When we trust that our emotions will move through us, we can feel the full expression of each emotion and begin to use them as a compass.

The Power of Emotions, by Ester HIcksSo your emotions are overwhelming you? What do you do? I can’t tell you how many people not only refuse to feel their emotions, but deny that they exist at all. It’s really quite fascinating, especially since I do it as well. Anger and frustration, anxiety and fear all feel incredibly uncomfortable, so why feel them? I mean really, why would we intentionally feel such uncomfortable emotions? Self-torture, pity party – really, do I want to do this? Nope, I’ll just shove it down, take a deep breath and pretend that the person who just insulted me is a kind and generous person who means well. Ok, that’s one option. The high road is always an option, but really that comment made me feel completely awful. I’m not saying you should vomit your anger or frustration on the person. I am saying that you can vent your feelings without doing damage to the person who insulted you or your relationship.


But first we have to acknowledge that the person hurt us and that we are feeling some pretty powerful emotions. What we can do, first and foremost, is admit to ourselves what we feel. “I am so hurt”, “I am really, really angry,” “I am so frustrated I could scream.” We are allowed to feel our emotions, not that we were ever taught that. Boys were taught not to cry, girls to behave all in an effort to keep those nasty feelings at bay and out of our environments. No one wants to deal with strong emotions, they are just too uncomfortable. So tamp them down and pretend they don’t exist. Great strategy, but old school. Denying our emotions and shoving them below ground usually results in sickness, disease and pain.

So what options do we really have to deal with our emotions, since scratching someone’s eyes out is not the best way to keep our job?


Feel them. What!? Why? Because our emotions work like the indicator light on our car, they show us where things are not functioning properly or as a road sign pointing us in the right direction.

“Emotions are absolute indicators”  – Ester Hicks as Abraham

Learning to use your emotions as a guiding principle takes a bit of time to develop and put in place but truly, it is the best tool we have. Emotions provide the “bursts of happiness” and the “fissures of excitement” that lead us in the direction of our new fulfilling life. The restlessness tells us that something is changing and we best pay attention. Anger tells us that something is very wrong and needs to be addressed. While inner conflict tells us that we are torn between the “shoulds” and what we truly want to do OR what we want to do and fear we can’t. Fear acts as a block which can pull us back in time, paralyze us or galvanize us to move forward. Both anger and fear can be harnessed, channeled and used as a motivating force propelling us forward.

Developing your own emotional dictionary is key to understanding yourself at the deepest level. But so many of us bury our emotions or try to outrun them by staying busy, over-scheduled and distracted. Then we wonder why this visceral anger erupts when someone cuts us off or a wave of tears pour from our eyes at a hallmark commercial.

Being in tune with your emotions and allowing yourself to feel them may be uncomfortable at first, but like anything we can get used to it.

Once we truly understand how to use them we will welcome our emotions like a friend who has come to chat.

By creating your own dictionary of emotions you will learn which emotions show up and why. For some anger means “I’m not being heard,” for others it comes when they are feeling controlled and for many anger heralds the feeling “I’m being taken advantage of again”. Anxiety has many voices. It screams “I’m not safe” or “I’m going to fail at this.” At times it runs below surface triggering the obsessive worry that “I’m going to disappoint someone.” Noticing the connection between events and your thoughts and feelings will help you to understand what your emotions are telling you about your life.


What many don’t realize is that emotions flow through us when acknowledged and felt, but remain blocked and stuck when we shut them down. Most people are afraid to truly sit in their emotions because they fear they will get stuck there and never come out. Many are afraid that once they let the tears flow the torrent will never stop. But the truth is: once felt, emotions move on like any storm. Emotions build slowly and become intense at their peak. It’s here, at the peak of the emotional state, that we have the opportunity to make a decision. “Do I let these feelings be felt or do I shut them down?” If we shut them down, they become more intense and can last for days, weeks, even years. If you choose to feel them in the moment, the intensity lessens and you are emptied of the feelings.

When we trust that our emotions will move through us, we can feel the full expression of each emotion and begin to use them as a compass.

But if we shut them down and refuse to feel them, they become the driving force in all our encounters placing us squarely at their mercy. As soon as our emotions are acknowledged, felt and then released, our minds become clear and we can make choices and decisions objectively.

Can you hear the voice of your emotions? What is each one trying to tell you?