Embrace all your Emotions

Look at the array of emotions in the diagram above. Try to locate the specific emotion that best represents the state of mind you are presently experiencing. Take a few deep breaths before you begin; this may help you to relax and to focus on the task at hand.

So let’s say that you are feeling a mild form of anger. Check the chart to see which terms fall under the category of this base emotion. You may discover that you are experiencing a more subtle form of anger such as annoyance or frustration. Then again it may be something altogether different from anger and more in the realm of let’s say sadness or even happiness. Nevertheless study the chart to determine which particular emotion has a hold on you in this present moment.

Assuming that you are not overly tired or in the thralls of worry or anticipation, this exercise will be relatively easy, but should you find yourself feeling overly anxious or distracted, like a fish in water you may not be able to comprehend what you’re breathing in; i.e. the emotion may be so overwhelming that you may not be able to decipher its name. In such an event it may be best to step away from this exercise and care for your basic needs before you resume.

Once you have located the predominant emotion that you are experiencing in this moment, try analysing it in the following way:

1) How intense is the emotion on a scale of 1 to 5.

2) What part of the body do you feel its presence or impact. For instance are the palms of your hands sweating or is your stomach churning with distress.

3) Sit with the emotion for a little while to see if another emotion should rise up and take its place. Try not to resist it but be fully accepting of its force.

4) If the emotion should remain with you for more than a few minutes then silently ask what it requires of you.

It could be that you simply require some rest or the nagging feeling might remind you to take care of financial matters. The emotion could also be stirring you to act upon a nasty habit that you have fostered over the years. Maybe the emotion will try to goad you into mindless activity so as to keep you numb from more pressing matters. Whatever emotion comes to mind just let it be for the time being without trying to intensify or extinguish it.

Expanding our vocabulary of emotions, and cultivating the practice of being at ease with them, can help us to embrace life all the more. Emotions are like indicators that remind us if we are diverting from that middle ground of equanimity. They can help to shed light on an issue and assist us with providing appropriate responses.

That is not to say that emotions in and of themselves provide concrete evidence into the truth of a situation. For instance we may feel jealous about our partner working late, therefore they must be having an affair, may not be a realistic way to interpret our emotion. Let’s face the music here; emotions don’t make something so, no matter how intense they may feel, and yet they do seem to ‘motion’ the sort of values we hold dearly.

Our manner of thinking can certainly distort or cause us to misread our emotions, and with dire consequence should we use a negatively charged emotion to prop up and underpin further erroneous ideas. The deeper we explore this subjective dimension of our inner-selves, the more we learn just how complex these emotions are rooted into our psychology. One might even find themselves wondering how enslaved they are to appeasing these emotional charges. These embedded impulses may have more to do with our orientation of the world than meets the eye.


About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.
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18 Responses to Embrace all your Emotions

  1. A brilliant tool and sound advice! Sometimes, we just don’t know how we feel so this can help us clearly identify which emotions we’re experiencing and at what intensity we’re experiencing them. Yes, let’s learn to embrace our emotions! Thanks for sharing Jason. Blessings always, Deborah.

    • Thanks again, Deborah, for the sobering thought. I believe the attached wheel of emotions can help expand our emotional vocabulary at the very least, if not help us become more aware of the states of mind that we shrink from. While frozen in emotion, sometimes, one conscious word can break the hold. Like a shadow on the wall, as soon as we know the name of the person who has cast it, we immediately become that much more flexible in response to the situation at hand.

  2. I couldn’t agree more! Thank you Jason for your insightful reply.

  3. It’s very interesting what you say, Jason. Knowing how to live with your own emotions is an arduous task, but very rewarding at the same time. However, there are some people who are unable to manage them because they don’t know how to do it or, perhaps, because they are afraid to face themselves.

  4. Andrew Tulloch says:

    I’m currently doing a short course in Stoicism and this would gel really well with that philosophy. Also a great tool for virtue ethics. Cheers 🙂

  5. I also find a treasure in the opposite emotion. A direction towards the centre of balance.

  6. Beautifully written, thanks for tye inspiration. ❤️

  7. Jason, what a great philosophical mind you have… not to mention your exceptional writing skills. Superb!

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