliefs, despite being completely aware of my unending faults.
This is not a classic case of bottling up my emotions, only to erupt later on. To me, that would be weak.
Instead, it’s a matter of consciously deciding not to let people or things bother me anymore.
In turn, I have noticed that I am that much more focused on my own family and close friends, in real life. Not on Facebook.
The 2010 version of me simply wouldn’t function in my life today in 2017. I have evolved out of necessity.
I now see life for the tragicomedy it is. Life is both sad and funny. It’s both inspiring and depressing.
By evolving to my emotionally intelligent state, I have made it possible to recognize when to express my emotions, accordingly.
Ultimately, I choose joy. I choose hope.
My hope today is that others can relate to my transformation.
You are no longer dealing with the young and naïve Luke Skywalker.
For better or worse, you’ve got Han Solo now.