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Emotions as Guides

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Emotions as Guides

Though regular readers of this blog may have caught onto this already, the premise of The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings are Trying to Tell You is that all of your emotions exist for specific and protective reasons. Emotions are an irreplaceable aspect of your intelligence and your capacity to understand the world, and you feel emotions because they have something to tell you. If you learn what messages your emotions are trying to give you, you’ll be able to work with them in excellent new ways.

So far, we’ve looked at the gifts of anger, sadness, fear, and contentment. Every emotion has a purpose and is necessary to your well-being, but some of them are difficult to manage. However, if you can learn to listen closely to your emotions, you can access some of the most important aspects of your innate intelligence. Unfortunately, most of us have learned only two ways to deal with emotions: Expression and Repression (which don’t really work in all cases).

Take expression: Some emotions are good to express. Happiness and contentment are two that come to mind. Sadness is also nice to express (if it’s safe to cry). Depression can be good to express instead of bottle up. But think about rage, jealousy, hatred, or shame. You want to be able to feel these emotions (because they have a valid purpose in your psyche), but if you express them, you can hurt yourself or other people.

Expressing difficult emotions can be very problematic, as we all know. Current neurological and psychological research is showing us that constantly expressing strong emotions tends to essentially wear a pathway into your brain. If you let loose with rage or anxiety, your brain will learn how to rage and be anxious; therefore, the next time you meet a possibly enraging or anxiety-producing situation, your brain may move to rage or anxiety simply because you taught it to. The plasticity of your brain doesn’t just apply to learning new skills or new languages; it also applies to learning how to manage your emotions.

People tend to repress difficult emotions, which is a good idea if they don’t have any other skills. However, since all emotions carry truly important messages, repressing them means you won’t get those messages or learn those lessons; instead, you’ll just become less able to work with the emotions you repress. If you can envision your emotions moving forward to bring you messages and give you help, you can see that repression just shoves that help under the rug. In the case of strong emotions like rage or hatred, yes, repression is better than expression. But since rage and hatred have something very important to say to you, repressing them will actually impede your ability to understand yourself.

Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Karla McLaren

Though Karla McLaren created her empathic approach to emotions to help people heal from trauma, she ended up discovering how emotions help us think, decide, and relate to each other brilliantly. Her newest book and audio learning set, "The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You", teaches you how to use your natural empathy and discover the gifts and messages inside every emotion you have. Karla and her husband Tino live in Santa Cruz, California.

53 comments

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8:29AM PST on Dec 2, 2011

Thank you. Yes, it makes sense to work with your emotions rather than fall prey to them - but it's not always so easy to remember this when you're in the thick of it!

3:04AM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

thank you for this interesting article

4:32AM PDT on Aug 4, 2010

Far too often, we tend to dismiss our feelings as worth less than what appears to be fact. I believe that intuition was given to us, to help preserve our lives. After all, before language was developed, man had to use all of his senses to avoid impending danger. Otherwise, he might not have survived. Intuition often tells us much more than our eyesight does. I think it is best to always take into account what our feelings are trying to communicate to us.

9:25PM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

Thanks so much.

7:33AM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

Great article. :)

11:31AM PDT on Aug 2, 2010

very interesting article. thank you

8:30AM PDT on Aug 2, 2010

Good Info

8:14AM PDT on Aug 2, 2010

interesting article

4:55AM PDT on Aug 2, 2010

Somehow the phrase "I feel...." comes to mind. In this over-amped, aggressive, sensationalized world it seems the best way to stay in touch with self is to stay in touch with your emotions, and express them honestly, humbly, and softly.

1:13AM PDT on Aug 2, 2010

thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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