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As the Middle East’s Mental Health Ambassador, I’ve been heavily involved in combating common challenges and issues that revolve around cultural beliefs and stigmas, on a day to day basis.
My time spent interacting with people affected by mental health — caretakers, patients, and professionals — taught me a lot over a relatively short timespan.
It turns out that while the most common challenges around masculinity may be tied to predetermined cultural norms, more often than not, they tend to be identical in many parts of the world.
Let’s take toxic masculinity, for example.
It’s just as common in the Middle East as it is in North America.
Over the past three years of my career as a mental health advocate, I’ve always heard women be more vocal at the forefront of our conversations. The phenomenon of mental health awareness being dominated by women raised many questions in my mind.
“Why aren’t men able to openly express mental health-related matters?”
“What stops men from becoming vocal about matters that hugely impact their lives?”
“Is there a correlation between emotional intelligence and gender?”
I may not have come up with“scientifically valid” answers to any of the above, however, my quest for their answers led me to a great realization…
I came to discover that every woman I’ve spoken to in the Middle East — be it in Algeria, Cairo, Libya, Beirut, Riyadh or Dubai — has faced the challenge of being with an emotionally intelligent man.
What Defines an Emotional Intelligent Man?
Men who display emotional intelligence are able to recognize, interpret, and respond constructively to emotions within themselves and others.
In order to feel with others, one must be able to recognize, regulate and manage their own emotions first.
Put differently: they are men who are competent in displaying empathy towards others.
Without knowing one’s own emotions, it is difficult to help or feel empathy for another.
Many times, it’s very difficult to spot emotionally intelligent men, who not only become a great support for one another, but also great partners and spouses.
Emotionally intelligent men are honest, authentic and empathic.
Emotionally unintelligent men sometimes come off as “cold” and are commonly misunderstood by others.
If you’ve ever wondered how to spot emotionally intelligent men, then you’ve landed exactly where you should be.
**Friendly Note: You’ll likely bump into some “Ahas!” reading this!
Here are 11 Things Emotionally Intelligent Men Don’t Do.
1. They don’t get in a lot of arguments.
Continuously getting into many arguments indicates the inability to regulate and understand others’ emotions.
When emotionally competent men encounter agitating behaviour, they can read situations well enough to avoid escalating matters aggressively.
They are oftentimes willing to let go of their pride over matters that, in perspective, come nowhere close to deteriorating the relationship with the individual they’re about to get into an argument with.
2. They don’t resent others’ success.
Comparison is the quickest way to kill any joy in a man’s life. Comparing their success to others leads to resentment — which deteriorates one’s capacity for being content and happy.
Emotionally intelligent men wish and act well upon others.
They have no room for emotions that don’t serve their welfare. They’ve learned to appreciate and learn from other’s success.
3. They don’t make rash decisions.
Hasty and rash decisions can make or break people.
Men who are able to regulate their emotions understand they sometimes need time and space to make the right decision on any subject matter, personally or professionally.
This can be particularly challenging for highly emotional men.
They must understand that, just like cooling-off periods in business, they ought to give themselves adequate time to reach optimal decisions that’ll serve their welfare in the long run.
4. They don’t make you feel insignificant.
Active listening is a skill that has the capacity to make extraordinary impacts on others’ lives.
Men who are able to attentively listen to others develop more meaningful relationships and have higher chances of being in successful marriages.
5. They don’t worry about pleasing others.
Men who set clear values for themselves are less likely to become people pleasers. Their self worth is not tied to other people’s opinions of them.
Emotionally intelligent men are perfectly fine with the blunt fact that not everyone is going to like them.
6. They don’t reject their partner’s influence.
Emotionally intelligent men are never threatened by the power of love. They embrace the power of vulnerability that love presents.
A long-term study of 130 newlywed couples discovered that men who allow their wives to influence them to have happier marriages and are less likely to divorce.
Men who are aware of embracing their innermost vulnerabilities aren’t threatened by their partner’s influence over their lives.
Men who lack trust in their own emotional judgments typically fear being influenced by their spouses. Their masculinity is threatened by their lack of emotional intelligence.
7. They don’t criticize others.
Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.”
Those who spend effort criticizing others know little of their own flaws.
Highly self-aware men know deep within themselves they aren’t better than anyone else. They respect others despite any differences that may come in between them and others.
8. They don’t fear alone time.
Solitude is the arena where emotional competence is built.
Setting time in solitude for reflection builds emotional resilience, especially when it involves reflecting on the progress of one’s relationships, career or personal development.
Self-reflection is the root of emotional growth.
Men who fear being alone tend not to be great at managing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions.
9. They are not “right” every time.
At some point in your life, you’ll meet the typical stereotypical narcissistic alpha-male who just thinks they’re ferociously and unapologetically right.
Beware: they will be willing to defend their positions vigorously.
Avoid them at all costs.
They will always refuse to listen to what others have to say.
10. They don’t blame others when something goes wrong.
There are two types of men: Learners and complainers.
Men who take responsibility for their lives are more likely to become better fathers, leaders, husbands and team players.
Surround yourself with men who are brave enough to acknowledge their wrongs and commit to learning and improving from their mistakes.
It’s okay to f*ck up. The best in the world have.
11. They don’t prioritize money over wellbeing.
Emotionally Intelligent men know that money can not solve everything.
A new research out of the University of British Columbia found that valuing time over money is a stable preference that may provide one the path to greater happiness.
While being financially healthy is significantly important in men’s lives, highly emotionally intelligent men understand the price of not being psychologically well.
Carefully prioritizing their lives, they will selectively pursue relationships and hobbies that fill up their emotional tanks. They understand that wealth is just as important within as it is without.
Make sure to join our conversation around mental health on the EMPWR Facebook Community Group: “EMPOWERING YOU”