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Emotional Savvy: Unlocking Your Inner Potential

Episode #832

Join Doug Holt and Andy Torr in this enlightening episode of “The Powerful Man Podcast” as they dive deep into the heart of emotional intelligence. Discover how understanding and managing your emotions can lead to stronger relationships, greater self-awareness, and a more fulfilling life.

In this episode, Doug and Andy explore the concept of emotional intelligence, shedding light on how emotions like anger and vulnerability play pivotal roles in our lives. They discuss practical strategies for recognizing and addressing underlying emotions, enhancing your ability to connect with others genuinely.

Listen as Andy shares his insights on developing the muscle of vulnerability and the power of emotional attunement, while Doug emphasizes the importance of balancing emotional expression with maintaining a sense of safety and stability in relationships. This candid conversation also touches on the cultural misconceptions around stoicism and the critical difference between being stoic and being emotionally numb.

Whether you’re navigating personal challenges or seeking to improve your relationships, this episode provides valuable tools and perspectives to help you become emotionally savvy and unlock your inner potential.

Tune in and take the first step towards a more emotionally intelligent and fulfilling life.

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Head over to our BONUS page for special access to some of the deeper tactics and techniques we’ve developed at The Powerful Man.

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Andy Torr  0:00  

If we want to allow ourselves, the muscle of feeling all the good stuff, then we have to be willing to risk feeling the hard stuff, we push down the hard feelings because they’re uncomfortable. So we really conditioned ourselves to not feel the hard stuff on this side of the spectrum.

Doug Holt  0:13  

Because if being vulnerable doesn’t mean being weak, it means actually the opposite. You’re actually being strong. Because you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable to attack, and judgment, but yet you don’t care because you’re so strong and secure in yourself. I think it’s the most masculine thing you can do.

Hey, guys, welcome back to another episode of the TPM podcast. Once again, we are joined by the great Andy Torr, and we’re having a great dialogue off-camera, and I wanted to bring it on, you guys do not want to miss this episode. So let’s kick it off. And you’re talking about some really great topics here on emotional intelligence. Why don’t we just have that dialogue? Yeah,

Andy Torr  0:59  

sure. Hey, Doug, it’s great to be here. We were talking about a masterclass that I did for The Brotherhood on emotional intelligence, the three parts. And really, when we talk about emotional intelligence, we’re talking about trying to understand what the different feelings signal to us as humans, so a great example, just to understand what emotional intelligence means to a great extent, for example, is anger. What’s anger? Right? Well, anger is a sort of a first response as a protective mechanism that calls us into action and causes us to focus on something, it’s actually a very important emotion for men because it moves us into action. But it’s very difficult for us to receive anger from somebody else. And so when we become emotionally intelligent, we can look at anger, and say, okay, behind anger, there is always an unmet need or a perceived injustice. So rather than reacting to the anger, can I look behind that, can I see what is actually being communicated to me, or perhaps, if I’m feeling angry, what’s actually behind my own anger that I can express maybe a little bit more cleanly than just being mad. So this is certainly an example of what we mean when we talk about emotional intelligence. And one thing that a lot of guys really want when they come into our programs is they want to be happy. And there’s this spectrum of emotions. And on one end, we have all of the positive emotions, the happiness and the joy and the fulfillment and everything that we want to feel. And on the other end of the spectrum, we have all the stuff that’s really difficult to feel the grief and the regret, and the shame and the anger and the fear. And what most humans want to do is we want to feel all of the good stuff. Yeah, we don’t want to feel very much of the bad stuff. Sure, right, which is very natural, because the bad stuff is uncomfortable. And so particularly as men, what we do is we condition ourselves, to not feel the hard stuff, we push down the hard feelings because they’re uncomfortable. 

And so if we feel anger, we push it down. If we feel shame, regret or guilt, or fear, we push it down so that we don’t feel that feeling. And so we really conditioned ourselves to not feel the hard stuff on this side of the spectrum. Maybe we feel a little bit angry, maybe we feel a little bit scared, but we never allow ourselves to go all the way. And here’s the really interesting thing about our psychology is that when we conditioned ourselves to not feel the hard stuff, we lost the ability to really feel the good stuff. Exactly. And we end up operating on a very narrow emotional bandwidth that most guys call even keel Yeah, that guy is pretty even keel, you know, he never gets too happy, never gets too sad. He’s sort of in this emotional, gray space, you know, bouncing back and forth between a very narrow band of emotions. And for my money, Doug, I don’t know how you feel about this. But for my money, that’s no way to live. Right? Our emotions, really are the juice of life he did to be able to drop into not only the good stuff, but the hard stuff allows us to really maximize the most out of life. And so what guys want is I want to feel all the good stuff, but I don’t want to feel any of the hard stuff. Well, the truth is, if we want to allow ourselves, the muscle of feeling all the good stuff, then we have to be willing to risk feeling the hard stuff. And that word risk is really important, Doug, because if we’re willing to risk going all the way into our fear and our sadness and shame, usually, we don’t have to go there. But the willingness to go there means that we can be more open to receiving the stuff on the other side, the really good stuff that we want to feel,

Doug Holt  4:27  

I love that you can’t see the valleys without getting to the peaks or vice versa, you know, and for some reason, Andy in our culture, being even keel is almost like a badge of honor. Man, look at this. You know, stoicism was really big a few years ago. I mean, it seemed like every book coming out had to do something with being a stoic, right? And I think what men miss is some of the practices of really real, what stoicism really is about and they took it to mean I have to be just neutral, no emotions about anything. Everything’s logical. I’m going To be a computer, and when men go down that route, they really miss the zest of life, if you will, the passion, right? And imagine how if you’re doing that, if you don’t have the passion, you’re definitely not bringing that to the bedroom. Right? You’re your wife is now having passionate love sex. That’s got to be fun to be married to a guy that has passionate sex all the time. And so you’re not painting with all the colors. And the analogy I always use, you’ve heard me use is probably too many times. Because I have young kids, some guys are only coloring with like the three crayons they give you at the restaurant, right? When they give you that placemat with your kids, not the 64 box of crayons have all the good colors in them. And they miss that spectrum.

Andy Torr  5:40  

There are hundreds of emotions, yeah, hundreds of emotions. And you know, most of us operate with for, you know, mad, sad, glad and afraid. And those are the most accessible emotions to men, usually the easiest emotion for us to tap into his anger. Right. And because it’s close to the surface. So you mentioned stoicism a few minutes ago. And stoicism, as you mentioned, is not about not feeling correct. It’s about actually being deeply in touch with what’s going on inside and connecting with it. And understanding what is trying to teach us but not letting those emotions sweep us away and not letting those emotions govern our actions.

Doug Holt  6:20  

Yes, it’s about not being in DEER mode. Don’t react, right? The aren’t DEER stands for reaction. And this reminds me of Andy. So I’m in my early 20s, and I had a client that I was working with. And this guy just had wisdom beyond his years, right yet. I’m still working with him. And I remember him coming in. He and I were talking and he’s just like, I’m just down. His name was Richard. And I go What’s wrong, Richard now being in my 20s, right, what I want to do, I want to lift Richard up, I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna show make him happy again. And as we were talking and dialoguing and trying to figure out why Richard, you know, just just felt out of it. He said, Doug, you know what, I’m gonna sit in this, I’m gonna give myself two days, two days just to sit in this. And he described it really well. He said, you know, Doug, I feel like I just have this warm, wet wool blanket just draped over me. It’s really heavy. It’s kind of that wet, warm, kind of moist feeling. And I just feel down like kind of like II or if you will, like, go. And but what he said was like, if I can’t sit in this, and to sit in this feeling of being, you know, being down being depressed, and how am I ever going to be able to sit in happiness? Wonderful. Yeah, it was such a nugget one of those things, I’ll never forget that conversation. And you know, your clients teach you so much as well. And, you know, shout out to Richard, he’s a great guy, very successful, for obvious reasons. He is very in touch and in tune with himself in his emotions. And I think as men we get to be, and that’s what it is. It’s attunement, rather than being reactive. Exactly.

Andy Torr  7:51  

And there’s a really interesting knock-on effect, if we are unwilling to sit in our sadness, and to really connect with our fear or regret or the things that are difficult for us to experience. If we just touch them lightly, then it becomes very uncomfortable for us when the people around us drop into their emotions. Yes. And that calls us into people-pleasing behavior, or problem-solving or fixing, right? Oh, you’re uncomfortable, I don’t want you to be uncomfortable, because I know what it feels like to be uncomfortable. So I want to fix you. Yeah. And sometimes the kindest thing that you can do for a loved one is to let them sit in their mess, figure it out, and just hold space for them.

Doug Holt  8:31  

That you’re describing me in my late teens. 20s, when a girlfriend would cry, right, I wanted to fix the issue. This brings me back to issues I think when I’ve done the work of my mom crying, I need to solve this, I need to make this person, it’s my job. It’s my job to protect them and make them happy. And I would go into that mode of whenever a girl would cry be uncomfortable, and either I’d fix it, or I would exit I would leave. Now I may not physically leave, although I did often. But I would emotionally just shut down. Because I couldn’t deal with that emotion. You know, breaking up with a girl perfect example, When I broke up with her she started crying and fixed. Oh, no, no, no, we’re good. You know, I laugh at it looking back. But that was me not being able to handle those waves of emotion. And

Andy Torr  9:20  

we tell ourselves a subconscious story. You know, your discomfort is making me uncomfortable. And so in order for me to feel better, I need you to feel better. Yeah. And that’s at the root of the nice guy. people pleasing behavior. Oh, it really is.

Doug Holt  9:34  

And when you think about men, I think one of the things that I’ve discovered in my life and you and I share this, I use the analogy of Indiana Jones a lot, right? And that’s worked for me. Like I want to be the adventurer in my own journey. So I go inward to explore what’s going on inside of me and figure out where it’s coming from and what’s happening, and anger when someone gets angry at me. I’m in a stage where not all the time I’m not perfect. by this, by any means and you know, but when somebody gets angry with me a lot of times I can step back, take a breath, and really just be present and hold space for that person. Because their anger doesn’t affect me. Right, their jealousy, their laughter their jokes, it doesn’t affect me, because I’m so grounded in who I am, I’ve done the work to do it. Again, not 100% of the time. I don’t think anybody’s 100%. But being effective in that, and I think that’s a tool a lot of men can get, and stoicism can teach this to him as well. But it’s really understanding who you are as a man or as a human, and being so grounded in that that you’re not reactive. And if I can add one more point to that, sure. This is where your wives, not yours, but other men’s wives can have issues, right? She knows that if you can’t handle her emotions, how the heck are you going to be safe for her? You know? Or how are you going to protect her from the guy down the street, you know, who has been checking her out or somebody else? She doesn’t believe that you are now emotionally safe enough to be around? And if you’re not emotionally safe, then she’s not gonna have connected sex with you either.

Andy Torr  11:04  

Yeah, exactly. So there are two questions that we can ask ourselves as, as men we want to connect with with our emotions. And one is what’s going on inside of me right now? Right? Can I put a name on that emotion? Right? It might not be precise, but it might just be I’m feeling some kind of I’m feeling frustrated. Right. Okay. First question, what’s going on inside of me right? Now? Second question. Can I sit with this? Yeah. And that these are the two fundamental questions of mindfulness. Mindfulness is not about stopping thought or stopping emotion. It’s about creating an emotional clearing within the mind so that we can observe ourselves, what’s going on inside? Can I sit with this? And can I really connect with it? And can I understand? Am I telling myself a story? Or is there something going on? Really funny example, I was on a long flight recently. And I noticed myself all of a sudden, just getting really angry. I was like, What’s going on, but just out of nowhere, I was really angry at somebody. And this is going on in my head. And I just stopped and I breathe. And I thought, what’s going on inside of me right now? And when I realized that I’d been sitting for a long time, and I was having a muscle cramp. And I was really uncomfortable in my physical body. My mind had come up with a story to map to the pain that I was feeling in my body. And as soon as I realized that, I like to go with the anger, and then I stretched out my body, and I felt way better. Well,

Doug Holt  12:25  

that’s that’s attunement, right? And you’ve gotten to the level that a lot of men, you know, they’re listening to you, you want to get to this level where you can actually check in with yourself and realize what’s going on. Just like when if your wife says something, or does something, all of a sudden, you get upset or angry. What is actually the story, you’re telling yourself behind that anger? Where did it come from? Where does that trigger? Right? So as an example, what guys can do here is, if they get angry, or something upsets them, their wife says, whatever they get angry or upset, a good thing to do is check back. Okay, what else have I had or experienced this feeling? Right? And go back to the first first place, you can remember what was going on there because most likely, that’s what’s coming up for you. That is whatever happened isn’t what your wife said, or did, it’s just stirring up an old pattern inside of you. Once you get to the source, now you can create a clearing in that area, and therefore be more in control. Exactly.

Andy Torr  13:22  

So step one of emotional intelligence is to connect and understand what’s going on inside. And then step two is to communicate that. And this is where we get into the realm of vulnerability to be able to talk about our feelings, not in a way that makes other people responsible for our feelings. We don’t want to barf up our feelings in our wife’s shoes and make her responsible for our anger fear or shame. But it’s, this is this is what’s coming up inside of me right now. And I’m handling it. But I just want you to know how I’m feeling so that you know how to navigate me. Yeah. And as men, we suppress our feelings when we don’t communicate what’s going on inside. It’s almost like our loved ones can’t read us at all. It’s almost like we got a blanket over our heads. They can’t see us. And because they can’t see us, they don’t know how to navigate us. And they end up walking on eggshells. Yeah. What’s going on inside of him? Why isn’t he telling me how he’s feeling? Is he mad at me? Did he do something? Should I be mad at him? And there’s all kinds of safety questions that get asked by our loved ones when we are not willing to share what’s going on inside. Sharing what’s going on inside does not mean we have to empty the closet of skeletons that we have to be completely 1000 present and vulnerable, but simply to say, this is what I’m feeling at this moment. And it’s not for you to manage. I’m managing it but I just want you to know. Yeah,

Doug Holt  14:38  

it’s so interesting, Andy, you know, a couple of the guys today, not today, but this week at the retreat, the Alpha Reset that we do. I had mentioned their wives not feeling safe. She’s not safe, right? She tells me I’m not safe to be around when I’m safe. Then we can start having great sex again. And this is one of the parts of what they could be talking about here As you know, if you can’t actually honor and experience your own emotions and you become reactive, you aren’t safe, you aren’t safe to be around, you aren’t safe to share it for it’s not a safe, safe place for her to share who she is or what she’s going through. Because you’re going to react, you’re gonna jump on a case

Andy Torr  15:15  

100%. And for guys who are listening to this, who are interested in a longer conversation about emotional safety, you and I did a podcast called You Didn’t Understand the Assignment. Yes, a little while ago. And so anybody who’s interested in listening to a longer conversation about the ingredients that go into emotional safety, that’s a great podcast for guys to check out.

Doug Holt  15:33  

Agreed, agreed 100%. And so I also want to clear up something so I can almost feel or picture if you will, maybe the older version of me gonna talk about my feelings. Come on, man, I picture you know, and where I used to picture Andy is kind of some whimpering, weak guy who’s sitting there sobbing, more feminine guy sobbing and talking about all his feelings and what have you. And we’ve come to learn that’s not the case at all. Right? So let’s talk a little bit about that.

Andy Torr  16:04  

Yeah, so I think that there’s a, there’s a lot of nuance to that, right? We want to provide our loved ones, particularly our partners, when we are in our protector provider mode, we want to provide them with an opportunity to see us communicating our emotions in a way that shows that we are managing our emotions. And so we don’t necessarily want to be the slobbering mess in front of our wives, because that transmits maybe a lack of safety cheer for her. And so this is where having a community like TPM is really fantastic, you know, when when you can communicate to another guy or another safe person, and maybe it’s a relative, or maybe it’s even a therapist or somebody like that. And just let all of that stuff out with them and process it and understand what’s behind the emotion, and then come up with a perhaps a more nuanced and more refined version of that, that we can communicate safely to our, to our loved ones.

Doug Holt  17:05  

Yeah, I’m gonna give 100% agree. And I think also for the guys listening here going, I want to talk about my feelings. Really, all you’re doing is talking about your feelings, you’re expressing what’s going on for you. You’re giving everybody else a heads up, hey, this is what’s happening for me. And you can do it in a very masculine way. In fact, I think it’s the most masculine thing you can do. Because most men, if you’re scared, they’re scared to talk about their feelings, so to speak, because they don’t know what the heck they are. They don’t know what’s going on. People are gonna judge them, what are they going to think of? They know that about me, you, and I hear that all the time from the men. And the truth is because you’re scared if you do it anyway, that’s courage. We talked about this a lot in the podcast, being afraid and doing it anyway. That’s courageous, and we celebrate the firefighter who runs into the fire to save the kids. Are they scared? Heck, yeah, they are. But they do it anyway. And they’re current, they’re courageous. You can be courageous in your own relationships with yourself and with others, by being vulnerable. Because if being vulnerable doesn’t mean being weak, it means actually the opposite. You’re actually being strong because you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable to attack judgment. But yet, you don’t care because you’re so strong and secure in yourself. And when my wife talks to women, they say that’s probably the most sexy thing a man can do. It

Andy Torr  18:22  

is a superpower for men. And it’s also a muscle that you develop over time. Yes, right. It feels really uncomfortable at first, you know, and for guys who are listening to this, who had been pushing it down their whole lives, it’s probably terrifying. Yeah, the first time they do it, but what happens is that when we express what’s going on, and the people around us receive it, we realize that the world doesn’t end. Yes. And I’m not excommunicated from everybody that I love. And in fact, people thank me for letting them know what’s going on inside of me because now they know how to navigate this relationship. And so the more we do it, the easier it gets, and then we develop a greater ability to do it. And when we model vulnerability for our loved ones, particularly our children, particularly our young men, then that just makes the world a safer place for everybody.

Doug Holt  19:09  

I love it. Man. I always enjoy this conversation with you, Andy. Likewise, gentlemen, the moment of insight, take massive action we always say And guys, if you’re in The Brotherhood or the inner circle, our one-year mastermind programs, you have access to Andy’s course. Go check it out. It is absolutely amazing. I mean, we are just barely scratching the surface. That’s all we can do in these podcasts. We try to give you guys as much as possible. But for those guys that do have access to it, take advantage of it. And he has so much knowledge that he jumps right into that masterclass for you guys. So go look it up and take action for the rest of you. Take some notes go back and he’s talking about what is emotional intelligence. What happens? Where’s the showing up for you in your life? And how can you be better? Don’t be the DEER don’t defend excuse explain react instead be the wolf wise, open, loving, and fierce. Remember, life is too short for the average guy. So take some action now. We’ll see you next I’m on the TPM show.