Emotional is Weak, Unemotional is Strong

For anyone who finds this title immediately disagreeable, please read on and discover how I define these concepts.


Emotional: acting before thinking.
Unemotional: thinking before acting.

The quality of being "unemotional" is even considered a part of "toxic masculinity" in gender studies. It's far from "toxic". It may be one of the most important human virtues to strive towards for both males and females alike.

Definitions

Provided the definitions above, hopefully most will agree that being "unemotional" is a great thing to strive towards. These definitions are far from arbitrary.

First, no human can be "unemotional" in the sense of being unfeeling (i.e., robotic). To feel is to be human, so such a definition of "unemotional" is inapplicable to human beings.

Secondly, to suggest that failing to communicate emotions is a sign of an "unemotional" being is likewise impractical, since those most guilty of doing this are often acting on their emotional impulses when they shut others out and refuse to communicate.

The definitions above are the most practical and applicable definitions to human behavior. To be an "unemotional" person is not to be an "unfeeling" one, but rather one who calmly choose actions with level-headed thought behind them.

Symptoms

A person who is very emotional will tend to always do or say things they immediately regret. Because their behavior is so compelled by their emotional impulses without any thought behind their actions, they will generally be driven to do things they regret time and time again. Yet they will often believe they are simply being "genuine" to themselves even at the cost of driving others away and accumulating a lifetime of regrets.


In extreme cases, a very emotional person's behavior will lead towards self-destruction. Extreme versions act without even considering whether their actions are beneficial even from a purely selfish standpoint.


An unemotional person, on the other hand, will tend to exhibit calmness and self-discipline. These are the people we can count on in times of conflict to be calm and level-headed in their actions. They have a tendency to deescalate conflicts and make things better when everything seems to be taking a turn for the worse.

Communicating Feelings

Communicating feelings is neither an indicator of an emotional nor unemotional person when taken on its own. It depends on why a person is doing it and how they are motivated.

An emotional person communicating feelings would do so simply because he/she felt like it without even considering the consequences. For example, a very emotional guy might complain to everyone around him all the time about his life, his work, and how shitty it makes him feel. He'd do this without stopping to think for a moment about what effect it has on other people, and will do this even at the cost of driving everyone away and making things much worse.

An unemotional person communicating feelings would determine, through rational thought, that this is the best thing to do to improve a situation. For example, an unemotional lover might hug his girlfriend in a lover's quarrel and calmly and affectionately communicate feelings. If he chooses this course of action, he's doing so under the level-headed belief that this will improve the situation and improve mutual understanding.

Example Scenarios

Here are a few scenarios where I'll discuss potential differences between the emotional and unemotional person.

Physical danger
In times of physical danger, an emotional person may act out of fear and then panic and needlessly get themselves and others hurt.

An unemotional, self-disciplined person will overcome their fear and calmly work their way towards safety.

Lover's Quarrel
When two lovers quarrel, very emotional lovers will act on their emotional impulses. They may be overly sensitive and get offended easily over things that weren't even intended to offend, and begin and escalate arguments needlessly. In extreme cases, they may even become violent.

An unemotional lover in this scenario, even when confronted with a very emotional one, will strive to remain calm. He/she may gently talk and deescalate the conflict, seeking actions to work things out and improve their relationship instead of making it worse. The greatest of these will not sacrifice their calmness even when the other lover is doing everything he/she can to provoke.

Failure
In the case of someone who fails in some way in one of their goals, a very emotional person may be prone to depression. They may give up, they may complain endlessly and start blaming others for their failures. In extreme cases they may turn to extremely unhealthy ways to cope with their failures (substance abuse, e.g.) or even commit suicide.

An unemotional person in this scenario would try to learn from the failure, take accountability for it, and strive to succeed the next time around. They'd modify their behavior in ways that they believe would help them succeed in the near future. Unemotional people are strategic people who learn from their mistakes.

My Emotional Past

When I was younger, I was an emotional person. I didn't realize it. I wasn't sensitive in a classical way. I wasn't afraid of physical danger in the slightest as an adrenaline junkie. I wasn't prone to cry easily.

My main internal enemy was anger. I wasn't typically violent towards others when feeling anger yet I was prone to punch walls in anger. I was prone to escalate and escalate arguments needlessly when I thought my girlfriends were being irrational. When the arguments became bad, I would shut them out and refuse to communicate for a good while.

I always thought for a good period of my life that this was just my genuine self. I thought I couldn't help it. I thought people who were always calm and controlled were just people who didn't feel the same intense anger I was feeling.

Becoming Unemotional

In retrospect, I was completely wrong that I couldn't help but act on my strongest emotional impulses. After losing one of my dearest girlfriends largely as a result of my anger problems, I started to ask myself what I was doing wrong. For a period I wanted to blame her for many things. She wasn't a saint but I was trying to excuse my poor behavior. I began to realize that poor behavior is inexcusable no matter what. I started to develop a sense of accountability.

Furthermore, with subsequent girlfriends, I found when I was furious at them that I could pause, relax, just take a few seconds to time out and then ask myself, "Is what I want to do next going to make things better or worse?" My natural inclination was always to do something that would definitely make things worse. When I finally got around to asking myself these questions when feeling such anger, I was able to surprise myself and even hug the girl I hated in the moment and affectionately talk things out.

The girls then melted, becoming calm, and our relationships improved. The arguments deescalated before they even became an issue, and they also became less frequent. With my now-wife, we haven't argued a single time in years, and the last one only lasted about 30 seconds.

This became my start towards becoming a truly "unemotional" person, and when I started getting the hang of resisting my emotions even when they were screaming and telling me to do something bad, it became easier and easier to overcome them. The first time was the hardest since I had never defied my intense anger before. The second time was already significantly easier. Now I can do it almost effortlessly.

Self-Discipline

I recommend to anyone, male or female, to try controlling themselves when they are feeling intense negative emotions. Just stop and pause for a second, become conscious of yourself, and think. This is all that's required to stop repeatedly doing things we immediately regret. Learning how to do this and mastering this will make everyone's life better as well as the lives of those around them. It's something no one can do perfectly, I imagine, but it's something everyone can and should strive towards.

I guarantee to those who strive for this that it will make your life better. It will improve your relationships with everyone around you (family, friends, colleagues, lovers).

This self-discipline also has a tendency to reduce the intensity of negative emotions. It's not because the discipline is making you an "unfeeling" person, but because you will tend to deescalate conflicts that can cause you to become more and more upset the longer they continue.

In conclusion, I hope I've made a reasonable case for why giving into emotional impulses is a weakness, and why striving to be unemotional is a strength. This is not simply a masculine quality. It's something women can master as well.

Emotional is Weak, Unemotional is Strong


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Most Helpful Girl

  • I loved this take. It was thoughtful, wise, and well-written. And you are absolutely right that these qualities aren't gendered at all - this is the kind of maturity that every person will hopefully grow into with time. It's not "masculine" or "feminine" to think before you respond - it's *intelligent.*

    It's interesting how words take on different meanings or nuances, for different people. I would never define "emotional" and "unemotional" exactly the way you do - I would use different wording in their place. I would use these words to represent what you are describing:

    Immaturity: acting before thinking.
    Maturity: thinking before acting.

    I tend to think of emotional people as those who feel their feelings more intensely (i. e., passionate people), and of unemotional people as those who bottle up their feelings and are less self aware, or those who simply feel things more mildly (middle-of-the-road type people). In my mind, being emotional doesn't mean being immature. You can feel things passionately, while still having self control and maturity, while still being calm in a crisis. I just have different nuances in my understanding of these terms than you do, probably based on each of our experiences in life. It's interesting how those things develop.

    Anyway, really enjoyed your take and reading about your experiences and perspective. Thanks for sharing!

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What Girls Said 6

  • Amazing MyTake amigo, a lot of us can learn from this !! And i am looking forward to see more from you.
    Thank you so much <3

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  • I see what you're saying, but I disagree. You need BOTH "rational" moments and emotional moments. Emotions are what makes us human. E. g. When something awful happens, what brings a group of people together in support of each other? The similar emotions each of them experience. Empathy (!!!). Grieving together.
    Empathy, you could say, is based on rationale, but it's about feeling what someone else is feeling. Putting yourself in their shoes. Again, one of the most important qualities human beings have, and it's what drives us to make many moral decisions.

    Emotions are part of the human experience. It is always said that you need to listen to your brain, but your heart is also important to listen to as well.

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    • Don't disagree whatsoever. I used a definition of "unemotional" which I think is practical towards human behavior -- that is, control. So I see it as impossible not to use the figurative "heart". The difference is that I'm trying to promote using *both* the heart and brain, so to speak, especially when the impulses are the strongest.

      For example, I don't consider my anger to be always useless. It can give me a bit of an adrenaline surge which could be useful in an unavoidable physical fight. However, if that anger turns to blind rage, then I'm no longer using rational thought whatsoever, in which case I will often make very poor decisions in a fight (rushing head-first, not stopping to think at all).

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    • I think maybe you mean being "less" emotional. :) Unemotional = no emotions at all haha. Semantics are very important!!

    • And I 100% agree with your second statement.

  • i appreciate this very much

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  • What do you want to promote exactly?

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  • I thought this was going to be really bad but it's really good advice actually. I think you confused people with the "unemotional" part at first though. Once I saw your definition of unemotional, I understood what you were trying to say but I don't think that is the actual definition of unemotional. I wish more people on here would have actually read your definition or listened to your advice instead of jumping to the conclusion that you meant being a stone cold robot because it was actually a good read.

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    • Thanks for the kind words. I actually felt like I made a blunder in trying to use "unemotional" this way. It was in response to ambiguities and dangers associated with encouraging people to be "more emotional/sensitive". I just finished a follow-up which might help clear things up a bit:

      www.girlsaskguys.com/.../a35238-discouraging-emotional-people

    • That's a lot better lol. It wasn't difficult to understand if you took the time to actually read the your definition and the rest of what you wrote though, it's still great advice and was definitely a good read. It's even better coming from a person who can speak from personal experience about it.

  • thank you !

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What Guys Said 14

  • It is an alpha male trait to remain calm, even cold, in the face of danger.
    Women scream and run away, or assume the foetal position and hope that the monster overlooks them.
    The purpose of men is to kill the monster. Historically, men who did not remain calm did not survive to pass on their genes.
    I will offer an example.
    I do some specialist security work, to make ends meet. This is fairly common for people who have military experience and are serious students of a martial art, of whom I am one.
    On Sunday night I had to say hello to a carload of five young men who were somewhere that they should not have been.
    This was an unarmed gig. It is extremely difficult for private security to carry firearms here in Australia.
    I spoke with them calmly, politely and sought to persuade them to leave with a minimum of fuss.
    As we spoke, they began to deploy around me, in the manner of a pack of dogs preparing to pounce upon prey. The pack alpha did most of the talking. His #2 offered a few words, but not many. The rest were silent.
    They were attempting to intimidate me, or perhaps positioning themselves for an attack.
    I remained calm, even cold, and my voice did not change. It is a cliche, but as a soldier I had killed better men than they would ever be.
    I maintained eye contact with their alpha, while using my peripheral vision to track the movements of the others.
    What they did not know was that, if they attacked, I had already planned who I was going to kill first, how I would do it, and the order in which I would kill the others. The alpha would be first, to be followed by his #2. If the three who remained alive at that point chose to continue to engage, rather than run away, the order had been determined by their size and apparent strength and fitness. The greater the perceived threat, the closer that they were to the top of the list.
    A cold and rational calculation of the most effective and efficient way to reduce the odds to a manageable situation was what was required.
    In such situations, fear and other emotions get people killed.

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    • What is this old man? Your time is almost up don't think your still Rambo your going to get your ass beat..

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    • I just hope you reach 65 for your pension with that shirt, it be a shame for all your tax money gone to feed some drop-dead beat whom are going to mob me when I get to about your age, and it wouldn't be the first either.

    • @FusionGuy
      If you were a fellow student of a martial art, you would know that I will be okay. :-)
      I train with people your age and younger. I cannot kick as high any more, but I flog most of them in dojo sparring and tournaments.
      The occasions when I have had to fight outside of the dojo. . . that I am able to write this response should tell you the outcome.
      Against five young punks who were untrained brawlers, it would be a massacre. The first two would be dead within five seconds, before they or the remaining three knew what was happening.

  • Honestly I didn't read the whole thing, and whether you believe emotions are good or bad largely depends on your definition (which yours some may disagree with). I just wanted to interject that many people (3% of any given population) are born with calloused unemotional traits. Namely psychopaths. I score pretty high on these factors and am not generally an emotional person, and when I am "emotional" it's wrapped in logic of that makes sense. For example I don't get mad or upset at little things unless they have larger implications and I draw out these complications logically. Like someone bailing on plans without telling me.

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    • Psychopathy is certainly not something I want to promote!

      I used a very counter-intuitive definition of "unemotional" in this article which boils down to "self-disciplined". It has to do with maintaining some level of control and discipline in our actions rather than giving into every impulse.

      It's to counter what they're teaching in some gender studies courses that traditional ideas of toxic masculinity, which included self-discipline, are "toxic". I wanted to make a case for why it's not necessarily "toxic", and actually a value both males and females could benefit from striving towards.

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    • Cheers. I'm not sure how large of a demographic this MyTake is applicable towards -- my hope was mostly that if there was anyone like me out then when young, confused about the true meaning of "mental strength", that this might help them overcome the same type of tendencies I had. Just embracing this mindset improved my entire life for the better.

    • Yeah I feel yeah man. Good luck

  • The key is timing. Bottling in emotions ALL the time is awful for one's emotional and spiritual health.

    Release that emotion in private if it is overwhelming. As a man we still, even today, have to give off an aura of strength and control to the world.

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    • Agreed. I wish I could improve the article and edit it since I've realized I've oversimplified things a bit. A lot of the target demographic I was aiming towards are those whose emotions often get the better of them, escalating conflicts instead of deescalating them. And the goal is not to become "unfeeling" in that case, but to avoid letting the emotions get the better of us, to directly determine a course of action with no strategic thought whatsoever.

    • ... it was also intended exclusively for keeping negative emotions in check -- the ones that often lead us to regrettable outcomes if acted upon impulsively.

    • I totally get what you mean! Controlling emotion = keeping the mind clear and logical in decision making instead of emotion override this

  • You are like my twin!!!

    I think the same way, however, I disagree with
    "
    Emotional: acting before thinking.
    Unemotional: thinking before acting."

    I think emotions are acting with little logic.

    Other than that, I agree. A more emotionally controlled person is better than not.

    One way I keep control is to inflict myself with positive emotions. Easiest way is exercise. Doing a light exercise shoots endorphins (happy chemicals) to the brain, increasing your defense to negative emotions.

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    • Cheers! I feel like the definitions I gave above were a tad oversimplified by the time I wrote them. I was trying to come up with the simplest definition possible, however, though at the cost of some accuracy.

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    • I understand.
      In your danger scenario, I think training is most important. The difference between the alive and the dead is training. Even soldiers get scared and they are there to FIGHT.

      So training on how to deal with emotionally compormising situations can be helpful too.
      Also, keeping the GOAL of the situation in mind works.

      For example, wife argues to me about garbage. The topic of garbage is irrelevant. The topic is why is she angry. After staying on point, even though the argument is going on a tangent, we get to the bottom of the problem and find it has nothing to do with garbage.

      All the while, I maybe upset as well.

    • That training is something I'm hoping to promote. I don't know if the conditioning is the same for everyone. In my case, whenever I was feeling something intense (typically anger), I learned to hit a "pause" button. I just learned to time out for a few seconds, and a few seconds was all I needed to think about the consequences and choose a better course of action than what I was tempted to do in the heat of the moment. That became my cure for anger and sometimes even sadness.

  • Nice take, although lately I've read a lot here on GaG about emotional etc.
    I wonder if I'm actually emotional or not (I don't wanna be; it's unmanly), because I feel happiness sometimes motivation, sadness, frustration, etc. Is that being emotional, or just normal for men?
    Is being happy, cheerful and positive bad as a guy?

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    • That's one thing I wish I clarified. I realized I somewhat bastardized the definition of "unemotional" here. It was somewhat in response to the gender studies idea of "toxic masculinity" which considers "unemotional" to be a horrible thing for men to have that oppresses both men and women alike.

      So that definition of "unemotional" I attempted was one that I consider most practical, and most in line with what men were traditionally taught (not to be "unfeeling", per se, but to control themselves).

      The way I'm defining "being emotional" is acting impulsively when you're feeling a strong emotion without logically thinking about the consequences whatsoever. If you're not doing that, I consider it working towards a practically attainable state of being "unemotional", which I consider a good thing.

      "Unemotional" in that sense is nowhere close to unfeeling. You feel exactly the same emotions. The difference is that you don't let them solely decide your actions.

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    • Wow very detailed response, thanks!
      Yeah I do feel emotions, and sometimes strongly aswell (I think), but it's not that I act upon them, like when I feel sadness I don't self abuse. I try to think of a way to improve it (not always succesful though).
      I'm not impulsive in any decisions, so I guess that makes me not too emotional according to that definition :P
      But also, sometimes I feel sorry for other people. It's probably unmanly talking about this lol, but anyway. I feel a lot of empathy. So when for example someone tries really hard and is a genuine good person and something doesn't work out well, I feel bad. Like sadness for them.
      What is that then? Also emotional in some sort of way?

    • I don't think so, as I think empathy is a fantastic quality that can really help to understand people's motivations and improve relationships. It also tends to lead towards compassion and a desire to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

      I think what gender studies considers toxic is thinking of a masculine stereotype like Rambo. I want to promote a different kind that isn't "toxic", which is more like Mr. Miyagi if I use pop culture references:

      https://i.imgur.com/wtsJQJV.jpg

      He is actually an extremely empathetic and compassionate person, and in no way that I consider "weak".

  • In face of danger an emotional person would protect you more than an unemotional one, furthermore we see in all kind of enviroments from animals to humans that we're all sentimental when comes to our dearest ones, furthermore it increase much more adrenaline, power and other senses then a person who lacks in emotions.

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    • Some of the dichotomy I established is a bit too black and white. I see it as grey. As an example though, a person capable of assessing the situation in a fight will typically have some upper hand in doing so, even if they're feeling intense anger, than one who is acting with blind rage.

    • Also my point was not "lacking in emotions" but merely to be able to control them, to not them overtake our behavior to the point where we feel no longer in great control of our own actions. I see it as generally impossible for someone to become a robot (nor beneficial even if it was possible).

  • Ironic that you put karate kid as an example for unemotionality.
    He's the bad guy! He literally doesn't understand the philosophy of karate, the non-aggression principle, but rather does it to take revenge. He was an asshole to blondy from the beginning and provoked everything. :D

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    • Daniel is a bad example -- but Mr. Miyagi is a pretty decent one of self-discipline.

    • Miyagi beat up Blondy and his friends who are not even in his league.
      I know the movie needs some action but it chose the wrong ad guy characters to portray karate philosophy.
      But maybe intentionally to make people think about who's the good/bad guy in a situation more deeply before acting out?

  • So basically, you're inventing a bunch of definitions out of thin air, using those definitions you yourself invented in a context of thought you yourself invented, and we have to believe you're objectively right?

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    • I regret that I didn't use a greater clarity as to the source of "unemotional". It's in response to gender studies notions of "patriarchy" and "toxic masculinity".

      The belief there is that classical forms of masculinity are toxic to men because, for example, they encourage men to be "unemotional". That's a misunderstanding of what men were classically taught (it wasn't to be unfeeling but to be self-disciplined and to exhibit emotional control).

      The screwy definitions are the result of working within the context of what is believed to be toxic about traditional male upbringings.

    • My ultimate goal is to "detoxify" some parts of what was considered traditionally masculine (stoicism, e. g.), and to try to suggest that it's dangerous to promote a society of emotionally uncontrolled/undisciplined people.

    • Discipline is one thing. Bottling up all your emotions and pretending you don't feel them is just plain stupid and unhealthy.
      Not feeling them is impossible.

  • Emotions serve a purpose, because they are what drives us. But it's the ability to control our emotions that sets us apart from animals. Great take.

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  • Wax-on, Wax-off. Paint up and down. Remember breathing!

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  • Sure. You're really describing the primary difference between men and women. :)
    And some guys. LOL

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  • Fo' sure.

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  • Im pretty unemotional myself and most of the time people call me lucky.

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  • I like this but it's true.

    "Women scream and run away, or assume the foetal position and hope that the monster overlooks them."

    Women tend to be the biggest barkers and puff out their chest when things are peaceful but turn into scared little girls in the fear of danger. Majority of women anyways.

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