The Myth of Negative Emotions

posted in: Emotions | 26

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 … Read More

Embracing guilt and shame

posted in: Emotions | 17

Befriending all of your emotions! In my post on befriending your anger, I re-framed anger as a necessary emotion that supports you in developing and maintaining your healthy self image. This week, let’s look at the emotion that I call anger’s friend or partner: shame. I envision healthy anger as the sentry that calmly walks the perimeter of your self-image and watches out for any challenges … Read More

A new option for working with your emotions!

posted in: Emotions | 27

The Wonderful World of Emotional Choice! As we enter into an empathic study of emotions, I’m starting out by focusing on four ideas that are widely shared, completely accepted — and absolutely problematic. These four commonly accepted ideas actually prevent you from being able to approach your emotions — or anyone else’s — intelligently. They are: The problem with valencing (imagining that there are positive or … Read More

Emotions are Action-Requiring Neurological Programs, revisited

posted in: Emotions | 18

When I wrote The Language of Emotions, I had not yet found a concise definition of emotions anywhere, so I sort of tap-danced around the issue and dove into my own empathic view of emotions as unique messengers that carry specific gifts. But I read a wonderful book last year that presented the perfect definition: emotions are action-requiring neurological programs — and I relied upon this … Read More

Shame: The excruciating, exquisite, and indispensable emotion

posted in: Emotions | 42

Last week, two shocking events occurred: the Norwegian killing rampage undertaken by Anders Breivik, and the death of singer Amy Winehouse. As it is online, many people, armed only with unexamined opinions and a keyboard, lined up to diagnose Anders as mentally ill. Others are certain that Amy died of an overdose, though no evidence of that has been found (her toxicology inquest will resume in … Read More

Emotions: Action-requiring neurological programs

posted in: Emotions | 12

I just read Antonio Damasio’s book, Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain. It’s a good, though quite involved read, in which Damasio is laying out some theories of consciousness, based on his work as a neuroscientist. How does a brain create a mind? How does the mind create a self? What are the connections between wakefulness, consciousness, mind, and self? Can you be awake but … Read More

Critical thinking skills for your emotions

posted in: Emotions | 34

When I go out to speak about The Language of Emotions, I often have the audience call out the things they’ve learned about emotions. I start off by saying “Big girls don’t cry, There’s nothing to be afraid of, You should be ashamed of yourself …” and then the audience adds their own versions of the messages we all get as other people attempt to manage … Read More

The emotion lists!

posted in: Emotions | 18

Hey!  Thanks for all your help!  We’ve got some excellent and articulated emotion lists to help us become fluent in the language of emotions. Let’s take a look at our updated emotion lists now that we’ve discussed them and organized the categories. In this post, I’ll give you the vocabulary lists without any of the explanations or caveats we had in the original posts (post 1, … Read More

Even more emotional vocabulary!

posted in: Emotions | 13

Thank you so much, commenters and Facebook pals! We did a great job with our first four emotions, and now I’d appreciate your help with the emotions Shame & Guilt, Jealousy & Envy, and the Suicidal Urge. Jealousy & Envy are especially difficult, because they’ve been mashed together in our language as if they’re the same emotion! We’ll start with a social emotion that has a … Read More

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

posted in: Emotions | 42

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

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