What is your relationship to your emotions?
I spent a lot of my life misunderstanding my emotions and literally being disconnected from them.
One emotion I struggled a lot with was anger. I tended to hold on to my anger. A number of years
ago, a therapist shared with me that anger turned inward is depression.
An extra note about anger. Anger is a surface emotion. The true emotion is hidden underneath
it. What I learned about anger is it is important to release it in a safe way. Writing about it can be
one way to do this. Then you want to connect to how you are feeling underneath the anger. You can
also explore when you first experienced the feeling underneath the anger.
For me, when I released the anger, I experienced tremendous sadness. Sadness that I had been
holding on to for many, many years. I had been avoiding feeling it for so long. When I let the
sadness happen, I felt so much weight being lifted.
It is okay to feel your emotions. Use this lesson to give yourself permission to allow them to
come forward and notice what happens. You can write more about your experience below.
JOURNAL ENTRY MID-1990S
Hello, my name is Aaron,
Anger is something I don’t feel too regularly,
It doesn’t seem to be in my nature,
For some reason tonight is my night to let loose,
The reason is obvious to me, but it is like a disease,
A disease I can’t cure and may not ever cure,
Who knows why, who knows what?
I’ve never been so pissed off in my life,
Is it the alcohol? Maybe?
Can I spell beer, maybe not!
The disease is taking me over and I don’t know what to do,
It is everywhere, I can’t stop it,
I can’t cure it at the moment,
Once again all I can do is ignore it and hope, just f&*in hope
it will go away. (I’m not religious, but I’ll pray anyway)
I need a CURE!!!
JOURNAL ENTRY FEBRUARY 20, 2000
I felt anger like I haven’t in a long time. Triggered by a little bull shit that I couldn’t handle.
I feel frustrated, mad, tense, all at the same time. I just want to release it by punching or
Mondays I always feel the same. I’m tired & don’t want anything or anyone to bother me. My
eyes feel heavy & my brain won’t focus on anything for too long. I feel like I’m up way earlier
than I should be.
JOURNAL ENTRY MAY 3, 2012
So, what am I so sad & angry about? Why has it built up in me for so long? What is the
worst case scenario if I continue avoiding these feelings? Career? Sickness? Unfulfilled life?
Disconnected relationships with others? Not living my passion? More pain? More fear? Less
Peace? It seems like there is a lot of downside to remain as is. So what good will come of
feeling this sadness/angry etc. and getting to the forefront of my awareness. Less weight?
Less burden? more love, joy & peace? Close to my family? Improved communication? A life
of passion? Being real? Being authentic? Loving me? Writing books to share my learnings?
Financial freedom? Spiritual awareness? A greater community of loving people? So a long list
of real & true benefits to going on this straight on. Look forward to it. I can do this. I can feel it.
I am ready. God, show me the way inward to peace, joy & love. I want in!
So what does this sadness & anger feel like? Where do I feel it? It is primarily in my stomach.
Typically feelings of tightness, nervousness, worry in the left side of my stomach. I also had
tightness in my chest which goes away when the area in my stomach is activated. It feels
at times like a baseball inside me. Very solid with some motion. It impacts my decisions. It tends to have diarrhea at times & I am constipated. Deep breathing seems to help the best to relieve the tension as well as cardio exercise. The mass if you will seems to believe it is needed to protect me. I had various bits of bad news in my past. Grandpa dying and our dog being given away. My stomach pain believes it is better to worry about possible scenarios to be prepared for bad things that happen.
Exercise for You
- Use this time to write about your relationship with your emotions. Which emotions do you access
- Which emotions do you tend to avoid?
- How connected do you feel to your emotions?
- How do your emotions impact your life?
- What can you do to connect to your emotions in a way that helps you continue to move toward
Exercise for Your Team or Group
- If the team is open to it, you can spend time having team members share their answers to the
above questions. The goal here is to bring the team closer together by allowing people to share their
experience with their emotions. How does this team or group respond when emotions are being
- Is it okay to express emotions in this team or group?
- If no, how come?
- If yes, how come?
- How can the open expression of emotions help the group move closer to its goal or intention?
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This blog post is from Lesson #23 from the book, “Engage, Connect, Grow – 52 lessons to guide individuals and corporate teams to the heart of what truly matters to them.”