You know how, once you’ve noticed something, like a new book, a car you want to buy, or have just purchased, a song you like that you’ve never heard before…that you start seeing that particular thing all over the place? It’s because you’ve put your attention there. I attended a fun class with one of my martial arts teachers, Koré Grate, this past week, at the fabulous Hand To Hand Self Defense Center, and she spoke of intention and perception. “Perception changes everything:the ‘Qi’ follows the mind.” This is often an enormously difficult lesson to learn, even though it really very simple. I practice learning this everyday. Below is another great posting from Care2. ~ JB
How would you feel if you had instant access to clear intuition, healthy boundaries, positive self-esteem, and the ability to focus, ground, and revitalize yourself effortlessly? And what would your relationships be like if you understood yourself and other people well enough to communicate even difficult messages with empathy and clarity?
And what would you say if I told you that all of these skills and abilities come directly from your emotions?
The Genius Inside Your Emotions
All of the skills and abilities you need to create a wonderful life and functioning relationships are waiting inside you. They’re your emotions, and if you learn their language, you’ll have all the energy, intelligence, intuition, empathy, integrity, and strength of character you need to create a healthy life for yourself, your loved ones, your colleagues, and the world.
Of course, this goes against much of the training we’ve had about emotions! For instance, many of us have heard that emotions are negative and irrational. We’ve heard that we need to distance ourselves from emotions and observe them impassively. We’ve heard people say “Stop being emotional!” And we’ve all heard that emotions such as anger, depression, and fear can only hurt us.
And I’m telling you, we’ve heard wrong. Which is sad, because this misinformation is stopping us from living our lives well and fully. Here’s why: Great poets and artists have always drawn inspiration from the emotions, but now, neuroscience is showing us that our emotions are a vital part of our intelligence and our capacity to make good decisions and relate to each other skillfully. In this blog, we’ll explore the science and the poetry of emotions.
Welcoming Empathy: Your Natural Emotional Genius
I’m an empath, which means that I’m aware that I read emotions. Luckily, you’re an empath, too. Empathy is a natural human behavior, and it’s present in primates and other animals. Empathy gives us the ability to understand ourselves and the social world; it’s a vital form of intelligence. Empathy helps us read body language, gestures, undercurrents, and nuance, and it helps us hear the words that aren’t spoken. Empathy helps us understand the subtle art of relationships, such as when to confront people and when to leave them be. It also helps us know who our friends are, and who can be trusted.
In my work, I focus my empathy not just on people and animals, but on the emotions themselves. By listening to and studying the emotions empathically, I’ve been able to understand what emotions do, what messages they bring, and what they have to teach us. In my new book The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You, I share these empathic skills to help you access the gifts your emotions bring you.
For instance, we’ve all learned that anger is a “negative” emotion that creates trouble the world over. Sadly, that’s only true when you work with your anger inappropriately, because anger is the emotion that helps you set boundaries, create a strong self-image, and take your rightful place in your relationships and the world. When you can work with your anger empathically, you can use its gifts and skills to create a healthy and stable persona.
If you ignore or repress your anger, you’ll have a heck of a time setting boundaries, standing your ground, speaking up for yourself, and understanding your needs. However, if you go the other way and express your anger all over the place, your boundaries will be harsh and intimidating. Instead of taking your rightful place in the world, you’ll stomp on the rights of everyone around you (we’ve all known people who were so pushy that we gave up our position or our point of view just to avoid their tiresome bullying).
So the empathic approach to anger is not to transcend it, nor suppress it, nor express it all over people. Instead, the empathic approach helps you turn toward anger (and all of your emotions) and discover the gifts and the skills it brings you. That’s genius!
I look forward to sharing the genius of emotions with you in this excellent Care2 community. See you next Saturday!