Tag Archive for "featured"

The Myth of Negative Emotions

The Myth of Negative Emotions is of course related to The Myth of Positive Emotions In my work with emotions, I focus on the intelligence, gifts, and skills that every emotion brings to you. I don’t leave any emotions out, and I don’t treat any emotion as better or worse than any other. This unified and ecological approach to emotions treats all emotions as vital, irreplaceable aspects of your neurology, your cognition, your social skills, and your awareness. I’ve discovered over the last four decades of study, research, and practice that emotions are central to everything we do, everything we think, everything we learn, and everything we are. Emotions evolved over millions of years to help us become socially successful primates, and every single one of them is vital to our functioning. We can’t leave any of them out if we want to live whole lives with all of our (Read more...)

How to Be a Privilege Traitor

There is a tremendous amount of structural injustice and inequality occurring, and when a structure is unjust, it’s important that people learn how to think structurally in order to change the system. The concept of privilege can really help with that thinking, unless … I’ve been noticing a lot of anguish and conflict occurring in my online communities about the word privilege. White privilege, male privilege, elite privilege, and more … these things are finally being talked about openly, and thank goodness! But there has been a lot of backlash, because people are mistakenly thinking that their privilege is somehow intentional or should be shame-inducing. No. Just no. Privilege in this context doesn’t mean that you’ve got it made and you’re actively denying basic necessities to everyone. Privilege is a sociological term that helps us talk about structural inequality. You don’t have privilege intentionally, and you don’t earn it; you’re (Read more...)

The difference between empathy and enmeshment

Hello fellow empathic people! Did you know that there’s a distinct difference between healthy empathy and enmeshment? I’ve spent a lifetime exploring how empathy works, how it goes awry, how we can understand it more clearly, and how we can create a ground for self-care and self-empathy within our everyday lives. I’ve also been looking at an idea about empathy that goes something like this: Empathy means that you agree with me, that you support me, that you feel my emotions alongside me, and that you meet my needs, even if I don’t articulate them. When you do that, we’re empathizing and you’re empathic. Really?

Is it a Feeling or is it an Emotion? Revisited!

We’ve all seen it. Something is said or written, and someone will go off. I mean off. Rage, hatred, or both at once.  A fight starts, and maybe these intense emotions get handled between two people, or maybe they don’t (online interactions specialize in the maybe they don’t category). So the raging people invite allies to share (and justify) their intense emotions, and a flame war starts. If this blowup isn’t dealt with, the behavior goes unchecked, and people learn that it’s okay to allow their emotions to explode. Moderate people may try to address the emotional issues, but once alliances are formed and people share their emotions in groups, the blowups start to look justified, and not like emotional decisions at all … they become incontrovertible facts, and emotional awareness is lost. In my book, I call intense emotions like rage and hatred (and panic and the suicide urge) (Read more...)

Empaths on the Autism Spectrum, part 1

Can I do this job? In early 2006, I got a job working as an academic liaison for a group of 22 college-aged students on the Autism Spectrum. My job was to help the students with all of their academic needs: scheduling, counseling, learning accommodations, tutoring, social services, transportation … I was hired to create a total support system under and around the students so that they could successfully attend college. Before the job started, however, I had some serious research to do. I’ve worked with and tutored physically disabled and learning disabled people for most of my life, but I had almost no experience with  autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. I knew a little bit (Rainman, sigh), but not enough to be able to truly help. So I got every book on autism and Asperger’s Syndrome at the public library and every book at the community college library, and I (Read more...)

How much emotion is too much? (revisited!)

When I talk about The Language of Emotions, one of the central ideas I try to get across is that all emotions are useful. If you can approach them with care and ask them the right questions, there aren’t any “bad” emotions. Every emotion has a specific function, and all of them are important and instructive. Some very intense emotions (such as hatred and panic), which I call the “raging rapids” emotions, need to be handled with care, but in most normal cases, you can understand and work with your emotions on your own. However, there are times when you’ll need assistance with your emotions. The way to know when you need help is simple: When your emotions repeat continually and do not resolve, or when they overwhelm you or the people in your life, it’s time to find out what’s going on. When things are going well, all of (Read more...)