Yes, you can befriend your shame

Shame is probably the most deeply misunderstood emotion there is, and considering how poor our emotional education has been, that saying a lot! Most people try to avoid shame, but shame is one of the most crucial, vital, and helpful emotions you have. Shame’s job is to help you live up to the agreements you’ve made and the morals you value. Shame is irreplaceable, but because … Read More

Understanding and befriending anger

Welcoming all of your emotions! Anger can be the most honorable emotion you have, if you know what it is, why it appears, and how to work with it. All of your emotions bring you specific gifts and skills, and we’ll look at all of your emotions — one by one — in terms of how each one works, why it arises, and which actions you … Read More

Learning to embrace your anxiety. Really!

Hello and welcome to 2020! 2019 was a hell of a year here in the United States (and in the world), and I’m looking forward to things becoming more stable and functional. We’ll have to work together to make the needed changes, and luckily, we have an emotion whose genius can help us envision, plan, and work toward a healthy future: it’s anxiety! Really! Learning how … Read More

Critical thinking skills for your emotions

What did you learn about emotions? Most of us grew up hearing very negative things about emotions, such as: “Big boys don’t cry. There’s nothing to be afraid of! You shouldn’t feel angry! Boredom means you have no imagination! Envy is a sin!” And so on. Instead of being taught helpful things about our emotions, most of us were just shamed about them. Most of us … Read More

Deep emotions and the racist bones

When Joe Biden, a powerful, wealthy, white man who wants to preside over a country built on the backs of enslaved people, said “There’s not a racist bone in my body,” I thought so much about the strangely dislocated and disembodied nature of racism here in the United States. I’ve come to see racism as a haunted, unwanted, and unclaimed entity that has no home and … Read More

Building Empathy and Equity

A retreat intensive with Karla McLaren and Jonathan McRay Friday, August 23rd to Sunday, August 25th in Harrisonburg, Virginia Emotional healing for racial justice Talking about or confronting racism and inequality can bring up powerful emotions like shame, rage, panic, grief, and despair. And since most of us don’t know how to work with even one of these emotions, it’s not surprising that this emotional cascade … Read More

The Positive Benefits of Swearing … Really!

Personal confession: I love to swear. I developed my freaking excellent swearing habit when I worked as a radio newscaster. On the air, I and everyone at the station had to have perfect manners, perfect diction, and perfect timing while we ran our engineering boards, cued up tapes and CDs, and monitored the clocks. We absolutely could not swear while we were on the air (the … Read More

Is it empathy or projection? Ten ways to know.

Can you read the emotions of others, or are you simply projecting your own emotions? The answer to this question isn’t simple, but there are ways to tell the difference, and ways to develop your empathic abilities and accuracy so that you’re not simply projecting your own emotional state at others. Ten possibilities to explore Sometimes, people will tell you that an emotion you sensed isn’t … Read More

Quiz: How to Know If You’re an Empath

Hello! After studying empathy and emotions for four decades, I’ve developed a very simple and accurate way to tell if you’re an empath. Are you ready to find out? Karla McLaren’s Amazingly Accurate Quiz for Empaths Question 1: Are you breathing? Yes/No (choose one) Yes? You’re an empath. No? Take a breath and start over at Question 1. (spoiler alert) Congratulations! You’re an empath! That’s a … Read More

Learning to Value Your Anger

How does anger work? In my work with emotions, I identify what’s happening when people feel specific emotions. For instance, when we say we’re angry, what is occurring? What are the situations that call forth an anger response and how does the anger address what’s happening? How does anger support or impede us, and what is anger’s purpose? Over the decades, I’ve asked that question of … Read More

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