Silver Linings: Exploring The Hidden Wisdom In Our Negative Emotions & Experiences
It’s unfortunate, and I really wish I wouldn’t have to say this, but I really like human beings who have suffered. They’re kinder.”
When you feel positive emotions like joy, laughter and ease, that's your Inner Being affirming that you're on the right path and direction toward achieving your desires and goals.
In contrast, negative emotions are signals that you've touched on a inner wound, or mistakenly made a detour from your desired path. That's your Inner Being's way of telling you that your current thoughts are not in harmony and alignment with your highest good.
Negative experiences are an inevitable part of life. We've all felt them at some point and while these emotions may not feel pleasant, they are far from our detriment. In fact, they can be incredibly helpful.
This blog will explore the silver lining of our negative emotions and experiences and shed light on the valuable lessons they can teach us.
"The most vital spiritual growth doesn't happen when you're meditating, journaling or doing yoga. It happens in the middle of conflict, when you're scared, insecure, angry and repeating the same old patterns -- and then you suddenly realize you have the choice to do it differently."
Luna & Sol
The Origins of Our Emotions
When experiencing emotional pain, view it as energy passing through your heart and consciousness, and instead of resisting or contracting, relax and stay open to the discomfort, allowing it to pass through, even though there may be resistance to this process, ultimately leading to deep growth and transformation.
Our emotions, and our corresponding emotional wounds and behaviors, can be unintentionally inherited from our parents, caretakers or family environment. They stem from unhealthy attachments or unresolved traumas.
Emotions are energy in motion. As such, they always need to be processed and released. They’re like little information energy packets and our bodies are the vessel they’re traveling through. Their FLOW releases the emotional contractions that are bottlenecked in our body.
Unhealthy emotional expressions manifest as behaviors such as...
verbal abuse or criticism
setting unrealistic standards
These are our cue to get back on track. You can realign and recalibrate by adjusting how you perceive the situation and shifting your focus and thoughts towards positivity and what you DO want, not what you don't.
For many, instead of learning healthy ways to express and process our emotions, we were shamed for it, taught to fear it, or ignore it. As you were growing up, if you didn’t experience “co-regulation” from your caregivers where through the mirroring of their behaviour you learned to make sense of your experience and the world around you, it’s likely that processing the emotions of today isn’t something that comes easy for you now.
With each emotional conflict, your body was bracing, tensing, and holding in, establishing a habitual pattern of suppression that eventually takes its toll on the body and results in chronic inflammation and other physical symptoms such as digestive issues, cardiovascular problems, sleep problems, appetite problems, and more.
If you’re feeling burnt out, sluggish, fatigued, brain fogged, wired but tired etc… your body is pretty much congested with years or decades of accumulated "emotional data" waiting to release.
This is all energy wanting to leave the body. Observe it and help it pass through you.
Our emotions can manifest in so many physical ways. Pain, numbness or tension in parts of the body are hidden metaphors for our unmet needs...
eyes- confusion, wanting clarity
lungs, back- stress, guilt, shame, wanting relief
jaw - anger,/frustration wanting to speak
ears - misunderstood, wanting to be heard
heart, stomach- sadness or fear, wanting love acceptance or joy
arms, hands - anger/frustration, wanting control
legs, feet- worry/fear, wanting stability, direction
"Emotions have to be experienced to be released."
Emotional Energy Frequencies
Emotions are energy, which can not be created or destroyed- only converted from one form or another. When emotions cause tension or stress it's asking you to vibrate higher so that the energy can MOVE or transmute into a different, higher form.
In Human Design, the "Not-Self" refers to a state of being that individuals experience when they are not living in alignment with their true nature and energy type. The Not-Self emotions for each of the four Energy Types in Human Design are:
Manifestors: Anger, Rage
Generators: Frustration, Irritation
Projectors: Bitterness, Resentment
It's essential for individuals to recognize when they are in their Not-Self state and take steps to return to their True Self theme (Satisfaction, Peace, Success, Surprise) for a more fulfilling and authentic life.
The 5 Elemental Emotions
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) incorporates the philosophy of the Five Elements or Five Phases as a fundamental framework for understanding the natural world, the human body, and even human emotions.
Emotions are considered an integral part of overall health in TCM, and the goal is not only to alleviate negative emotions but also to promote emotional well-being and balance within the context of the Five Elements framework.
When one or more of the elements becomes imbalanced, it can lead to physical and emotional disturbances.
Wood : Associated Emotion: Anger
Fire : Associated Emotion: Joy, Enthusiasm
Earth : Associated Emotion: Worry or Overthinking
Metal : Associated Emotion: Grief or Sadness
Water : Associated Emotion: Fear.
The goal of TCM is to restore balance and harmony among the elements. Techniques like acupuncture, herbal medicine, diet, and lifestyle adjustments can help address these imbalances.
"Negative emotion is feedback from your Inner Being."
The Benefits of Negative Emotions & Experiences
Despite how these feel in the moment, these sensations of discomfort and dissatisfaction can be wonderful for our personal growth.
PROVIDING CLARITY: By offering contrast (what you don't want), you can more easily discover what you do want.
INCREASING RESILIENCE: By forcing us out of our comfort zones, we learn to solve problems and become stronger, wiser individuals. We trust our capabilities.
BOOSTING EMPATHY: Through our own negative emotions and experiences we can better understand and empathize with others who are going through similar struggles, thus leading to more meaningful and compassionate relationships
MOTIVATING CHANGE: Negative emotions and experiences prompt us to set new goals, break bad habits, and strive for continuous personal development and self-improvement.
INSTIGATING INTROSPECTION: Negative emotions often force us to reflect on our thoughts, behaviors, and life choices. as well as question the root causes of our unhappiness
STIMULATING CREATIVITY: Adversity can stimulate innovation and creative new solutions and approaches.
CREATING BALANCE: Negative emotions can give us much-needed perspective in life, allowing us to have more gratitude, to be more present in the moment and to recognize our existing sources of health, harmony and happiness. They remind us to take life as it comes: to appreciate and cherish the good, easy chapters (ones with joy, compassion, connection) and to navigate the challenging ones with patience and grace. Through contrast we find more meaning. In essence, they help remind us to do the best we can with what we have been given at all times.
"An emotion is only an emotion. It’s just a small part of your whole being. You are much more than your emotion. An emotion comes, stays for a while, and goes away, just like a storm. If you’re aware of that, you won’t be afraid of your emotions."
Thich Nhat Hanh
It becomes unhealthy and problematic when emotions are stored in the body. When trapped emotions are released, we experience greater physical relief, mental clarity, reduced mental and physical stress, and the potential for better relationships, personal growth, and overall well-being,
Suffering, loss and pain are not feelings simply to be medicated or avoided but instead processed, absorbed and relished.
Emotions make us human. They are our evolutionary superpower. Our nervous systems have evolved to give us the ability to feel deeply they’re an ancient part of us, encoded into us physically.
"A hungry stomach, an empty wallet, and a broken heart can teach you the best lessons in life"
When someone we care about is flooded with emotions it is an opportunity to help them regulate through connection.
The human nervous system is designed for co-regulation which means that the people around can be calm and caring figures to help us get our feelings out and process our pain.
If no one did this for you growing up, you might have insecure responses to uncomfortable emotions.
“you’re fine, don’t cry” (avoidant)
“are you mad at me? Is this my fault? How can I fix this for you?” (anxious)
“what the hell is wrong with you?” (abusive)
Secure responses to other's emotions AND our own involve grounded presence and compassion:
1. CARING "I'm here. I feel your pain and it matters to me enough to stay"
2. CALM: "I got you. I am ok even if you are not, so I'll be able support you"
3. TRUST/SAFETY: "Let it out. I understand that you need to express your emotions and that it may look and feel uncomfortable"
"No Mud, No Lotus."
Thich Nhat Hanh
Finding Emotional Freedom
The word Emotion literally means ‘to move’. There is an inward movement of our emotions in the body. So when we are feeling big things, it’s just our energy trying to create space. It’s not always comfortable but there’s a reason we feel better once we let it out.
Let your emotions clear out to nurture yourself in the process. The holistic strategies outlined below can allow us to understand, process, and manage emotions in a constructive and beneficial way. These help to shift and propel emotions through the body through self-reflection, self-inquiry, self-validation and self-care.
Our emotions are all sacred and necessary. We must avoid "psychological bypassing", and embrace the full spectrum of human emotions.There is no such thing as a “bad” or “wrong” emotion.
Instead of pushing away your feelings, lovingly turn towards them and let them sink in. Anchor in your body and be with the emotion.
We are here to experience all of life, the good, the uncomfortable and ugly. When you attempt to "transcend" or turn away from discomfort you are abandoning yourself and repeating toxic cycles for your past that will only keep you trapped and stuck.
Bypassing looks like
In contrast, healthy processing looks like
The Transmutation Process
WITNESS | OBSERVE
ALLOW & ACCEPT
In our most difficult moments, it is our ability to understand how we feel and choose how we act that will define our success. Our power lies in the ability to CHOOSE our response to any situation, but first we must create the SPACE and opportunity to do so.
We must practice going into the darkness. We must connect with the painful parts of our heart, bringing unconditional love, surrender, patience, and gentleness in order to evolve.
"Feelings are for Feeling. Don't become the Emotion. Honor it, don't resist it. "
1. ACKNOWLEDGE & ACCEPT your negative emotional state
Experiencing negative emotions is a natural part of life. Accepting them doesn't mean you condone them, but it allows you to work through them constructively. Get in touch with the Belief that is causing your emotion, and own it.
Self-awareness about your physical responses to negative emotions helps you to know it is time to PAUSE so you do not react out of anger, fear, or loss. PAUSING allows you to catch up with your negative emotions before you react.
An awareness of your physical responses to negative emotions alerts you that it is time to assess your emotions. Common physical responses include
tightness in the chest
rapid heart rate
sinking feeling in the stomach
Next, we BREATHE through this discomfort. We have an intuitive understanding that our breath can calm our mind and emotions. Most of us have either told others or been told ourselves to "take a deep breath” when encountering difficult situations. Since our breathing happens automatically, many of us don’t give the breath as much attention as it deserves and have not learned to harness its full potential to calm our minds and emotions.
The reason breathing can change how you feel is that emotions and breathing are closely connected. Researcher Pierre Phillipot made two profound discoveries about the connection between breathing and emotions.
𝘠𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘉𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘔𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘤𝘴 𝘠𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘌𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴, and vice versa - When you are excited, you breathe quickly and in a shallow manner; when you are calm and relaxed, you draw in slow, deep breaths. We can change how we feel by using our breath. If you want to get worked up quickly, start taking in fast, shallow breaths; if you want to calm down, take in slow, deep ones.
When you sense a negative emotion ask yourself some questions, with curiosity, not judgement.
Where do you feel this in your body?
What is behind this feeling?
What is the lesson here?
What need do I have that is unmet?
What is lacking?
What is my relationship to this emotion?
How was this emotion modeled to me?
Research repeatedly shows those quickest to recover from distress are people who can identify how they are feeling and put those feelings into words. The simple act of LABELING your emotion helps your brain move it from the areas of your brain that are equipped to address physical threat to the more rational parts that serve you in problem solving, relationships, and creativity.
Remember the phrase, “Name it to tame it”. Labeling an emotion takes away its power over us allowing you to regain control. I
When experiencing discomfort, try to describe how you are feeling in the body. Using a visual graphic or chart like an Emotions Wheel or Emotional Guidance Scale can help you to get more specific about labeling those physical feelings with a name. You can journal it, or you can talk about it.
Then we can say something like "Even though I feel ___ right now, I am safe., I love myself and accept the situation. I hold space for this feeling and will let it go when I'm ready. We will get through this together"
Note: this is the best thing to say to someone else going through difficult emotions too!
When we take time to identify and label our feelings, it helps move it from the areas of our brain that are equipped to address physical threat to the more rational parts that serve us in problem solving, relationships, and creativity. Once we become less stressed and can think more clearly, thus making it easier to find constructive solutions.
2. ASPIRE & ADOPT a more positive emotional state
While it's okay to feel negative emotions, the key is not to dwell in that place.
Shift your thoughts towards the better, the positive. Pivot your attention towards that idea instead.
"What do I prefer to happen?"
"What new belief would I like to replace this old belief with?"
"What can I do right now that my future self would thank me for?"
Reach for whatever feelings, thoughts or activities that can help you feel better. The idea here is to work your way up the "emotional scale" by consciously choosing to align with higher vibrational emotions like joy, love, appreciation.
To do this, engage in self-care activities that boost your mood. See below for many ideas and inspiration!
Breathe it in. Embody it - mind, heart, body, and spirit. You don't need to "get rid of" the old belief. You only need to replace it with your preferred new belief.
3. ALLOW the situation to unfold
WU-WEI is a concept in Taoism that means "non-doing" or "effortless action." It suggests that we should act in a way that is natural and spontaneous, rather than forcing things to happen. This way we can conserve our energy and avoid unnecessary stress, which can help us overcome hardships more easily.
Embrace the natural flow of life. This means accepting that hardships and challenges are a natural part of the human experience, and that we can learn and grow from them.
Non-resistance means accepting and surrendering to the situation as it is, without trying to control or change it. By doing so, we can conserve our energy and avoid wasting it on things that we cannot control.
Understand that it may take time to shift your emotions and manifest the positive changes that you desire. Have patience and trust in its divine purpose.
Obstacles don't block the path. They are the path.
Your Tools & Environment
Caring for your emotions can look different for different people, but sometimes its the simplest thing, the most in-the-moment thing, that can help shift your emotional energy. Natural spaces in particular can provide a serene and peaceful backdrop for emotional processing through meditation, mindfulness, meaningful social connection, movement and more.
Remember, your HD Type can help prioritize where to start:
MANI GENS: Rest
SOLITUDE OR STILLNESS
Inner stillness is essential for success. By cultivating a calm and peaceful mind, we can gain clarity, focus, and insight, which can help us navigate difficult situations more effectively. Spending time alone allows you to disconnect from others, away from external distractions so that you can truly focus on your emotions. In quiet stillness, you can tune in to your emotions, engage in mindfulness practices and activities which promote relaxation and enable you to observe your emotions without judgment, allowing them to flow and find resolution naturally.
MEDITATION encourages you to be present with your emotions, helping you observe your thoughts and feelings without attachment, thus reducing their intensity.
MINDFUL PRESENCE, or "forest bathing", simply immersing yourself in the sounds, sights, and sensations of the world around you, can help you gain clarity and a sense of inner peace. By staying grounded in the present, we can avoid getting overwhelmed by the challenges we face and stay focused on finding solutions.
MINDFUL BREATHING techniques like belly breathing can calm the nervous system, reduce stress, and help you gain control over your emotional responses. Bring your attention to your abdomen and fully focus on your in- and out-breaths and the rising and falling of the abdomen. Stop thinking about whatever triggered the storm and just follow your breathing, focusing on the belly. After 5-15 minutes, the storm of emotion will pass and your mind will have reestablished its clarity and calm."
FORGIVENESS allows you to let go of the past and move forward with a sense of emotional freedom. Holding onto self-shame and blame can be emotionally draining. . Forgiving yourself and others is a powerful way to release negative emotions.
POSITIVE SELF-TALK can counteract negative self-perceptions, helping to validate your own emotions and self-worth.
GRATITUDE is a powerful practice that helps you focus on the positive aspects of life.
JOURNALING can help you return to your neutral state of calm awareness and diminish negative emotions. Writing in a journal allows you to explore your deepest thoughts and emotions, providing clarity and insight into the underlying causes of your feelings
AFFIRMATIONS can help reprogram your beliefs
VISUALIZATION can help you imagine a more pleasurable and positive future and thus raise your vibrational frequency.
PASSIVITY in the form of healthy distractions like listening to music, reading, watching movies or simply maintaining your daily routine
SELF-MASSAGE techniques where you caress, rub, squeeze. or hug yourself to regulate the nervous system
AUTHENTIC SELF-EXPRESSION by crying, screaming or punching into a pillow
"A strong emotion is like a storm that comes, stays a while, and passes. Everyone must learn to survive a storm...We are like a tree in a storm. The top branches of the tree may be blowing wildly in the wind, but the trunk and roots are stable and firm. Bring the mind down to our trunk, our abdomen, where it is calm and stable. We should not stay high up in the branches, where we are blown about."
Thich Nhat Hanh
COMMUNITY or CONNECTION
Sometimes negative emotions may be too overwhelming to process independently. Being open and vulnerable about your emotions with trusted individuals can be extremely therapeutic and healing. Feeling heard and supported helps sorting out your thoughts and helping you regain perspective and see the situation more positively.
SEEK COMFORT. Seeking empathy, external validation or verbal affirmation can provide emotional relief. Articulating your needs, feelings and requirements fosters understanding and can lead to satisfying resolutions
CHOOSE WISELY. Aim to surround yourself with positive, influential people who uplift and support you. Avoid or limit exposure to unsupportive people or even news or content that brings you down. Sharing your emotions with trusted friends or loved ones can build lasting, powerful human connection.
SOCIALIZATION, surrounding yourself with community, can help you feel loved and supported, especially if you partake in activities that bring you joy and comfort like dining, crafting or dancing
SUPPORT someone else. Channel your pain into something positive by volunteering your time, helping a stranger or a loved one
Remember that not everyone has the same emotional experiences. Alexithymia is when a person has difficulty identifying and expressing emotions in themselves, or identifying and responding to emotions in others, This impediment can be a common experience for Neurodivergent individuals who may have autism, ADHD or PTSD or other mental health conditions and of course can lead to difficulties in relationships. The best piece of advice is to simply COMMUNICATE what it is that you CAN. It's ok if you're feeling something, but can't name it yet. Awareness is the first step! And if you need something from someone else, don't assume they can read your mind.
CREATIVITY & MOVEMENT
Activities for your body and mind reduce stress, and promote emotional well-being. They can help you process emotions and stimulate a renewed sense of vitality.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES such as jogging, cycling, walking, boxing, yoga or tai chi can release endorphins, which are natural mood boosters, to help you manage stress and anxiety. Ecstatic dance or shaking is also wonderful for release.
HOLISTIC TOOLS like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can be highly effective in addressing and alleviating negative emotions and empowering individuals to take control of their emotional well-being By tapping on specific acupressure points on the body while focusing on the negative emotion, EFT can help release emotional tension, reduce stress, address underlying beliefs, alleviate physical symptoms, promote self-acceptance, and enhance emotional regulation.
HEALING TECHNIQUES like The Emotion Code use muscle testing and magnets to identify and release trapped emotions in the body, which are unresolved negative feelings and experiences.
.CREATIVE ACTIVITIES like cooking, baking, art, music, singing, or writing can be a therapeutic outlet for expressing yourself. One of the best ways of coping with and transforming emotional pain into something meaningful is to express it through creativity. Make any pain you can't get rid of your creative offering!
NATURE-BASED ACTIVITIES in the form of hiking, forest bathing, petting animals, observing wildlife
DOMESTIC ACTIVITIES like cleaning, decluttering, gardening or yard work can help you reset
“We are creatures who are born to transform pain into beauty. And our feelings of bittersweetness are some of the greatest gateways that we have to states of creativity, and connection and love. "
The Hidden Wisdom
In Buddhist & Taoist philosophy, life's difficulties and challenges are often viewed as opportunities for growth and spiritual development through our cycles of birth and rebirth. Thus individuals who face significant hardships and misfortunes are seen as "old souls" having the final chance to work through their karmic debts, complete energetic cycles, and accumulate the strength and wisdom of character that progresses them closer towards Enlightenment.
Reframing negative life events as tests of character can help encourage us to see adversity as an opportunity to expand our inner toolset and cultivate positive virtues such as patience, resilience, compassion, and forgiveness.
The goal is to shift from a mindset of victimhood to one of empowerment, recognizing that one's response to adversity can be a measure of character and spiritual progress. By embracing difficulties we can find meaning and purpose even in the face of life's challenges.
When it feels like we're moving backwards in life, stop and pause. FEEL it. DOn't judge or blame yourself. Don't desperately reach for solutions. Sometimes its best to just surrender. Know that this negative feeling and situation will pass.
It's the Alchemist's Law - the further you descend into darkness, the further you will later ascend into light. The path to that light is THROUGH the darkness, not out.
Remember, every life circumstance, challenge and obstacle ultimately makes us stronger, wiser and more capable of handling future adversities. We are always given exactly what we need to grow and learn, if only we stop resisting and can honor the hidden wisdom in every negative feeling or circumstance!
"Grief is not a problem to be solved, not a condition to be medicated, but a deep encounter with an essential experience of being human. "
Any situation that makes you feel
FRUSTRATION or ANNOYANCE is teaching you patience and unconditional love
ANGER or RESENTMENT occurs when expectations were not met, when boundaries are violated, is teaching you forgiveness and compassion, or showing you what you're passionate about, where your boundaries are, where its time to make a change
POWERLESS is teaching you how to take your power back/use your voice, OR how to let go and trust the process
FEAR is showing what we believe we cant afford to lose, teaching you the courage to overcome your fear, asking you to adapt, improve and build resilience
BITTERNESS or RESENTFUL is showing you where your boundaries were violated, where you need to heal and forgive, where you're holding judgements for self or others, where you're living in the past
DISCOMFORT or DEPRESSION is showing you hidden anger, where you have the opportunity to change or break a pattern
DISAPPOINTMENT or GRIEF is showing you what was lost, as well as the hidden the depth of your heart, your energy/effort and your care for the world around you
GUILT or SHAME is showing where you are out of alignment with integrity, where you're lacking permission to be authentic you that you may be living according to other people's expectations and need to accept your authentic truths, actions and behaviors, that you may be letting others define you, where you're internalizing other people's opinions or beliefs of who you should be and that you need to reconnect with yourself
ANXIETY, WORRY or DEPRESSION s teaching where you are trying to find control, you may have conflicted core beliefs, asking to wake up to the present and to stop thinking about the past or future, to listen to your needs,
ABANDONMENT or REJECTION is teaching you to be more independent and have trust and patience, as it is often a redirection or a protection.
JEALOUSY or ENVY is teaching what we unconsciously feel entitled to, qualities we have denied in ourselves
LONELINESS is teaching us when we crave connection
DOUBT is showing us where we've been hurt or disappointed before and trying to protect us.
“Don't look for peace. Don't look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. Anything you accept fully will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.“
Wrapping it Up
Negative emotions are not a problem to be solved, rather an essential part of the human experience that shouldn't be rushed or denied; Negative emotions and experiences are not roadblocks in our journey but rather stepping stones towards our personal growth and improvement.
Our emotions are only problematic when the necessary conditions for processing them, such as support and time, are lacking, reflecting society's discomfort with disorder. Let's reframe Negative Feelings into something else entirely. They're not bad, or less than. They're simply
Unwanted, Unwelcome, Undesirable
More Distressing or Displeasing
They're all normal!
The next time you face adversity, remember that there is a silver lining, and it's guiding you towards a stronger, wiser, and more compassionate you. Embrace the lessons hidden within life's challenges, for they are the keys to your personal evolution.
When things fall apart, when doors close, when relationships end - be grateful! It means something better is on its way soon. Every negative situation might actually be a blessing in disguise...
guiding you to something more aligned
opening the door to new connections
teaching you how to love and honor your needs
reminding you that if it's for you it won't pass you by
Remember, life is turning out better than you can imagine, even as we go through its ups and downs.
Even when things appear to go wrong for you, they are actually going right, in some subtle way. Pay attention to the daily signals of your emotions; they are your guideposts on the journey to your greatest expansion and evolution.
Ready to create harmony and balance? Take the first step towards emotional well-being and unlock your true potential with the incredible tools of Feng Shui and Human Design. Embark on a transformative journey towards a happier, more balanced life by scheduling a consultation today.
Erin is a certified feng shui consultant, energy healer, wellness coach and holistic growth strategist.
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