Five Building Blocks of an Emotionally Healthy Man

Arena Men,

It was a pleasure to interview Dr. Eddie Capparucci on the Men in the Arena Podcast last week. Eddie is a licensed Christian counselor, certified in treating emotional and relational behaviors that are notorious for hamstringing men. He is the author of several books, including our interview topic, Why Men Struggle to Love: Overcoming Relational Blind Spots. 

It is said that hurting people hurt people. I couldn’t agree more. But when a man is hurting—emotionally or relationally dysfunctional—the wake of his handicap injures more than just himself.

He becomes toxic. 

But when a man gets it—everyone wins. 

Here are five core needs of the emotionally healthy man: 

Building Block 1: Connection

One of my favorite movies is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. In it, Mitty, played by Ben Stiller, works for Life magazine, whose motto is, “To see the world, things dangerous to come to. To see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel.”

Connection is the capacity to feel. It is to accept and give both physical and emotional touch to those we care about. It is the ability to engage in meaningful relationships with others. Three keywords for the emotionally connected man are his ability to feel, touch, and engage. 

Building Block 2: Attunement

This emotional building block required to love is called ‘attunement,' which is the ability to be—wait for it—in tune with the emotions of other individuals, especially those closest to us. 

Unlike being engaged, the tuned-in man has learned the art of reading the emotional state of others. This allows him to relate, engage and bond with others on a higher level because of the ability to sense what others are experiencing. 

Building Block 3: Trust

Trust. I bet you saw that one coming, didn’t you? 

A few weeks ago, I was informed that my TikTok video relating a conversation about trust I had with a firefighter in Mississippi went viral. Funny thing is, I didn’t know I had a TikTok account! 

Healthy trust is the ability to depend upon an individual for nurturing while also remaining independent, knowing there is always someone waiting when you return. Trust allows a child to be free of anxiety and confident he is loved and accepted. Trust allows a man to live as a free man amid all the pressures of life.

Building Block 4: Autonomy

My last dog, Ruger, was neurotic. We got him from the pound after he repeatedly escaped from being tethered to a pole for hours on end by his previous owner. He was a great hunting dog, since he would never venture too far in front of me before his neurosis kicked in, which compelled him to stay a stone’s throw from his new master. 

The fruit of trust is autonomy, the fourth building block of the emotionally healthy man. Autonomy is the capacity of a person to act and think freely, without coercion, guilt, or the influence of another person’s desires. 

In laymen’s terms, autonomy is the security others feel in their relationship with us, even in their wanderings. Healthy autonomy provides children with a sense of independence and allows them to make decisions while discovering their choices have good and bad outcomes. 

Building Block 5: Love and Sexuality

Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Love and sexuality. In one interview, I was told that it is common for a stripper to tattoo “Daddy’s Girl” as a demented reminder of the dad who was absent from her life. We have heard the phrase, “she has daddy issues.” In other words, she has a dad in name only. 

This is a horrific reminder for all dads out there.  

When children receive affirmation regarding love and encouragement regarding their sexuality from their caregivers, they become adults who create a healthy balance between physical and emotional intimacy. 

Build Your Emotional IQ,

Seeking Emotional Health in Jesus,