An open letter to all males everywhere

Posted by on Feb 3, 2013

Hello, Gentlemen.

First, let me make clear that I’m a proud, card-carrying male. I yell at the TV during football season. I spend Friday evenings playing pool with the guys. I even like demolition derbies.

But you know what, gentlemen? We’ve got some work to do. On ourselves. Starting now.

I’m talking about emotions, emotional intelligence, and self-improvement. Whenever these topics come up, too many men shut down. They sit back. They fold their arms. They roll their eyes. They mumble stuff about “touchy-feely.” In other words, they strap on the emotional body armor.

Not all guys respond this way. But many do, and you might be one of them. If so, consider the following:

Most of us have a bias for action. We like to rush in and solve, rescue, and fix. That works great with a clogged sink, but with relationships, forget it. We need to bite our tongues, exert our eardrums, and show more empathy.

Speaking of empathy, let’s not tune out whenever people start talking about emotions. If it weren’t for emotional intelligence, we’d be a pack of wild animals. Repeat after me: Emotions are a good thing.

Emotional intelligence is hardly rocket science. It’s about reading people’s emotions, taking time to figure out what those emotions mean, and adjusting our approach accordingly. We can do this.

Then there’s self-improvement. We paint our homes, speed up our computers, build new decks, and buy new cars. Shouldn’t we upgrade ourselves once in a while?

You might be comfortable with your old way of doing things, and maybe you think it’s working. But is it working for the people around you? At work? At home? Everywhere? All the time? You know the answer.

I’m not asking you to hug a tree, watch Oprah, or start listening to Barry Manilow. Let’s not get crazy here. All I’m suggesting is that you take a look in the mirror — and figure out a couple things you can do differently.

Personal change is the hardest work you’ll ever do. You’re tough enough to get it done, right?