The Effects of Attachment Styles in a Relationship

Connection. Bond. Intimacy. Vulnerability. Trust. Support. These words describe the benefits of
a relationship. As humans we are created for a relationship with God and with one another. In fact,
forming relationships with people is vital to our emotional and mental wellbeing, and even our
survival. We need each other. We need to feel connected to another human being and while that
doesn’t necessarily have to happen in a romantic relationship there are health benefits to being in
a healthy one. A healthy committed relationship, like a marriage, can result in less stress, healthier
behaviors, and a greater sense of purpose. One of the best ways to have a healthy marriage is by
understanding and having an awareness of another’s attachment style. Knowing which attachment
style you and your spouse lean towards can help inform how you respond and relate to each other
in settling conflicts, showing love and needing support. Having a better understanding of one
another’s attachment styles, can aid in having a happy, healthy marriage.

You may be wondering what an attachment style even is and where it derives from. Therefore,
let’s discuss where it all begins. It begins at childhood, well, even sooner than that, more like at
birth. An attachment style is formed from the moment you, as a baby, enter the world. Your
environment and connectedness to your parents determine which attachment style you’ll most
likely end up having. If a baby is immediately given to the mother and she nurtures, loves, and
is present a bond of trust begins to develop. When a child’s needs are consistently met through
comfort and peace it brings to shape the baby’s ability to trust and have a positive worldview.
However, if a child is brought into the world and the environment is not nurturing, chaotic, and
distressing it can be a traumatic experience for the child. When the parent or caregiver is
inconsistent in fulfilling the child’s needs it can heighten a state of anxiety, as the child is unsure
on whether or not the caregiver will respond. Therefore, the attachment occurs through the
emotional bond between a child and a parent or caregiver. It is through these types of scenarios
that can lead to different attachment styles. There are four types of styles and each one measures
how an individual responds to relationships, whether through avoidance, anxiety, or closeness.

Secure Attachment

A person who has the secure attachment style likely had a caretaker that was consistently nurturing
and emotionally available. Therefore, as an adult this person has an easier time trusting others,
recognizing what they need and speaking up about it. This person feels secure and comfortable in
their relationship and giving their spouse some space doesn’t lead to feelings of insecurity or
anxiety. Although being a person with a secure attachment style doesn’t mean they never get angry
or jealous, it simply means at the end of the day they trust their partner and know they can be open
and honest with them.

Dismissive- Avoidant Attachment

A person who is dismissive avoidant is someone who likes their independence and comes across
as not needing or wanting acceptance from others. This person tends to be emotionally distant and
struggles with expressing and discussing emotions. The individual with this type of attachment
will avoid being vulnerable and will even pride him or herself on not depending on anyone. This
person often has a high self-esteem but doesn’t assess others very well. In fact, they can be very
charming, and inviting but also very inward-focused. They can easily dismiss people when they
become irritated with certain qualities of others or with certain demands that affect their time. This
individual tends to have an internal battle when they find someone who could be a great fit for them because even though their mind desires the connection, their emotions find their partners
love as an anxiety trigger and as a threat. This person tends to cope by pushing the person who
loves them away.

Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment

A person who has an anxious-preoccupied attachment style is considered to be more on the side
of insecure. This style often comes from an early environment, in which the caregiver was either
emotionally unavailable or inconsistent. This person usually has a low self-esteem and desires a
ton of attention and reassurance from their partner. They tend to fear that the person they love
doesn’t really love them back or will abandon them. This individual seeks to find security and
safety within the relationship. They see their partner as someone who completes them or saves
them from either themselves or a situation. The relationship becomes a part of their identity,
making them more possessive or clingy out of fear of losing their partner. However, this behavior
can end up pushing their partner away.

Fearful-Avoidant Attachment

A person who experienced childhood trauma may have this attachment style because they most
likely didn’t receive care or comfort from the person that was supposed to take care of them.
Therefore, their behavior tends to be a combination of being anxious and dismissive. They tend to
perceive themselves of giving a lot more in the relationship than they’re receiving, which can lead
to them resenting their partner for not meeting their needs. Yet they struggle to communicate how
they feel and even identifying what exactly they do need.

No attachment style makes a person “bad” or “good” it is simply a way to identify what your
natural tendency is bent toward. It can bring awareness to a relationship and help them know how
to communicate better. As two individuals who love each other grow and gain a better
understanding of one another it can transform a person from an insecure attachment into a secure
one. We all have a little dysfunction in us, as we’re all born sinners, but we can let God transform
us into a new person by changing the way we think. Then we will learn to know God’s will for
us, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Rom. 12:2).

4 Tips For Choosing A Therapist

Choosing a therapist can be a daunting task, especially when you're already struggling with mental health concerns. How do you find a therapist who is a good fit? This blog will give you four tips to help you find the therapist that's right for you.

Think about the way you'd like to receive therapy.

Would you like to see your therapist in person, over the phone, or via video? Would you prefer to chat one-on-one, or in a group setting? Perhaps you'd like to see a therapist who offers couples counseling so you can attend with your partner. You may even want to see a therapist who can offer family counseling.

Interview your prospects.

Did you know you can "shop" for therapists? You can use to search for therapists by specialization, and location, or to find out if they may be covered by your insurance. Reach out via email or phone call to find out more about how each therapist conducts their sessions.

Give it time.

It can take a few sessions to build a relationship of trust with a new therapist. It's important you feel safe and comfortable so you can speak freely about your life without judgment. Be patient with yourself and with your therapist, and listen to your gut. If this therapist doesn't feel like the right one for you, they probably aren't--which leads to the final tip:

Don't be afraid to fire your therapist.

Remember, your therapist works for you. Don't worry about hurting your therapist's feelings, or trying to slog through a session if you just don't feel the two of you are clicking. Be honest with your therapist about how you feel. In the end, your therapist wants the best for you, no matter where you find it.


What is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD? The shortest technical definition is that it is a treatable neurodevelopment disorder, which occurs in kids, teenagers, and adults. Now that we have that part out of the way, let's break this down a bit further and discuss the definition of neurology. Neurology is the branch of medicine that studies the treatments of disorders associated with the complex and sophisticated nervous system. This system regulates and coordinates the body's activities. It has two major parts of study; the brain and the spinal cord. When someone has ADHD, their brain has low levels of neurotransmitters. These transmitters (think worker bees) control the processing and sharing of information received from our senses. To put this in layman’s terms, picture yourself walking into a public library. Libraries are organized into sections based on the subject matter and then broken down by age, function, and genres. The brain works in a similar way because when information from our senses comes in, the brain identifies, catalogs, and assigns it a place. When you have ADHD, you don’t have enough “workers” to properly do the job, so information gets incorrectly processed, jumbled, and categorized wrong.

Now that we know what ADHD is and the effect it can have on a person’s brain, we can move on to the types of symptoms and coexisting conditions that one might experience. As you read through these, keep in mind that you can experience all of them, some of them, or any combination of them. These symptoms represent the most common and they must occur frequently.

ADHD doesn’t cause other psychological or developmental problems, however, other disorders often occur or are exasperated by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. These are known as coexisting conditions. These can make the management and treatment of ADHD more challenging. These can include:

Whether or not you have recently received a diagnosis of ADHD, know someone who has, or, are wondering if you might need to have an open and honest conversation with your doctor, we hope this post provides you with enough clarifying information to give you a solid head start. Don’t give up hope because a positive diagnosis doesn’t have to mean you can’t be successful in life. While it may make things more challenging and frustrating at times, there are a number of different treatments, such as meditation, medications, certain exercises, or even individual tools and strategies to help you be your best self. 


Gaslighting is a form of psychological warfare that causes the target to question their own judgment and reality. It is an extreme and very specialized form of brainwashing. When used in a consistent and pervasive manner, gaslighting is a form of masterful manipulation and mental abuse and it can be crippling.

One of the great things about having easy access to so much information right at your fingertips is that it can shine a bright light on certain forms of covert and abusive relationship issues that were not previously well-known or discussed in our society. A newer “buzz” word that seems to be talked about a lot these days is gaslighting. What exactly is gaslighting and how does it affect the victim? More importantly, how do you know when you’re caught in the proverbial spiders' web and what, if anything, can you do to free yourself? Let’s start with three examples from the film. 

1. The Changeling

Set in the 1920s, this movie stars Angelina Jolie as a mother whose son vanishes. The story unfolds in the local media and creates embarrassment for the local Los Angeles police department. Months later, Christine (Jolie) is informed that her son has been found, however, upon being reunited, it is clear to Christine that the boy brought to her is not her son. 

The police department uses the boy as a tool to make Christine’s nightmare of events disappear and ultimately take the focus off of the police department. Her detractors continue to go on the offensive, even as she insists the boy is not hers, by claiming her to be a bad mother and obviously crazy. As a result, she is sent to a psych ward and forced to take antipsychotic medications. 

Not only did the corrupt police department gaslight Christine, but they also exploited the media and gaslit the people of the town who turned against her. 

2. Colossal

In Nacho Vigalondo’s 2016 sci-fi film, Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is an alcoholic who’s newly single and has just returned to her hometown. Her alcoholic struggles have not only affected her personal life but in a rather ingenious twist, she is metaphysically linked to a gigantic creature who destroys South Korea.

Gloria’s addiction and the destruction it brings is not the only monster lurking in the film. Gloria’s childhood friend Oscar becomes controlling, possessive, and manipulative of Gloria as the film progresses. This causes him to unleash a monster of his own, which he uses as an additional tool to keep Gloria under his thumb. Oscar uses Gloria’s drunk tendencies against her to further his own agenda by taking advantage of her at every possible turn. 

3. Girl On The Train

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is an on-off recovering alcoholic divorcee’ who travels by train to New York City every day after losing both her job and her marriage. She fixates on the lives of her former husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), as well as their neighbors Scott (Luke Evans) and Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett). Megan worked for Tom and Anna as a nanny for their bay Evie but had recently quit the job.

When a pregnant Megan goes missing and Rachel wakes up covered in blood after a night of drinking, she is questioned by Detective Riley (Allison Janney) as a potential suspect. Rachel doesn’t trust herself because her marriage to Tom resulted in him making her believe she is crazy and that her memories are inaccurate. He goes so far as to convince her that she is the reason he lost his job. As Rachel works to disentangle herself from the suspect list and works toward becoming sober, it becomes apparent that Tom had planted false memories in Rachel during her drinking binges and he was violent towards her once she blacked out. Turns out, Tom was actually fired for having sex with his co-workers. 

As the days of sobriety stack up, her memories return and become clearer and clearer leading her to realize that on the day of Megan’s disappearance she saw Tom and Megan together. When she confronted them, Tom struck her and knocked her unconscious. Later, when she awakens and tries to flee, she discovers the door is locked. Tom comes for her and she ends up in a fight for her life, while Anna watches from the top of the steps, guarding Evie. 

In addition to the examples given above in modern-day cinema, Psychology Today indicates that it is vital to look for multiple of the following behaviors; Exaggeration and blatant lies, repetition of abuse, escalation when challenged, wearing you down emotionally by going around and around in circles, the experience of false hope, dominates or/or controls you, and lastly, the formation of a codependent relationship. Remember, These behaviors must be consistent and form a pattern. 

Keep in mind that when you challenge them (which you will, especially in the beginning), they will refute the evidence (no matter how concrete), deny, blame, misdirect, create confusion and doubt, and manipulate you into submission. They want complete power over you mentally and emotionally so that you feel like you need them for acceptance, approval, respect, safety, and security. You will be full of fear, vulnerable, and marginalized so that they can exploit you at will for their own power and personal gain. If by some chance, you do happen to receive kindness or remorse, it will be fleeting, fake, and superficial- its only purpose is to keep you dancing on the puppet strings

By now, you might be wondering what, if anything, can you do to disengage yourself from the web? First, it is incredibly important to recognize that you are in the gaslighting web in the first place. After all, you cannot fix what you do not acknowledge. Once you do, discontinue engaging, set clear boundaries, talk to someone you trust about what you are going through, and write any inconsistent or disturbing interactions down. Seek help from a therapist- they can help you make a plan and take steps to get out of the relationship as soon as possible. Full disclosure here- it will not be easy, but don’t give up because you can take back and rebuild your life. You don’t have to do it alone. 

Clinical Depression: How To Climb Out Of The Dark

What is clinical depression? In a nutshell, it is a mental health disorder or illness, which is characterized by persistently low moods, a constant sense of hopelessness or despair, and/or the loss of interest in daily activities for a period of at least two weeks or longer. Most symptoms occur on an almost daily basis. 

Clinical depression is a serious condition that can wreak havoc on our daily lives. Talk to your doctor, your therapist, or even friends and family. You don’t have to go through it alone. a few things you can do to start the process towards managing and ideally vanquishing the darkness. 

First, believe it or not, there are two comprehensive questionnaires called the Patient Health Questionnaires that you can find and complete online.

Developed by Dr. Spitzer, Dr. Williams, and Dr. Kroenke, the Patient Health Questionnaire provides a points-based question and answer format that allows you to determine the level of depression you may be suffering from. The initial questionnaire, also called the PHQ-2, has 2 questions and a points scale of 0-6. You can find it HERE. The follow-up questionnaire, also referred to as the PHQ-9 has 9 questions and a points range from 0-27. 

When completing the questionnaires, keep in mind that they were designed to be discussed and looked at with your doctor or therapist so that you can get clarity on the data, ask questions, and receive direction on the best ways to help you at your particular level. 

Finally, as promised, here are some other ways to help with your journey to healing. 

1) Journaling- when you’re exhausted, filled with body aches, and restlessness, the last thing you probably want to do is write. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be every single day and it doesn’t need to be a novel. If all you can do at first is just write one word over and over again, that’s okay. 

2) Eliminate pressure phrases, such as should, must, or have to. Slowly work on changing those negative thoughts into positive ones because putting yourself down is not going to help you feel better about yourself or your life. Be kind to yourself and give yourself grace. 

3) Move, walk, and practice smiling- it may feel odd, awkward, or even too hard at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. 

Lastly, and most importantly, remember that you are not alone. As a matter of fact, you can even start journaling with “I am not alone”. Hugs and healing. 

What Is Mental Health, And Why Is It Important?

Mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being and includes our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors1. Our mental health impacts all areas of our life, including our work life, home life and relationships, academic performance, and our participation in the community. Mental health is an essential part of your daily functioning.

Struggling with mental health and stress is a common life experience and there are benefits to addressing these issues. including increased emotion regulation, reduced anxiety, increased focus and concentration, improved closeness in relationships, and increased self-esteem2. Ultimately, daily life becomes easier to manage when your mind is well.

Everyone’s mental health needs are different. We all have different risk factors which may predispose us to develop a mental health disorder, or be susceptible to stress. Some risk factors include experiencing child abuse or neglect, sexual violence, having a family member diagnosed with a mental health disorder, or substance use and chemical dependence2.

Signs of Mental Health Issues

Warning signs of poor mental health can be subtle. If you recognize the following warning signs in yourself or your loved ones, please seek consultation with a mental health professional1:

How to Improve your Mental Health

Incorporating self-care strategies into your routine can help you stay well and improve your daily functioning. Consider the following recommendations1,3:

How to Get Help

Sometimes it is difficult to know where to start. Know that there is always a professional available to help you, and there is no shame in seeking a counselor or therapist. To find a therapist or mental health provider in your area, browse PsychologyToday or check out online therapy websites such as BetterHelp, or Thriveworks.

Footnotes (2022, February 28). What is mental health?

2Plumptre, E. (2021, November 15). Why is mental health important?

3Cleveland Clinic (2021, January 28). Stress.


Divorce sucks. Plain and simple. Whether you initiated, your partner did, or you both agreed together, it is a crap-shoot. 

Six months ago, my husband and I quietly separated. I needed my own space so that I could deal with my resentment towards him. I was incredibly unhappy and had been for years. I felt completely unseen, unloved, and unwanted. We had almost no intimacy, sexual or otherwise, we rarely talked, and I always felt like the “heavy” in our relationship- the one who made the tough decisions disciplined the kids, handled the finances, and took care of any and all planning for appointments and such. Now, in all fairness, my husband works hard- really hard! He works 10+ hour days through the week and then puts in another 6-8 on Saturdays. Sometimes, he even worked half-days on Sunday. He always took care of grocery shopping 1-2 times a month and cooked dinner most nights. He took care of oil changes, brake jobs, and yard work. And when he had free time, he spent it with our kids outside playing soccer or basketball or playing on the trampoline. He and my son get along great, they have gaming in common and my husband is super patient with him. All in all, he’s not a bad guy and he certainly isn’t a bad dad, but as a husband, well, let’s just say, I was never really his priority. 

The 7 Pillars of Grief: An Introverts Perspective 

The experience of loss can come in many forms. Most of us readily recognize the finality of death as an obvious catalyst for grief. The process for working through these other types of loss is more or less identical to that of death.

We are going to explore some of these other forms of loss, how they shape us, how we heal from them, and most importantly, how we, as introverts, define and handle the stepping stones of this particularly hard, but necessary journey. First, allow me to tell you a little bit about one of my biggest battles with grief. 

In August 2017, my father passed away. My relationship with him had been complicated for almost all of my adult years. He had diabetes and ultimately succumbed to the toll that the disease took on his body. He was an alcoholic during my growing-up years, he could be hugely warm and funny, but he could also be cruel and cutting. He was an avid history buff and loved to read. He genuinely liked kids and enjoyed teaching them card games and board games. He was far from perfect and we struggled to understand each other. But, I know he loved me and I loved him. My journey through grieving was a life-altering experience from the inside out. 

The 7 Pillars (stages) of Grief are a vital part of the healing process. If you were to work through them in order, it would look like this:

Now, here is something I want you to keep in mind- every single person is different. We all grieve in our own way and in our own time. If you find yourself skipping or vacillating between one or more of these pillar stages, that’s okay. If you feel like you are all over the place, that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with you. 

Grief is messy. It’s chaotic and crazy and deeply painful. It shows up in ways that you never thought possible. You will have days of deep despair- where you won’t want to get out of bed. You’ll feel weak and defeated and lost. You’ll have days where seemingly nothing of significance will make you cry or completely alter your mood from one extreme to another. There will be days when you’ll feel strong and alive and like you can FINALLY breathe. And yes, there will be days- even moments, when you’ll experience both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. And, you know what? It’s okay. You are okay. I repeat, there is NOTHING wrong with you. Keep moving forward because the only way out is through. It takes what it takes to heal. 

Prioritizing Mental Health

When someone has a broken bone, a sore throat, or a sharp pain, they get to a doctor to get it checked out. In many cases, as long as the issue is physical, it is addressed by a professional in a timely manner. However, this is rarely the case when someone is struggling with their mental health. Since these challenges appear invisible to the outside world, mental health challenges are not taken as seriously as those that are physical. Unfortunately, mental health has been stigmatized, leading people to avoid treatment when they need it to feel their best. Prioritizing one's mental health is vital to care for one’s overall health, as mental health and physical health are closely related. When someone’s mental health is poor, it often manifests in physical symptoms. Many times, addressing mental health can mean addressing the root of the problem.

Ignoring our mental health can lead to serious risks including anxiety, depression, high levels of stress, and in extreme cases, suicide. Poor mental health can come from a variety of factors including childhood trauma or abuse, environmental stressors, and genetics. Lifestyle can also impact one’s mental health, for instance if someone is participating in substance abuse or is struggling to give their body regular movement and proper nutrition. The mere pressure of living in a society where everyone’s lives are showcased on social media for the world to see, judge, and interact with can lead anyone to have a decline in mental health. Luckily, in more recent years, there is more awareness around the necessity to prioritize mental health which makes us hopeful for future generations that seek treatment and normalize the importance of caring for one’s mental health.

Prioritizing mental health is key to enjoying a fulfilling and meaningful life. Good mental health can improve daily mood, increase inner peace, and promote clearer thought patterns. It can reduce anxiety, aid in coping with day to day stressors, and improve one’s self esteem. It can improve our levels of productivity, improve our sense of self, and help us reach for our highest potential. Good mental health can also greatly improve our relationships with the people and the world around us. In essence, if we prioritize and commit to bettering our mental health, every aspect of our lives will benefit in return.

Many factors influence our mental health. Some things that can have a negative impact can include long periods of stress, unemployment, or poverty. Social isolation can cause a decline in our mental health, leading to intense feelings of loneliness. Neglect, abuse, trauma, and debilitating physical conditions make it very difficult to function effectively day to day. Unfortunately, many people experience discrimination and challenges in family life regularly, both of which can lead to a decline in mental health. On the other hand, therapy, journaling, mindfulness practice, and exercise are just a few ways we can enjoy greater peace and less thought clutter in our minds. If we are to commit to taking mental health as seriously as we take physical health, we will reach our fullest potential, feel healthier mentally and physically, and live more fulfilling and meaningful lives.

The Emotionally Competent Man

In the old days, men could get away with being sullen, silent and emotionally inaccessible. But a generation’s failed experiment with modern stoicism has led to an emotional revolution. It’s now standard fare to assess the strength of a leader not just on his skills and pedigree, but also his ability to emotionally relate with others. Fathers and husbands are now widely expected not just to provide the bread and bacon but empathy and care as well. Even Forbes magazine says that emotional competency is “no longer just a nice-to-have skill, but one of the World Economic Forum’s Top Ten Skills (and arguably it underpins the other nine).” I recently interviewed Ben Peterson (whose I Am Second film just came out) who in many ways is one of those stereotypically tough manly men. But this army veteran had to stare down PTSD from his time in the war, plus the additional trauma of childhood abuse. And with that battle he learned to develop an emotional competency that has made him even tougher.

But what is emotional competency? And how does it behave? The answer to this is a book (and a rather long one at that), so here we’ll just scratch the surface. But it’s an essential set of skills and behaviors that can improve every area of your life.

Competency means feeling, knowing and naming emotions, not ignoring or numbing

Men have feelings. You need to know that. Why? Because whether you know you are feeling something or not, those feelings are driving you. The fool is driven around by feelings they don’t know they are feeling. This is like the old cars with no dashboard sensors. Just because there is no “check engine light” doesn’t mean you don’t need to check the engine. Not having that system of sensors just makes your job harder and the likelihood of total engine failure higher. The sensors are there to alert you of something that needs to be managed. So get used to feeling things, learn to identify what those feelings are, and give a name to them. Read Psalm 69 in the Bible if you are looking for a decent anthology of emotions to draw from. You’ll see that manly men like the warrior-king David have a highly tuned set of emotional sensors.

Competency means vetting and filtering emotions, not just feeling and expressing them

There’s a thread of current opinion that says emotional maturity means expressing all emotions, fully and without restraint. But this is the wisdom of a child, not of an emotionally competent man. Only children yell and scream every time they “feel” like they should yell and scream. Everyone feels emotions. But not every emotion should be expressed immediately, fully or without constraint. If you feel anger, that doesn’t mean you should shout, name call or assault people. Even if these are “emotionally honest” behaviors, they are not helpful. There is a verse in the Bible that says it this way, “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.” Emotional competency means you have developed the skill of knowing whether the anger you feel should be shown “at once,” or if you need to let it go and address it another way at another time. 

Competency means calmly expressing the fire inside, not stuffing it down

The old-fashioned way for men to handle emotions is to ignore them and stuff them deep, deep down inside. But this results in either an explosive man (one who stuffs it down, until it all explodes back out) or an emotionally unavailable man (one who can neither relate nor empathize with others). So yelling isn’t the answer and stuffing it down isn’t the answer. What is? Again, we’ll turn to the Bible for a piece of wisdom when it says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Finding “soft” ways of expressing no-so-soft emotions can turn your emotional bomb into an efficient engine. To use a car analogy, a gas-powered engine is basically a controlled explosion. The full force of energy inside the gasoline is released, but because it is done in a slow, controlled manner, you get a quiet drive through town, rather than a bomb. Emotional competency is a car, not a bomb.

Competency means you seek help when you run out of competency

My neighbor has had a car parked in their backyard for over a year. I’m sure there was a plan at some point to get it fixed and back on the road. But whatever the plan was, my neighbor’s ability to execute that plan has fallen short. They didn’t have the skills or resources to get it fixed. Men do this with their emotions more often than we like to admit. Sometimes you need to see a counselor. Sometimes you need to talk to a pastor or mentor. And everyone needs to talk to a friend about the emotional challenges they are facing. Unless you’d like to be the human equivalent of a junked up backyard, you need to recognize when you’re out of your depth and need some help. If you don’t know where to start on this one, talk with one of our completely free Live Second Coaches. They are not counselors but they’ve got some tools to get you back on the road.

Competency means listening, asking questions, and empathizing 

Emotional competency means that you have the emotional strength and sensitivity to love and care for others, in addition to yourself. If it was all about you, then this article would be called “The Emotionally Competent Man-Child,” but that is not our goal. Love and care for fellow human beings is our goal. Emotional competency is an essential milepost towards that goal. 

So practically speaking this means that you need to develop an emotional curiosity. When you are interacting with someone, you should be curious about how they are feeling. It should be something you are listening for, asking questions about, and trying to imagine yourself into. Many men are curious about their work, their hobby, or their sport. They read magazines, buy specialized equipment, and consult experts, all in the hope that they can figure out the secrets of their trade. But an emotionally competent man has this same intensity towards the feelings and thoughts of others. And like any other endeavor, you’ll be terrible at it at first, but practice, practice, practice, and you’ll develop emotional competency – and hopefully – emotional expertise.  

Contrary to the old way of defining manliness and strength, true toughness comes with a full set of emotional tools and skills. Watch Ben’s film to see how he found strength in expressing his emotions, especially during periods of brokenness. You’ll see that when you lack emotional competency, you lack true strength. Strong men are emotionally competent men.