The magical relationship between anger and forgiveness

Anger is essential to true forgiveness I wrote this piece in my book The Language of Emotions back in 2010, but I return to it a lot. So much of what we’re told about forgiveness teaches us to avoid the powerful emotions that arise when we’ve been wounded or betrayed. But these powerful emotions are crucial to our ability to realize what happened, feel it, and … Read More

Understanding and befriending anger

We’ve been told that anger needs to be controlled or suppressed, and that it’s a negative emotion, but 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 … 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

The difference between deep empathy and niceness

When people think of empathy, they tend to see it as a soft skill — as a yielding and pleasing kind of behavior. They think: If you listen to me and agree with me and make me feel good, that’s empathy. If you fix my problems and soothe everything, that’s empathy. Empathy equals niceness. But there’s actually a deeper form of empathy that transcends mere niceness … Read More

Is it a Feeling or is it an Emotion?

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 … Read More

Hatred and Shadow Work

In preparing to talk about hatred, we’ve looked at the shadow, which is the part of us that is suppressed, disowned, or dishonored. The Jungian tradition of  shadow work shows us how to retrieve material that has been forced (or has fallen) into the shadow. If we don’t know how to work with it, our shadow material can become quite toxic.  We can even create entire … Read More

The Shadow Knows

In the 1930s, there was an excellent radio show called The Shadow that enchanted millions of people, my father included. The Shadow was a serialized detective show, and each week, the announcer would ask in a deep baritone voice: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!“ In 1937, the young Orson Wells lent his voice to the radio show and … Read More

What’s so funny ’bout “negative” emotions?

Last week, I spoke at two bookstores here in California. During one Q&A, someone asked me about the ideas a current spiritual teacher has about emotions. This teacher says that emotions are the body’s responses to thoughts. I blurted out “Oh, he’s full of sh!t.” Out loud. I experienced a complete failure of my internal monologue system. Oh shiiiite! You could hear a pin drop, and … Read More

Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!

Are you dealing with Passive-Aggressives? These people fall through on their promises and responsibilities and then blame everyone and everything but themselves. They also have the charming tendency to blame you or bring up grievances when you call them on their non-performance. What is going on with these people? Passive Aggression was once seen as a mental illness or personality disorder, but further research showed that … Read More

Skills You Can’t Get Any Other Way

Hello Again! I’m doing lots of interviews about The Language of Emotions, and people are consistently asking me what makes my work different. First, of course, is that I don’t see emotions as problems to be eradicated. Instead, I listen to the emotions to discover what they’re for, what they want, and what they do. And in the early days, I did that with what I … Read More

1 2 3