Creating our emotional vocabulary

The more I talk to people about emotions, the more I realize how paltry our emotional vocabulary tends to be.  This is a problem, because descriptive words help us understand ourselves and the world around us. If we don’t have enough names for our emotions, it’s hard to get a handle on what we’re feeling when an emotion arises.

I’ve been looking at the work of cognitive psychologist who are finding that having a more precise vocabulary (for instance, having specific names for light blues and dark blues, as Russian speakers do) tends to make people quicker at identifying subtle differences.  We’ve all seen that having a larger vocabulary makes us more articulate and more able to express nuance and subtlety; what is interesting is that a large vocabulary also helps your brain identify things more quickly.

This can be immensely helpful where emotion are concerned! The sooner you know what you’re feeling, the quicker you can take effective emotional action. So I’m putting together an emotions list, starting with four easy emotions: anger, fear, happiness, and sadness. I’m also organizing them into three nuanced categories: Lite, Mood State, and Intense.

Let’s Start With Anger

Photo of angry puppy

Most of us know anger only in its mood state, and I’d say this is due to the idea that anger is only negative, and is therefore something to be avoided at all costs. This enforced avoidance and resulting ignorance is not a very good idea, because anger helps you set boundaries, protect your sense of self, and take your place in the world. Anger helps you protect your position, your voice, your standpoint, and your individuality.  If you don’t have enough anger, you’ll tend to give up your position and your sense of self, but if you have too much anger, you’ll continually offend against the rights of others.

Anger is also concerned with justice; not only for yourself, but for others. Your anger can be evoked when you see someone being stripped of their sense of self, their rights, or their position. Anger is a very social emotion; if you can understand its nuances and subtleties, you can function more intelligently in your social world.

In the book, I separate anger into the categories of Anger, Rage, Fury, Hatred, Contempt, Disgust, Resentment, Boredom, and Apathy.  In this list, these categories are reorganized under the master category of Anger.

Soft Anger

Annoyed ~ Frustrated ~ Cross ~ Apathetic ~ Peeved ~ Irritated ~ Cranky ~ Bored ~ Impatient ~ Critical ~ Cold ~ Displeased ~ Rankled ~ Detached ~ Indifferent

Anger in its Mood State

Angry ~ Exasperated ~ Mad ~ Offended ~ Antagonized ~ Bristling ~ Sarcastic ~ Aggravated ~ Arrogant ~ Indignant ~ Inflamed ~ Affronted ~ Resentful

Intense Anger

Hostile ~ Aggressive ~ Livid ~ Enraged ~ Furious ~ Belligerent ~ Disgusted ~ Appalled ~ Bitter ~ Ranting ~ Raving ~ Contemptuous ~ Hateful ~ Vengeful ~ Violent

When you know you’re feeling anger, you can make intelligent emotional decisions about what to do with it. In the book, I suggest that you ask the internal questions when your boundaries and self-image (or anyone else’s) are threatened: What must be protected? and What must be restored? Anger brings you a lot of energy, forcefulness, and focus. Asking the internal questions will help you channel that intensity into healthy action.

A reminder: constant anger — even the soft form — can be a sign of depression, especially in men. If nearly everything in your life evokes impatience, annoyance, irritation, anger, crankiness, indignation, sarcasm, and so forth, it’s time to check in with your doctor or therapist. Your friends and family will thank you!

Good Words for Fear

Photo of frightened kitten trying to look big and scary

Because fear is our intuition — it’s the emotion that tells us when change is occurring, when we need to orient to something in our environment, and when we need to take action to avoid harm or injury, it’s really important to understand fear in all its forms.

In the book, I separate fear into Fear, Anxiety, Worry, Panic, Terror, and Confusion. In this list, my categories are reorganized under the master category of Fear.

Remember that fear requires that you check in and figure out what you’re being alerted to. Asking the internal question for fear: What action should be taken? (What should I do?) will help you identify and work with your fear in useful ways.  If you can work with your fear, you can understand when it is healthy and appropriate, and when it is repetitive and unhelpful to you.

Soft Fear

Alert ~ Hesitant ~ Pensive ~ Watchful ~ Cautious ~ Curious ~ Leery ~ Uneasy ~ Doubtful ~ Confused ~ Apprehensive ~ Shy ~ Concerned ~ Disquieted ~ Timid ~ Edgy ~ Fidgety ~ Disconcerted ~ Insecure ~ Indecisive

Fear in its Mood State

Fearful ~ Afraid ~ Suspicious ~ Startled~ Unnerved ~ Anxious ~ Nervous ~ Worried ~ Alarmed ~ Shaky ~ Perturbed ~ Aversive ~ Wary ~ Distrustful ~ Rattled ~ Unsettled

Intense Fear

Terrorized ~ Shocked ~ Panicked ~ Filled with Dread ~ Horrified ~ Phobic ~ Petrified ~ Paralyzed

If you experience repetitive fears, worries, or anxieties that don’t track reliably to actual dangers — and don’t respond to any actions you can take, it’s important to reach out to your doctor or therapist. Fear is a lifesaving emotion that primes your brain, your muscles, and your adrenal glands for action. If your fear is stuck in a feedback loop, you may become overwhelmed and exhausted by the activation it causes — which will activate more fear and eventually knock you into disarray. It’s important to be able to calm your body so that you can get back into a workable relationship with your fear. Fear has an irreplaceable job to do;  it’s important to be able to work with your fear in healthy ways.

Tracking Happiness Through Your Life

Photo of happy dog

Happiness is a lovely rest stop and a lovely emotion, but it’s not the only emotion you need.  Each of your emotions has a specific purpose and a specific place in your life.  One of the biggest tricks to learn with happiness is to let it come and go — and to not treat it as better or more important than your other emotions. Every emotion has its place.

If you treat happiness as your go-to emotion, you’ll suffer unnecessarily when your other emotions arise. You need anger, fear, sadness, jealousy, envy, guilt, grief, shame, and even depression (etc.) at times. If all you know and all you want is happiness, you’ll tend to avoid, ignore, suppress, or mistreat your other emotions, and then guess what?  You won’t be happy very often.

What I notice in working appropriately with the supposedly “negative” emotions is that when we do it right, we often feel happy, contented, or pleased afterward. It is as if happiness arises to tell us, “Good dog! You’re getting the hang of emotions now, aren’t you?”

In the book, I separate happiness into three categories: Happiness, Contentment, and Joy. In this list, we’ll reorganize them, just as we did with Anger and Fear, above.

Soft Happiness

Smiling ~ Upbeat ~ Peaceful ~ Calm ~ Amused ~ Open ~ Friendly ~ Encouraged ~ Hopeful

Happiness in its Mood State

Happy ~ Content ~ Optimistic ~ Cheerful ~ Joyful ~ Satisfied ~ Lively ~ Delighted ~ Rejuvenated ~ Pleased ~ Gratified ~ Gleeful

Intense Happiness

Elated ~ Exhilarated ~ Manic ~ Giddy ~ Euphoric ~ Awe-filled ~ Blissful ~ Enthralled ~ Rapturous ~ Jubilant ~ Ecstatic

In the area of intense happiness, I included mania to remind us that there can be difficulty in the area of happiness. Intense euphoric experiences are excellent and fleeting, and they can change your entire outlook on life. However, they tend not to mesh well with activities that lead to your everyday happiness and security, such as attending to your relationships, working toward difficult goals, and paying the bills. Intense euphoric happiness is excellent in its place, but part of its beauty is that it is (or should be) comparatively rare.

Looking at Sadness

Photo of sad bunny

Sadness is the wonderful emotion that helps you let go of things that aren’t working anyway. Most of us avoid sadness as if it is the thing that created the loss in the first place.  It isn’t.  In its healthy sate, sadness is evoked by the fact that you need to let go of something.  Listening to sadness can help you let go of things that don’t work so that you can make room for things that do.

The internal questions to ask for sadness are: What must be released? and What must be rejuvenated? Remember to ask both questions; sadness is not just about loss. Sadness clears away things that don’t work so that you can make changes in your life and make room for things that do work for you.

Let’s organize some vocabulary to help you welcome the gifts sadness brings you. In the book, I separate sadness into Sadness, Despair, Despondence, Grief, and Depression. These categories are reorganized here under the general category of Sadness.

Soft Sadness

Regretful ~ Disconnected ~ Distracted ~ Low ~ Listless ~ Wistful

Sadness in its Mood State

Sad ~ World-weary ~ Down ~ Melancholy ~ Mournful ~ Weepy ~ Grieving ~ Gloomy ~ Dejected ~ Downtrodden ~ Heavy-hearted ~ Forlorn ~ Sorrowful ~ Dispirited ~ Discouraged

Intense Sadness

Despairing ~ Bleak ~ Despondent ~ Depressed ~ Anguished ~ Inconsolable ~ Grief-stricken ~ Hopeless ~ Heartbroken ~ Morose

If you’re in intense sadness, or if your mood-state sadness is continuous and repetitive (and doesn’t respond to a good cry), it’s important to check in with your doctor or therapist. Sadness has a powerful physical component that drops you downward; it can interfere with sleep, eating, and your hormonal regulation — which then leads to more sadness and more dysregulation. Just as it is with any other emotion, sadness shouldn’t hang around forever. It should do its job and move onward. If it doesn’t, and you’re in a constant sadness feedback loop, please seek help.

Note for the grieving: Though grief is different from sadness, I’m including it here for ease of categorization. However, it is quite normal (and healthy) for grief to last a much longer time than simple sadness. This is because grief arises not merely when you need to let something go —  grief arises when you have no choice about letting go, and you’re losing something over which you have no control. Grieving is a slow and languid process that takes its own time. If you’re grieving, re-read the grief chapter in the book, or contact your local hospice agency for free grief support. In both of these places, you’ll find support for your grieving process instead of constantly being told to cheer up. Grieving is really important — it’s not the opposite of happiness — and it takes its own time.

What would you add?

Fellow emotion-having primates and empaths, would you please comment about any words that don’t make sense to you, and add any words that should be on these lists? I thank you!  I’m putting together a master list that I’ll make available as a PDF once we’re done.

I’m also working on lists like these for the emotions Jealousy, Envy, Guilt, Shame, and Suicidal Urges. I’ll post these in the next week or so and ask again for your ideas and opinions.

Thank you!

39 Responses

  1. Joan
    | Reply

    Love it, my first perusal says, great idea, I like the levels of intensity. Words are right on, as always, I am in awe of your insight and clarity of emotions. I want to sit with this and re read and ponder, because every read feeds me. As always, thanks, Joan

  2. Leo
    | Reply

    Is schadenfreude an emotion?

    Or how about its Catholic cousin ‘morose delectation’?

    And on a different note there’s the Buddhist term ‘mudita’ which is taking pleasure in others’ happiness (i.e. sympathetic joy).

    • Karla
      | Reply

      I love morose delectation! I want some for sad dessert!

      My German friends call schadenfreude an emotion. But maybe it’s an additive emotional tendency or something like that? I think we had some comments a while back where we tried to translate schadenfreude into English. How’s Savage Glee? Retributive Happiness? Hah!

  3. Nancy
    | Reply

    Thanks so much for putting this together. I find this very helpful when needing to talk about emotions.

  4. Gina Vance
    | Reply

    You are awesome! Love you! Love your work! I am an ambassador of it you know, which is even easier now with the enhanced book!

    After a quick and cursory look at what you’ve started here, I’ll say, in my work with folks, “frustrated” is code for the anger they believe it’s not okay to “have” or “be”…


  5. Katrina
    | Reply

    “The Eskimo has fifty-two names for snow because it is important to them; there ought to be as many for love.” — Margaret Atwood

    Now, it’s been heavily debated just how literally true this is (regarding how many words the Inuit have for snow) … but the idea behind this quotation has been haunting me lately … and what you wrote here has only intensified it: “… having a larger vocabulary makes us more articulate and more able to express nuance and subtlety ….”

    I’ve been a writer since I was a little kid, so finding exactly the right word to describe something is important to me. For example, to me, “joy” is different from “happiness.” Happiness is fleeting … but joy is deeper, more closely related to fulfillment, satisfaction, and contentment.

    But love — that’s a word that’s so overused … and yet, in my own vocabulary, it’s a word that I prefer to reserve for what I truly love — not just what I like.

    And yet … there are so many nuances and subtleties within love for me. I can say “I love my dog,” “I love my mother,” “I love my best friend” … and those are three entirely different kinds of love, in my mind. I wish I had words that would convey the nuances and subtleties of each of those kinds of love … but I don’t.

    Anyway … I wanted to suggest another word for the fear category: cautious.

    And here’s one for the anger category: livid. That was my word of choice this summer when someone did something that absolutely set me off: one actor’s ego could have gotten a lot of people injured, because doing his own thing was more important than following safety rules.

    Thinking of anger as a protective emotion has helped me to befriend my anger and to appreciate it. I’m also much more comfortable with fear and sadness (I tend to use the word “sorrow”), thanks to “The Language of Emotions.” As I’ve said before — it’s helped me as an actor … and as a human being.

    • Karla
      | Reply

      Oh, excellent emotion words!!!

      I updated the post to include frustration in the lite anger category — thanks Gina!

      And Katrina, good actors have to understand the hellz out of emotions, so thanks for chiming in! I added your livid in intense anger, cautious in lite fear, and sorrowful in sadness. Agree?

      Are there any words that are too obscure or jarring in their categories?


      O, Katrina, I totally agree about happiness and joy — they’re separated in the book, but for this list, they needed to get smooshed into a category.

      • Karla
        | Reply

        Oh! I just watched Project Runway and heard Tim Gunn use the word pensive. Nice! I updated the lite fear category to include it.

  6. Leo
    | Reply

    Project Runway, huh? And hear I thought I wasted the whole evening watching Black Books. 😀

  7. Christina
    | Reply

    This list is really spot on!
    I work with children, helping them to identify, label and work with their emotions. I too have compiled a list of emotional states that children have used to express themselves through out the years. Some children use metaphors such as … Exploding Volcano, (feeling a surge of anger), Sleeping Volcano (feeling angry, but dare not show it), Mountain (feeling angry and strong but listening to the message anger has to give), Weeping Tree (for feeling sadness)… The list goes on. In my experience when a child can visualise their feelings it helps them to work with them.
    Karla, your work is so valuable, thank you!

    • Karla
      | Reply

      Thanks everybody! Cool ideas. A volcano of cool ideas!

      Hurt is an excellent one, and it does have a great number of emotions in it. But as I try it on and feel it, I’m voting for hurt as a function of shame (which I’ll be posting next week). Agree? Disagree?

      Judy Yuko – I’ve never heard tizzed! I think you made it up in Brazilian. Ecstatic is great, and I’m adding it in. But frazzled, hmm. That might be a local word that changes meaning depending on where you grew up or something, because when I’m frazzled, I’m getting ready to have a tizz. Frazzled is anger lite for me.

      Hah Jessika – I was thinking of adding pissed off, snarky, and shitty (as the adj. form of shitfit) in anger, but slang changes too quickly.

      How about wigged and heebie jeebies in fear? Hah!

      Oh — and feel these words: Stressed and tense. For me, they’ve got anger and fear in them. Sort of anger covering up for the real feeling, which is fear. Agree? Disagree?

  8. Jessika
    | Reply

    Now, those are some pissed off cats 😉
    That’s what I have to offer the debate at this point 😉

  9. JY
    | Reply

    How about “tizzed” in anger lite, “frazzled” in mood state fear, and “ecstatic” in intense happiness?

  10. Joan
    | Reply

    What about feeling “hurt” as in an emotional sting when someone says something or responds rudely or with sarcasm, or in a severe case it might be disrespect, as in the silence that says, “I don’t care what you want or have to say”. Not sure what to call it, but it hurts all over and turns into sadness, that doesn’t seem to get resolved.

  11. Katrina
    | Reply

    “Hurt” feels to me like a mix of anger and sadness, maybe even some fear (depending on the level of relationship I have with the other person).

    As you’ve said in your book, Karla, emotions don’t come to us singly; often, one incident brings several at once. I think “hurt” may qualify as one of those that isn’t just one emotion; it’s several.

    And Joan, I definitely know what you mean about feeling hurt by what someone has said or the way someone treats you. There’s someone in my life that I have to deal with regularly; I can sense that she has a number of insecurities, and I know that’s why she behaves the way she does. But the way she treats me still hurts — it’s like she’s trying to “cut me down to size” with her words and her attitude.

    I think she feels intimidated because I try to be a fully authentic human being — who’s not afraid to be human (imperfect, fallible, not knowing everything, not having all the answer). I suspect she is afraid to let herself be imperfect or not have all the answers … and being around someone who is willing to be “human” scares her.

    But that doesn’t make it hurt any less when she treats me badly. Ow.

  12. Christina Colombo
    | Reply

    I’ll think on the vocabulary building, but wanted to make a quick comment that your emphasis in your early work on art as expression led me to direct a sort of artificial synthesia with clients – – once we find a feeling then: How does it sound? taste? smell? What’s the body. It’s been helpful.

  13. alyssa
    | Reply

    Such a leap of communication when one can pinpoint on a mood and emotion, using direct language. I shall study this, with your Language of Emotions.
    I’m just starting to understand boundaries these last few months, and my understanding of how I should value myself has really pulled an upswing because of this new reflection on how to reflect and distinguish what my emotions are telling me. I can constantly strive for this beautiful mind display of of emotions, reaching into my mind bucket and honoring thyself.

    What an important discovery Karla, I am truly excited to be able to figure out who I am listening to my emotions.. and really most importantly emotionally.

  14. JY
    | Reply

    Google defines “tizzed” as a “state of worried confusion”? Just sounds Brazilian, kind of slangy…

    How about feeling “timid,” “insecure,” “skeptical”= anger & fear?, “paralyzed,” and “grief-stricken”?

    How about feeling “gratified” and “gleeful”?

    “Morose” is great, and “hurt” is important. People use “hurt” to mean A LOT (an acceptable way to describe feelings of shame & anger)…

  15. Renee Benmeleh
    | Reply

    hi Karla,

    I appreciate that you have asked folks for input-great!

    I really like that you put the word “shy” under a fear category because contrary to popular belief, I have never felt that fear was a state of the personality. I believe shyness has a streak (sometimes strong sometimes lite) of fear in it.

    I would add the word “Paralyzed” under intense fear. Although I suppose that is a state we can enter when intensely afraid. Your thoughts?



  16. JY
    | Reply

    How about “intimidated” in anger lite?

    And if the Germans offer “schadenfreude,” the Buddhists offer “mudita” meaning pleasure in the joy of others and “popa,” joy in meeting a difficult challenge that stretches us to our limit.

  17. Rick Williams
    | Reply

    I love “Savage Glee”! Very appropriate in my experience.

    Have you considered sublists for shame/guilt, jealousy/envy, and apathy/boredom?

    Also, for anyone interested, a list, or two, actually, of healthy/honorable ways of using anger and unhealthy/destructive ways of reacting to it seems like a really cool idea to me.

    Lastly I’d like to leave a message of sincere thanks to you and your work, Karla. Your book showed me the tools I needed to begin restoring things in my life that I’d completely forgotten about. Thank you so much.

    • Karla
      | Reply

      Wow – great ideas appeared while Tino and I were out at the ALS walk in Monterey. Yay fellow empaths!

      Over on my Facebook page, we’ve thrown stressed and tense out because they can mean anything. I’m now calling them masking words for emotions. They’re a shorthand for fear, anger, hurt, sadness you don’t want to face, embarrassment, fatigue, physical pain, disappointment — yeesh!

      I think stressed and tense are sort of the anti-vocabulary for emotions.

      Okay, I added some excellent words: paralyzed in intense fear, gratified and gleeful in happiness, insecure in lite fear, morose and grief-stricken in intense sadness.

      Questions: I’ve got shy in lite fear. Is timid also necessary? They feel like the same word to me. Agree/disagree?

      Judy, when I feel intimidated, I’m either in fear or shame. I’m not feeling angry. Is that the word you meant?

      Oh, and Rick, I’ll be posting the lists for shame, guilt, jealousy, envy, and the suicidal urge after this one is finished. Thanks!

  18. Katrina
    | Reply

    “Shy” and “timid” are two different words to me.

    “Timid,” I think, can appear anywhere — a timid swimmer who’s afraid to swim in the deep end; a timid equestrian who’s afraid to canter; a timid dancer who’s afraid to extend herself fully.

    To me, “shy” is only applicable in social situations. A person may be shy about meeting new people or shy about standing up in front of people and speaking or shy about showing off creative work.

    “Shy,” to me, is always social; “timid” is not.

    • Karla
      | Reply

      Thanks Katrina, your advocacy for timid got it a place in the list. Hah! it’s like Emotional Idol!

      I’ve heard people refer to a shy bladder, or a bladder that doesn’t like to pee very much, and certainly not in front of others!

  19. Katrina
    | Reply

    Richard, what a great metaphor! Yes … emotions are often like music — layers that blend or clash.

    This especially intrigues me because I often use musical metaphors to describe how other people’s “energy” affects me. I’ve said to my friends that it’s as if every person I meet is playing his/her own song. Some people’s songs harmonize with mine; some do not.

    I described this to an acquaintance about six months ago: “It’s like I’m playing ‘Moonlight Sonata,’ and someone else is playing ‘Flight of the Bumblebee.'”

    “What’s ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’?” said the person I was talking to.

    Oy. So much for that metaphor! I told the same anecdote to my acting coach — and he burst out laughing. He got the “Flight of the Bumblebee” reference immediately. That made me feel better.

  20. Katrina
    | Reply

    Karla, when you do a list for shame, are you going to categorize words by “healthy shame” and … what do I want to call this? “Projected shame”? As in when other people make us feel bad through what they say to us or about us or how they treat us.

    I think of “healthy shame” as a message that comes from within: “I did something I shouldn’t have” (or didn’t do something I should have). I think of “projected shame” as messages coming from other people: “You’re a bad person. Who you are is unacceptable.”

    Healthy shame, for me, acknowledges my actions … but does not shame me as a person. Projected shame says that who I am is unacceptable, not just what I did.

    “Intimidated” and “hurt” are words that I would always associate with an interaction with another person. I’m not likely to say I feel “intimidated” or “hurt” by my own healthy shame … but someone else projecting shame onto me may make me feel “intimidated” or “hurt.”

    • Karla
      | Reply

      Hi Katrina, that’s a good question. As I was writing the lists, I kept trying to insert the gifts each emotions bring, such as boundary-setting for anger, instinct for fear, relaxation for sadness, etc. But then I thought, “No one knows them as that unless they’ve read the book, and it will be confusing.” So I’ve created these lists with the words people know — for instance, in anger, there is almost nothing positive.

      So the idea of healthy shame … the feelings/sensations I have when my shame is trying to stop me from doing some harebrained thing are hesitation, flushing, reflection, and reconsideration (those are the ones I can think of right now [I didn’t know there’d be a test!!]). I would put those in Lite Shame/Guilt (with others, I’m sure). How does that feel?


  21. Richard A Marti Jr
    | Reply

    The emotional states I struggle most in articulating are the bitter sweet times when you feel a blending of emotions. One example is when a child goes off to college and one might feel a sense of excitement with a sense of loss. As human beings we so want to classify and individualize, yet sometime emotions are more like musical chords. Layered and rich. We don’t seem to have a vocabulary that accurately represents those chords. Perhaps that is why art and music are such deep resonating emotional communication forms.

    • Karla
      | Reply

      Richard, great comment. Yes, most emotions work together. Something that makes me roll my eyes is when people say: “What you’re really feeling is …” as if certain emotions are counterfeit because they tend to arise before, after, or with this or that emotion. Anger is a favorite whipping boy.

      And yes, when I do talks about the book, I focus on art and music as empathic communication devices that we don’t totally identify as such. People are called “artistic” and “musical,” but not emotionally gifted or empathically aware, though that’s exactly what they are.

      The same is true for people who are good with animals and babies; you’ve got to be a good emotional communicator and receiver, but we don’t identify these traits as such. We’re such a funny, emotionally-aware-but-totally-unaware-of-it kind of species.

  22. Richard A Marti Jr
    | Reply

    Yes Katrina, I can relate to your metaphor. I am working on strengthening my boundaries in crowds so that I can determine which energies to allow in. It is much easier for me when I am on the stage acting or public speaking. That “fourth wall” is a tremendous help.
    Karla, That is one of those times that I strongly reinforce my boundaries. When someone denigrates my feelings. I had not thought about why we are so drawn to artists,musicians, story tellers and other creators. It really is that they communicate to us and the world those emotional chords.Thank you for that insight.

  23. JY
    | Reply

    Wow, what great ruminations!

    “Intimidated” and “hurt” are definitely social words, and I agree, I’m in fear or shame with both.

    I think you should put “savage glee” in parenthesis next to “schadenfreude” for translation/language building purposes!

    And chords is definitely the way of emotions…

  24. Leo
    | Reply

    How about Eureka! or A-Ha! moment? Joy of figuring things out?

    (not to be confused with the a-ha moment which involves the Norwegian synthpop trio and time travel)

  25. Renee Benmeleh
    | Reply

    Agree that shy and timid are similar enough to omit one.


  26. Joan
    | Reply

    I’m trying on Hurt in the Shame group and it’s not working for me. It’s coming in as perhaps anger for myself, for taking it, perhaps a reflection from the person or situation that dealt it. In which case it says I need some boundaries. I tried it out this week and for lack of a better word, it worked. I am strengthened by the practice. Thanks, Karla.

    • Karla
      | Reply

      Thanks Joan. I’m also thinking that hurt isn’t right there — it may go in anger? When I think of hurt, I feel a sort of red-faced sucking in of breath — a bit of shock and unpleasant surprise that someone would offend against me. Some fear, for not seeing it coming. Maybe also some shame for not seeing it coming, but I think you’re right that it’s more about anger. It’s obviously a mixed emotion!

      Anyone else have an idea about hurt?

  27. Katrina
    | Reply

    When I started thinking about “hurt,” the word “wounded” came to mind … and then I realized, “hurt” and “wounded” both mean that my self — my internal self, my non-physical self — has been wounded.

    What do you do when you’ve been physically hurt? You take care of the injury; you try to avoid repeating the situation that caused the injury; you become protective of the injured part until it heals.

    Being “hurt” or “wounded” emotionally feels like that to me. I’m sad because someone or something made me feel not good, not acceptable, not okay as a human being. I’m angry and self-protective because boundaries were crossed. I’m fearful because I don’t want to get hurt again.

    So I don’t think that “hurt” or “wounded” fits neatly into any one category … they’re a “chord” of emotions that happen when your internal self has been wounded.

    How does that sound?

    • Karla
      | Reply

      Thanks Katrina! The consensus here and on the Facebook page is that hurt is a mixed emotion that doesn’t belong in a specific category. Okay, it’s gone!

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