1- Emotions are a language worth paying attention to. For instance:
Fear says: “Your physical safety is at risk. Get going and save your butt!”
Sadness says: “This thing is not working. Fix it or ditch it!”
Anger says: “Your boundaries have been breached, and this is not fair. Do some justice!”
2- Many factors can get you emotional, it’s never one thing. It’s much more effective to look at those factors that you can do something about than explaining off your emotional states to external forces that you can’t control. Focusing only on such external forces – “I’m sad because of the planetary alignment and cosmic energies” makes you feel helpless. Listening to your emotions with kindness and curiosity will bring you useful insights and often body-felt shifts and releases, which empowers you.
As a general rule, it’s more empowering to focus on factors that you can influence and actually do something about!
3- Emotions are information worth paying attention to. They happen in the body – YOUR BODY, not the body of a book’s author. Use embodied methods like Focusing and Vipassana to feel your emotions and learn from them.
4- Shadow is what happens when you ignore, suppress or repress emotions, and they turn dark on you, meaning you still have them, but you don’t know that you do, and they get a life of their own and make you say and do things that aren’t helpful. The unconscious attributing of your own emotion or trait upon another human, animal or event is called “projection” – when someone projects a disowned aspect of their own self upon another. Projections cause pain and conflict in relationships.
5- A great deal of relational pain is resolved when projections are owned and Shadow elements are integrated. I have helped many clients overcome anger towards family members and friends by leading them through specific steps of Shadow work.
6- Emotions need to be listened to, owned and expressed kindly – all emotions, without exception!
7- There is a difference between acting an emotion out and expressing it. For example, acting out anger could do harm, as it is violent – physically or verbally (punching another, yelling at another). But anger can be expressed through movement, breathing, journaling, dancing, singing etc – in a conscious, embodied, and kind way.