Changing MENtality

Evaluating emotions?

May 07, 2021 Season 2 Episode 10
Changing MENtality
Evaluating emotions?
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Aidan, Louis and Euan have a conversation about emotions they regularly come across and feel as men, the significance of these and how they can be addressed!
Relevant resources to these subjects can be found below: 

  • Student Space - Online, one-stop shop’ for students in England and Wales who want to find help for their mental health or well-being.
  • Students Against Depression - The Students Against Depression website has lots of information about tackling depression and low mood, including self -help resources and workbooks for students to work through to start taking steps towards tackling low mood.
  • Student Minds website - Information about different support services available, including how to find them and what to expect when using them for the first time.
  • Samaritans - phone 116 123, email [email protected] - confidential listening service.

You can find other episodes of Changing MENtality here.
You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter
here.

Further resources can be found below.

  • Your GP Service - can refer to specialist support and services.
  • University Student Support Services e.g. counseling, mental health advisers, student advice centre, students’ union. It's also worth looking out for university societies for international students. 
  • Papyrus - email [email protected] 
  • HOPELine UK - phone 0800 068 41 41: confidential service specifically for young people (under 35). They can offer crisis support for someone who is experiencing thoughts or feelings of suicide, as well as providing information and advice for those concerned about someone else.
  • NHS 111 - Non-emergency line run by the NHS.
  • 999 - for an emergency situation.
Aidan:

Welcome to the Changing MENtality podcast. This is just let you know that the following episode contains discussions of emotions and personal experience of mental health. If you're distressed by any of the topics discussed in this episode, please look in the description for some signposting. Thank you and I hope you enjoy. Conversations stories, interviews on the topic of men's mental health, hosted by a group of male students sharing their own experiences to help eliminate stigma, raise awareness and signpost others to find the help they need. The podcast is created in association with Student Minds and funded by Comic Relief. My name is Aidan and today I'm here with Louis and Euan, again, to talk about our attitudes and and how we express emotions. So you and would you like to introduce yourself?

Euan:

I'm Euan, I'm a PhD student from the University of Leeds studying computational biology.

Aidan:

Great. And Louis

Louis:

I'm Louis Newstead, I'm a second year politics student at the University of Leeds.

Aidan:

And as I've mentioned before, I'm Aidan, I'm a master's student at King's College London. So I'm going to start off by asking you both, what habits do you have that help you with your mental health? We know as a society men are traditionally viewed as quite stoic, non emotive individuals. But obviously, we know this isn't the case. So what do you do to help with your mental health when you're having a bad day, week, or anything along those lines.

Euan:

So one thing I found really helpful lately is, er trying to get out and walk about in nature, there's obviously a bit difficult a pandemic going on. But when you can, you don't need to self isolate, you know, it can just be so nourishing to get get out and see some grass and just just even get outside and do some mundane things. And that kind of links into sort of another thing I found, which sounds maybe a bit silly, but you know, if you're struggling with difficult emotions, whether it's you know, your your, you're feeling quite worked up and angry, or you're feeling quite down and sad, it can be sometimes good to just do something like a simple task, like doing some washing ups and cleaning, you know, just take that focus off for a little bit and kind of get into that sort of state of flow, where you're sort of just not really thinking about yourself, you're just thinking about what you're doing.

Louis:

Yeah, I agree with all that. Absolutely. Because I do quite a similar sort of routine of stuff to help me along as well. I think getting outside for walks, and everything has definitely been one of my biggest sort of helps the past couple of months being back up at uni, especially when it's, you know, it's a nice sunny day, I'll go to the park and I read a book, because that just helps me unwind a lot better than anything else now. And the whole thing with doing like the little household tasks and stuff, although I think sometimes it can be quite difficult to get going. And actually start with doing that, I always find that whenever I start, it sort of gets the ball rolling. And I always feel like I've had a more active day. And I think that's the more important thing that the like, that's always the thing that I try and have is an active day, not necessarily a productive one, but just an active one where I'm doing activities that I enjoy. And that can help me feel good about the day.

Euan:

Yeah, really, that they're sort of having an active day, I think and what you're saying about kind of initially getting into it, sometimes I think it's almost like that little extra bit like activation energy needed to get over that little bit of hump. So you can start doing some more things, you almost kind of, you sometimes get a bit of a cascade effect, you know, where you do one little task that leads to another. I'm not saying you know, it has to be anything big like, on a couple of days ago, the most productive thing I did was Hoover the floor and mop the kitchen and tidy my room. I felt great.

Louis:

Yeah, sometimes that's all you need. Really, you just need the like the few little tasks that help you feel like you've actually sort of gotten up and done something that you can be proud of almost just cleaning your room, because that can be quite a big thing. Sometimes, especially you know, if you've been in a little bit of a funk for a while cleaning your room can really feel like lifting a weight off of your own shoulders.

Aidan:

And it's this whole I forgot what the term is. But if you're in an area, which is clean and tidy actually helps your mind readjust with priorities, if that makes sense.

Euan:

It's almost like having have a different state of mind, like your mind kind of shifts gear a little bit. So your your focus on doing that or you know, like you're saying with your room, whereas I almost view it as clutter around you in your environment is sort of impacts you know from a kind of, mental clutter. I know when I'm surrounded my desk is actually quite messy at the moment I can kind of feel there's almost like a force as a bad way of putting it but you know, kind of solid it sort of impacts me in a way and sort of how clearly I can think

Aidan:

Well, it's overwhelming in a way isn't it? I I'm looking at my desk now and I've got like a stack of research papers to read with dreads, but even for me if I moved that pile like a way out of sight and just did one at a time. That makes it more manageable if that makes sense. Yeah.

Louis:

This sounds like a better idea, I feel like you should do that I don't think you should have.

Euan:

My, my problem is I've just got loads of tabs open. Open now and like half of them the papers,

Aidan:

I feel that's like everyone when you're doing an essay is you just had a massive amount of tabs. And I, I can speak volumes at the therapeutic relief of closing all those tabs when you've submitted something.

Louis:

Absolutely, I think, you know, there is definitely a balance here, though, I think doing all of these small tasks and stuff is definitely very useful to get you into the ball of, or getting the ball rolling of the day. And getting into the swing of things. But also, I feel like sometimes I do use them as a bit of procrastination to get away from work if I'm having if I've got quite a lot of work. So I think there's definitely a balance there of putting your well being first and and getting yourself up out of bed and feeling good. whilst also not using it as an excuse to neglect the things that you have to do.

Euan:

Yeah, I think, you know, sometimes I've definitely found it. And I think probably everyone finds at some point, it's just so much effort and so difficult to get on with things, you know, when you're really struggling with some really powerful emotions, I think, although it's great to feel like, you know, oh, you know, the thing to do is be productive or be active. But I think sometimes that's just not reasonable. So when you sort of talk about juggling act, understanding that yes, you are a human being and some things will impact you in some way. And kind of even sort of understanding that you sometimes have to feel the emotions, like sometimes some things are genuinely justified, even if it's quite painful to feel, and it feels like it's preventing you from being productive, you know, it is part of the human experience almost, you know,

Louis:

yeah, I think if there is something that is definitely affecting you emotionally, and you're in that sort of quite down emotional state, it can be hard to even get up and do the basics a lot of the time. So I think there is also you know, distinction, even within my original distinction between having days where you're feeling quite normal, you're at sort of a normal level of happiness, you're feeling quite balanced, compared to days where you know, something might have happened, where you might just be down, it might just be one of those days. And I think on those days, sometimes you do have to rule out any notions of wanting to be productive, because you just have to take the time for yourself and just ask yourself, what's going to make me happy today,

Euan:

it's almost an investment in your future in yourself and in your future state, right. Like, if you just force yourself to work force yourself to work, you know, you're going to potentially burn out or you're going to hit some point where it's quite, it's quite difficult to maintain a certain amount of productivity because you know, your well being's just really taken a hit. So I think these kind of, I guess the concept is to kind of like a mental health day, isn't it as a way of coping with, you know, uneven levels of emotion, I think it's just about trying to take the time to be kind with yourself, even on a good day. But especially on a bad day, you always need to take the time for yourself, take good breaks, and not overwork yourself. Because you know, you will burn out and everything. And then when you're feeling down, I think you'll definitely you'll feel the benefit at the time of taking time for yourself. But then you'll even feel the benefit in the future. Because you've so on the day, when you're taking time for yourself, it benefits you because you're, you're not forcing yourself to do work when you can't. And then in the future, when you've taken that time off, you should come back to your work feeling a lot more rejuvenated and ready to work.

Aidan:

I feel like just going back to this concept of having an active day rather than a productive day. It feels very, against the societal expectation that we have to constantly be doing something. So if you kind of take it as a cost benefit analysis, and I hate myself for saying that, but taking your your breaks for your mental health, frequently, but not as long, you're actually going to have less time off productively than you would if if you burn out. So this kind of pulls into another question I want to ask is like, I'm conscious of all three of us sounding quiet in ivory towers here being Almighty saying that we all have to do this. But we've all obviously come to this point where we're saying that we need to look after ourselves. But how? How does this compare to how we used to do? How will you guys used to deal with situations? Because obviously there had to be a process to get here.

Louis:

Yeah, I think when I started university, I was definitely the other end of the spectrum because at the moment in second year now, I feel like I have a lot better have a sort of system to to accommodate my own mental health in a more healthy way. Because nowadays, I will work usually, you know, a maximum like four or five hours a day on a good day because you know, nobody should be working like eight to 12 hours a day. I think that's ridiculous to to have that assumption of yourself. And so I work this sort of maximum fiveAnd then I always take this time for myself in the mornings especially. And in evenings, I'll usually socialise through text or FaceTime and everything. And that's it's given me a much more healthier schedule to abide by. Whereas before, what I would do in first year is I would leave all of my wife to the last minute, I would stress stress to the last minute to get it well done. But even when I was relaxing, before I got things done, I wouldn't be able to fully relax because I had sort of the guilt on my mind of not having done stuff. And I think, you know, even if you're feeling down, you definitely shouldn't force yourself to do work. But I think just doing a little bit of work often can often pay off. Because you'll feel like you've you've done something. And so you feel like the reward of relaxation in the evenings is much more, you'll feel like the reward of the relaxation in the evenings is more earned for within yourself.

Euan:

It's kind of I guess about fulfilment isn't that you kind of get a better sense of sort of, you know, I've achieved something here. But I think I think, go back to kind of the first thing, Aidan said, I think this does link into something where it gets the problem with like looking after your well being sort of comes into conflict with how we kind of live our lives in some regard in the sense that it's like, it would be really ideal if we could really just kind of stop everything that's happening in the world and focus on our emotions, when it's feeling very tough and difficult, but I think it's just an unfortunate reality of the world makes demands on us. And I think the real question about that is, I think it's a balance between kind of having the mechanisms to cope, and sort of not not, you know, not necessarily distract, or not necessarily kind of repress these emotions, but sort of putting them one to one side, or maybe like putting them in a box. From time where you need to focus you need to work. So then when you get home, you can be kind of more focused on these things and kind of drop process them, I don't think fully, you know, cutting them off and ignoring them is the right way to go. For example, from my experience, basically, through all of uni, I built loads of my identity. And, you know, I dealt with a lot of the negative emotions I had via just throwing myself into work, not really necessarily dealing with just sort of being like, you know, I'm feeling really bad. Now, I'm feeling really angry now. But it's okay, because I'm doing a lot of work. But I guess I've grown up and I've had not such the best PhD experience, I've realised that it's not really the best way to kind of keep yourself going forward, if that makes sense. It's kind of it worked for a bit, but I think I very much hit a point where kind of the bubble burst, a lot went wrong in my life, and I didn't really have the work of my PhD or the work of my studies to really build and deal with my emotions properly.

Louis:

Yeah, absolutely, I think I can definitely relate to that a lot of time, because I also had a tendency to just throw myself into work to forget about any problems, or any emotions that I was feeling that I felt like I couldn't deal with. Whereas now with my newer sort of schedule that I that I've developed, I think I always try and give myself time, if I'm feeling down, or I'm feeling mad, or anything, really, I give myself time to try and sort of accommodate these emotions into my daily routine by not overworking myself, and not allowing myself that sort of repression of all the emotions through work. Instead, I give myself well, you know, I take care I do. I do sort of self care activities, like, you know, just even having a shower, having a cup of tea, having some nice food. And I give myself that time to work through how I'm feeling, instead of just repressing it and going straight on into a big day of work.

Euan:

Absolutely something I found. So sort of nourishing in the moment is having a cup of tea and like, I just live in like little village somewhere and I'm just sort of like sort of the end of one road, I just walk up the road stand on the sort of junction, the main road, just have a cup of tea and you know, maybe like, look at the sky, if it's nice look at the green or if it's nice and kind of get their perspective on my emotions then kind of get a bit of a kind of understanding of them. But I think more importantly, just kind of a, I think something that's really helped me lately is understanding and I think particularly accepting emotions. I think sometimes the biggest problem with dealing with some really difficult emotions can be feeling like they're either an overreaction, or, you know, they just not justified in some way. And I think that in itself can be quite damaging and toxic, at least in my own experience. I feel like it was,

Louis:

yeah, I think with. Yeah, classifying your own emotions as either sort of, or invalidating them or believing that you shouldn't be feeling them or just repressing them. It's a very common thing that you know, a lot of young men do in order to deal with them instead of flexing this well. So I'll get into mindfulness briefly here. Because I know it's a very big topic in all of the guy's podcast because I think everyone's had a sort of at least some experience with mindfulness. And my experience with it has been able has helped me be able to accommodate My emotions and in a much more healthier way. Because instead of invalidating them, or throwing myself into work to ignore them, I have, you know, the equanimity to just feel them and know that I valid in feeling them, even if why I'm feeling them may not be as valid. So let's say I've had a petty argument with a friend or something. And so that's affected my emotions, I will allow myself to feel it for a time, because I know that you should allow emotions to run their course, even if I feel like afterwards, the argument itself wasn't valid enough. So, you know, you have to allow yourself to feel the emotions, you let them run their course, and then afterwards, you can reflect on them. And I think that's the important part. It's always the reflection on your emotions afterwards.

Euan:

Yeah, I completely agree. I think sometimes it's like, there's different triggers for why you might be having such an emotional response, you know, and it's like, I honestly believe that pretty much all emotional responses are justified in the context of yourself around your past history, your past experiences, the challenge is sort of working out, is this situation made me given me this response, because, or made, you know, made me feel this emotion, maybe kind of trigger these thoughts. Because the situation generally justifies it? Or maybe it's just kind of in a sense, you know, touched a nerve, or it's kind of triggered something that I am quite sensitive to or you know, is quite something that's an experience I've had, maybe whether it's sort of, you know, childhood related, or if it's something quite relatively recently, in your adult life, you know, I think it's kind of learning yourself, and your past and your action in new sort of how things have impacted you, and applying that to, you know, your current self, and your kind of the interactions that you will have, because I think I think what that helps you with, so in the moment, as you say, kind of having an argument, I think it can be difficult, you know, like, I think you fundamentally do have to accept that we are, to an extent emotional, and sometimes that will override what appears to be sort of rational thinking, but kind of give yourself a moment to just sort of be like, I feel this really strong emotion, right? How am I gonna? How am I gonna accommodate this emotion? And how am I gonna, you know, accommodate into in the current situation?

Louis:

Yeah, I think it's also important to make the distinction that accepting your emotions, letting them run their course, and validating them, absolutely does not mean taking them out on other people, or doing unhealthy actions. Because of those emotions. I think that's an important, you know, caveat to all of this, the way I like to let my emotions run course, especially if it's in a heated situation, always remove yourself, if possible from the situation first, and give yourself time to let the emotions sort of run their course. And then you can reflect on them, and then react, I think that's a very important distinction to make. You can feel your emotions, but you shouldn't take them out on other people when you're feeling them.

Euan:

Yeah.

Aidan:

I think it's easier said than done that sort of thing. And I'm not criticising this talk. So I completely agree. But when, for example, say we're in the middle of quite intense argument with a family member or a partner or loved one, whatever, it seems that we need to resolve in that moment, if you get what I mean, and therefore we get quite these impulsive reactions. So I completely agree that we that this kind of age old proverb,

Euan:

sort of like, it's almost like a moral platitude.

Aidan:

Yeah, yeah, pretty much. And everyone always says, like, okay, like, always, like, step back from the situation. But it's really hard to do in practice, like, I'm sitting here, what, two and a half years, for like two and a half years, going through therapy, and I still struggle with it. It's something that it surprised me is not pushed in, in a in a young age to us, because I can't imagine I can't remember at least from a male perspective, having any sort of emotional education in school.

Louis:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think Yeah, it's definitely, you know, in the heat of the moment, a lot of time, it is very hard to remove yourself from situations, you know, nobody's perfect. We can't all afford that step back. I would say I always try and do it, but sometimes you are definitely taken up the heat of the moment. And when it comes to that, emotional education and young men, and especially you know, young boys, we we absolutely we don't get that instilled in us a lot of the time. I think we're searching for ways to express our emotions because you know, young men are very, we're full of emotions about the time and um, but we haven't been taught this framework to deal with it in a way that isn't damaging to ourselves or others. So I think it's so easy to often fall down that rabbit hole of, of dealing with things in in quite an unhealthy or destructive way as a man.

Euan:

I think that's whyYour kind of attitude of sort of having that reflection afterwards is really important as well. Because yes, basically, I think perspective I take is, ideally we'd never make mistakes, you know, we'd be perfect human beings. But that's not what life is. That's not what people is. And that's a far too high standard to hold people to. But it's okay to you know, make a mistake, possibly blow out at someone, but as long as you're willing to take responsibility for it. That makes sense.

Aidan:

I think it's one of those sort of here. And but I think it's one of those things where I think, as a society, and in terms of our own personal understanding, we equate taking responsibility as being at fault rather than

Euan:

Exactly, yeah, big issue.

Aidan:

And it's one of those things where we've, I feel like in quite a lot of arguments, a lot of people won't admit responsibility, because that feels they automatically lose, or they're in the wrong. But as we said earlier, it's not that .. we're not robots, we can't be perfect every time where, at the end of the day, quite emotional animals in Yeah, it's something that, I guess requires quite a lot of self reflection or education from a young age.

Louis:

Yeah, the point that you made about the distinction between taking responsibility and admitting fault, I think, is definitely a very, you know, interesting topic, and also a very important distinction, I think, when I learnt to take responsibility for my actions within any sort of conflict or anything like that, without automatically feeling like I was completely at fault, it freed me up quite a bit to see the wider perspective of both my actions and the actions of anyone who was, you know, engaging with it in some kind of conflict. Because I would understand that I am responsible for my own actions and the way I have acted, but you're not within a vacuum. There's a lot of other things that are always at play whenever you're in an argument, or whenever you have, like some kind of outburst or something like that. And although you're responsible for your own actions, it's always important to reflect back and think, why was I acting in this way? Or why was I speaking like this? or Why did I do this? The reflection is the key part of it, wheretaking responsibility means looking back and understanding why you've done things. And then if you have to, if you if you feel like it's the healthy way forward addressing these things within that context and building on them for next time

Unknown:

basically.

Euan:

Yeah, so there's a lot of respect, for someone who can basically, do that, right. Like, I think, I think it builds a lot of it almost feels kind of a deeper connection between people. Like, yes, it's very, it's very, very good to kind of get on with people when it's really easy, but I really think some of the best kind of relationships with people, and you know, this is work, romantic friend, you know, friendly, just whatever relationship you have with another human being, I think sometimes when you can have conflict, and you can have these things, and then sort of have that reflection and grow from that, I think that sometimes is the sign of a very strong and mature relationship.

Aidan:

It's this sort of idea, because I, I've heard by a lot lately, that I've been saying, like relationships in the romantic sense. Where if you never thought you're somehow a perfect couple? Yeah. So the point I'm making is that we are all, we're all humans, we all have emotions, and we're all going to get pissed off by other people. It's just the way it's going to be. But it's being open to having that communication with others. If it's someone in your personal life, it's kind of pulling someone up and saying, even if it was me, like, I'm acknowledged that I did something wrong I expressed something badly, or I know that I upset you, and then moving on from it. And I feel that's quite difficult to do. Because of this whole taking full responsibility thing.

Unknown:

does, I'm there.

Louis:

In my own personal experience, there's a handful of instances that I can bring to hand where I've, I think that I've done the right thing in that situation where I've taken responsibility for my actions. And I've spoken with the other person that might have been involved in the argument or something like that. And we've come to terms with both of our own responsibilities, we've reflected on the way we've both acted, and then moved on in a healthy way from that. But you know, for these handful of moments where I feel like it was that was the very healthy and reflective exchange. There's millions of other moments where I know that, you know, I haven't dealt with things in such a great way. So it's always you're not perfect, you're not gonna be able to make the right call and be this reflective and introspective person every time but I think the times where you do learn from these experiences are the times where you grow like as a person, and I think they're very, you know, important for growth.

Euan:

I think, I think maybe just to kind of almost show the other side, I think I often as I was growing up became, I was very much over sort of took over responsibility for my actions, if that makes sense, like I, sort of relating this back to specific emotions, I think a decent example to talk about here would be my kind of understanding experience of anger, I sort of always viewed it, as you know, absolutely unjustified, you know, that, that relates to certain things about how I was treated as a kid, but sort of I viewed anger is very much always destructive, you know, if I ever felt I was always at wrong, fault, you know, it was my thing to deal with. And I will, you know, I had no right effectively to sort of show it in some regard. And I think, I think not only is that quite a common thing, I think between a lot of people, but um, I think it's sort of ultimately quite flawed, because it builds up the sense of fearing the emotion, I think, which really leaves you in a situation where it feels far worse, when you do start feeling it, but then you don't build up much capacity to kind of tolerate or sort of mitigate it and go in about in, you know, in a certain kind of interact with someone else, in a way that's very mature and kind of quite constructive, you know, it can get devolve into something that becomes quite, you're not, not the most not the most sort of constructive and productive way to deal with it.

Louis:

Yeah, when it comes to all of that, we are, obviously, we are all products of our own circumstances, and our upbringings, and our environments and everything. So that definitely always affects the way that we process emotions and the way that we respond to situations. And I think, like I said, you know, nobody's perfect, and then nobody's gonna be able to have these sort of mature exchanges every single time. And, you know, we all bring our own sort of faults and foibles, to to arguments and conflicts. But I just think understanding your own emotions in a situation can often help partly resolve the situation in itself. It just gives you a deeper understanding of yourself, even though that can be very difficult to achieve. And a lot of the time

Euan:

Absolutely, it's quite, in some senses quite painful, right? And it's kind of that process of sort of understanding yourself understanding your story and why, you know, things may, how you kind of how you react to things. It's sort of, I think, I've maybe had this over the past year or so. But it's a very kind of awakening kind of experience. And it can be quite alarming to kind of see these things. But it ultimately is productive and important, because it means you can then you know, you can have you have more control over your actions.

Louis:

Yeah, and I think, although the thing you said about, you know, claiming too much responsibility sometimes is also definitely a thing that a lot of people have to contend with. Because I know that, yeah, when I was sort of coming to terms with a lot of this stuff, I would maybe be too harsh on myself, when it came to reflecting on what I've done, and what I've said and everything like that. I think now though, I'm able to have just again, it's something that I've learned from mindfulness, I'm able to have a bit of mental distance from a situation, and know that although I can understand and learn from my mistakes, I shouldn't be too harsh on myself for them. Because that just, you know, it, it would it. it deteriorates my self respect and my understanding of myself in a very, you know, non conducive way to growth. And so I think it's, you know, very important to not be too harsh on yourself, but also to understand when you've made a mistake.

Aidan:

So it's kind of finding a middle ground isn't, obviously you don't want to go to one or two extreme ends of the spectrum do. And I feel it's, as you said, no one's gonna be perfect, we're not going to be this. And while even speaking, I've had this image of like a Zen Buddhist monk sort of constantly self reflecting and has the perfect response to everything. But that isn't feasibly going to happen. The point I'm trying to make is that if we put the effort into try, we're not going to be perfect every time. But we're going to have better interactions and still have our emotions more successfully than we would if we just kind of stick our heads in the ground.

Euan:

Maybe like, I think the way I view and I think that though, the way I kind of view how I've grown over the past year is it's almost like a kind of new dimension was kind of opening up in a sense that like, there is a kind of new axes maybe on my understanding of kind of how things happnen, And so it's not, it's not so much like, it's the kind of thing that I need to do it you need to do every single time like it does sometimes fundamentally kind of change your experience of the world, and you're kind of understanding of people and how they interact with each other. And I think this has maybe been something that I found really beneficial in how I manage and cope with my emotions is almost it's like a shift in philosophy and kind of attitude towards it. And I was always quite sceptical of that. I think I never really kind of thought about kind of, you know, it sounds a bit like you're, you know, to have this kind of moment where suddenly all made sense, but it's just far less clear than that. It's far more of a gradual process. But it's one of those things where you kind of will end up looking back, and you'll see how far you've come with it.

Louis:

Yeah, definitely, when I took up, mindfulness meditation over lockdown when I was at home, it's not something that I've kept up with as much as I should have for sure. But I know, when I started doing it definitely, you know, opened up that sort of axes, like you said, it's a new way of sort of perceiving a lot of yourself and a lot of your own actions. And it just, it definitely helps with sort of reviewing your actions, reflecting on them, and then learning from them. Because you're able to sort of see yourself outside of your own perspective, sometimes I think it's very useful to have that perspective.

Euan:

That's very helpful. And I think in particular, like, if you're talking about outside perspective, empathy, that's it really helps build a sense of that, right? You kind of get this sense of real understanding of not just someone's else's perspective, but why they might have that perspective.

Louis:

Yeah, I think empathy is definitely a key tool in any sort of argument or taking responsibility or any sort of resolution, because I know that sometimes, you know, we spoke about taking too much responsibility. And sometimes, if you are in a, in some kind of conflict with a person who maybe doesn't have, if you're in conflict with the person who doesn't have a lot of empathy, sometimes taking too much responsibility, they might abuse that they might see themselves as not at fault, because you've taken this responsibility. So I think empathy is definitely it's needed for two people to have a mature conversation and a mature resolution to a conflict. But I think even if someone without empathy might be taking advantage of you taking responsibility, that's also another learning experience. It's not an experience telling you that you shouldn't take responsibility, but it's an experience teaching you the power of empathy, because a situation could have had a better outcome, if both of the parties were empathetic.

Euan:

Yeah, I think that that really cuts through to kind of a recent experience I've had with relation to kind of it can, it can be very frustrating when you're trying to be understanding of someone else. And you know, you are you are trying to take that kind of more, not not so much rational kind of, I guess that kind of maybe the buzzword is the emotional, intelligent view, but you're just sort of getting nothing back. And I think it's particularly difficult when you think about treating things as you know, kind of confrontations in the context of previous confrontations and possible future ones, it's sort of like, it can be quite difficult. And you can almost get stuck in a routine of kind of being like, you know, you try and be the mediator in the situation, which means that you kind of end up being the one who takes responsibility for it. And because of that, there's almost a sort of a priori that things tend to always be your fault. And it can really kind of spiral down into a quite, quite damaging situation. And I think maybe part of this links back to discuss my own experience my sort of when I went to talk about with anger, and that's the other half of it. So I was saying, like, you know, I thought I was very credible, I was afraid of anger didn't was shot, but I realised it does have its place in some regard. Like, it sort of exists, or the way I view the reason exists, that kind of tells us when we're experiencing injustice, when our boundaries of being disrespected, and you know, our very core beliefs are being kind of afronted. And it's really important to kind of protect those in some regard because it can get what if they get very much shattered or damaged, it can leave people in absolutely, emotionally distressed states and just almost despondent. So I think the the obviously difficult with that is anger can be destructive, but I think the thing to learn is how to apply it to a situation constructively, or in a kind of a way that respects other people, in a sense, because you definitely can, you know, I guess it's the difference between aggression and assertiveness or sort of conflict and sort of confrontation. You know,

Louis:

I think the way you're accommodating anger within boundary taking is really important, I think, yeah, you can have this constructive emotion of anger when it comes to understanding that your boundaries, whether you feel like you've already set them or not, are being crossed. And I think if you're in that kind of situation where someone's made you angry because they've crossed this line, they've crossed this boundary. In the moment, you'll feel Anger. But then in the future, you might reflect on that and realise why you felt that anger. And then you you have this boundary now that you realise, you have this almost, you know, the traditional view of it would be a button that can be pushed. But in a more, you know, mindful view, it would be a boundary that you might want to set for yourself in future interactions, if you know that something is a sensitive topic for yourself. If you know that certain things elicit certain responses, then you can try and set boundaries and futures, I think anger can definitely be a very constructive emotion, when it comes to that.

Euan:

I think more than that, it can kind of it's almost like kind of builds up a sense of identity in who you are, right, you sort of learn, you can have experiences and your emotions can feel like they exist in this just immaterial space, where it's kind of it's very hard to have any real kind of understanding of what's happened. But I think when you're faced with those situations where you are pushed to the point of your boundaries being crossed, it kind of helps you kind of sculpt a sort of almost like a kind of frame out or something like a kind of of shape in the in the sort of ether I guess, as it was, which I think I think is very beneficial going forwards, right? Because it kind of helps you understand yourself and understand yourself in the context of the wider world as well.

Louis:

Yeah, I think everything we've been talking about all of these emotional responses to conflict or situations or issues, they're all very much learning. They're all very much learning opportunities for yourself, and for other people sometimes as well. I think, obviously, again, you know, nobody's perfect. We won't all learn from every mistake we make, we might over or under commit to taking responsibility. But I think the thing Aidan said about just trying to to have that perspective, I think that's the real key takeaway from, from this conversation, really, you should try and have this reflection and this introspection when it comes to understanding your emotions, because then that can help you in the future when he might be feeling similar emotions.

Euan:

Yeah, exactly. It's the trying that's It's important. Like, you can absolutely make mistakes, but it's how you go about. It's how you go about kind of mitigating them and kind of understanding them.

Aidan:

It's, I think, it's this whole thing where you've got to be empathetic to yourself as well, like, a lot of a lot of value is placed on being an empathetic person, being the best person you can be, etc. But that doesn't mean much, if you can't be that to yourself. So, for example, if someone says something that rubs us the wrong way, we end we forgive them. That's absolutely fine. That's great. But are we going to do that to ourselves? So if I said something to say, Louis, that upset him in some way. If we got to the point where therefore it's fine between us, we ever go? Am I ever going to accept that? Am I ever going to forgive myself and show myself empathy?

Louis:

Yeah, I think self empathy is very important within this conversation, because I think it's a part of what we've been talking about. Because all of the ways of accommodating emotions and understanding yourself that we've been discussing, they require self empathy. Because if you can't empathise with yourself in the way that you're feeling, then you'll be too harsh on yourself. You have to be able to set this baseline of Okay, I have this baseline level of self respect. I can understand why I'm doing why I'm acting the way I am in the past. I can I have this deeper understanding of my emotions, but you definitely need to have that empathy in order to really not hold yourself to too much of a fault. You'll be too harsh on yourself if you can't empathise.

Aidan:

So I feel we've covered quite a lot in terms of managing and attitudes toward emotions as men, but I just kind of want to cap off this episode by asking you both if there's one thing that someone listening could take away from this episode. What would it be? What do you think we can kind of encapsulate this whole episode into like a soundbite, let's say,

Louis:

I think the main takeaway would be having or Well, now start again, I think the main takeaway would be try and develop this reflective framework in which you can have a look at your emotions and obtain this deeper understanding of yourself. And I mean, it's very easy for me to just sit here and say that and say that you should try and do this. But it requires a lot of introspection, it requires a lot of self empathy. But just trying is really the important part. Just trying to understand where you're coming from, where other people are coming from. And just having that empathy is I think the key part of Really navigating any sort of emotional conflict, or any real emotionally charged situation.

Euan:

That framework is really important because it really helps you kind of it helps you accept your emotions, right? It helps you feel much more kind of in control and understanding of why you're feeling things and it makes you feel much sort of it gives you as I said, this new perspective on life. And I think like, it's sometimes even good to view emotions is not inherently bad or good, right? They kind of have that purpose. And at least you know, in the context of your life, and I think it's important to be able to understand that and I think it's almost it can be really, very beneficial process.