The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You

The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You

by Karla McLaren


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The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You by Karla McLaren

Your emotions contain brilliant information. When you learn to welcome them as your allies, they can reveal creative solutions to any situation. For 35 years, empathic counselor and researcher Karla McLaren has developed a set of practical tools for the real-world stresses of family, career, and the quest for personal fulfillment. In The Language of Emotions, she presents her breakthrough teachings for a new and empowering relationship with your feeling states.

Your emotions—especially the dark and dishonored ones—hold a tremendous amount of energy. We’ve all seen what happens when we repress or blindly express them. However, there is a powerful alternative. In The Language of Emotions, you’ll learn to meet your emotions and engage with them to safely move toward resolution and equilibrium. Through experiential exercises covering a full spectrum of feelings from anger, fear, and shame to jealousy, grief, joy, and more, you will discover how to work with your own and others’ emotions with fluency and expertise.

When we relate to our emotions with respect and authenticity, we can directly access our innermost wisdom, unfold the deepest parts of ourselves, and heal our most painful wounds. The Language of Emotions gives us a much-needed resource for self-understanding and freedom:

  • How to overcome addictions, distractions, and unresolved trauma—the three primary impediments to emotional ease
  • Using the energy of anger to protect and restore personal boundaries
    • Step-by-step guidance in the five skills of the empath (someone skilled in reading emotions)
    • How to balance your “quaternity,” a metaphor for the interplay of mind, body, spirit, and emotions
    • Honoring sadness as a source of release and rejuvenation
Joy, the natural response to beauty and communion
“In my graduate education in counseling psychology, I found very little information about our emotions.  Yet in my work as a therapist and educator, I’ve seen that emotions are key to healing.  Karla McLaren’s book offers an outstanding guide to the signals and messages emotions send us, along with clear instructions for intelligent and emotion-supporting actions we can take in response.  Karla has made a huge contribution to the well-being of us all; The Language of Emotions will become required reading in all of my courses.”—Nancy —Feehan, MFT, adjunct professor of counseling psychology at the University of San Francisco
“Karla McLaren’s unique, empathic view of emotions surprisingly revalues even the most ‘negative’ emotions and opens pathways to understanding the depths of the human soul.”
—Michael Meade, author of The World Behind the World and The Water of Life
“This book changed the way I relate to others, and to myself, forever.”
—Gavin De Becker, author of The Gift of Fear

Table of Contents
Part I:  Restoring Your Native Language
  1. Introduction- Creating a Conscious Life
  2. My Empathic Journey- The Difficult Beginnings of Empathy
  3. Troubled Waters – How We Got So Confused
  4. It Takes a Village – Surrounding Your Emotions With Support
  5. Reviving Your Essential Nature – Making Room for Your Central Self
  6. Avoidance, Addiction, and Awakening—Understanding the Need for Distractions
  7. Unintentional Shamans—The Role of Trauma in Soul-Making and Culture-Binding
  8. The Role of Emotions in the Resolution of Trauma—Water Will Carry You Home
  9. The Steadfast Promise – Why Love is Not an Emotion
  10. Building Your Raft—The Five Empathic Skills
PART II :  Embracing Your Emotions
  1. Wading Into the Water – Awakening All of Your Emotions
  2. Anger:  Protection and Restoration—Includes Rage, Fury, and the Healing of Trauma
  3. Apathy and Boredom—The Mask for Anger
  4. Guilt and Shame—Restoring Integrity
  5. Hatred—The Profound Mirror—Includes Resentment, Contempt, Disgust, and Shadow Work
  6. Fear: Intuition and Action – Includes Anxiety, Worry, and the Healing of Trauma
  7. Confusion:  The Mask for Fear
  8. Jealousy and Envy:  Relational Radar—Includes Greed
  9. Panic and Terror:  Frozen Fire – Includes Healing from Trauma
  10. Sadness:  Release and Rejuvenation:  Includes Despair and Despondency
  11. Grief:  The Deep River of the Soul
  12. Depression:  Ingenious Stagnation—Focusing on Situational Depression
  13. Suicidal Urges:  The Darkness Before Dawn
  14. Happiness:  Amusement and Anticipation
  15. Contentment:  Appreciation and Recognition
  16. Joy: Affinity and Communion—Includes Exhilaration and Honoring Happiness in Others
  17. Stress and Resistance:  Understanding Emotional Physics
  18. Emotions Are Your Native Language—The Fine Art of a Life Well Lived

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591797692
Publisher: Sounds True, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/01/2010
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 102,755
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.02(h) x 1.12(d)

About the Author

Karla McLaren

Empath Karla McLaren is an award-winning author, social science researcher, and pioneering educator whose empathic approach to emotions has taken her through the healing of her own childhood trauma, into a healing career, and now into the study of sociology, anthropology, neurology, cognitive psychology, and education. She is the author of The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You (Sounds True, 2010), the online course Emotional Flow: Becoming Fluent in the Language of Emotions (Sounds True, 2012) and The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life's Most Essential Skill (October, 2013).

Karla has taught at such venues as the University of San Francisco, Omega Institute, Naropa University, Kripalu, and the Association for Humanistic Psychology. Additionally, as a prison arts educator with the William James Foundation, she has utilized singing, drumming, and drama to help men in maximum security prisons explore and heal long-held emotional traumas. She is currently developing new forms of Empathy and Social Interaction curricula for neurologically diverse populations.

Karla lives in California with her husband, Tino Plank, a Master's level nurse educator who works in hospice and end-of-life care.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Part I Restoring Your Native Language

1 Introduction 3

Creating a Conscious Life

2 My Empathic Journey 9

The Difficult Beginnings of Empathy

3 Troubled Waters 25

How We Got So Confused

4 It Takes A Village 39

Surrounding Your Emotions with Support

5 Reviving Your Essential Nature 57

Making Room for Your Central Self

6 Avoidance, Addiction, and Awakening 77

Understanding the Need for Distractions

7 Unintentional Shamans 91

The Role of Trauma in Soul-Making and Culture-Building

8 The Role of Emotions in The Resolution of Trauma 113

Water Will Carry You Home

9 The Steadfast Promise 123

Why Love Is Not an Emotion

10 Building Your Raft 125

The Five Empathic Skills

Part II Embracing Your Emotions

11 Wading Into The Water 161

Awakening All of Your Emotions

12 Anger: Protection and Restoration 167

Includes Rage, Fury, and the Healing of Trauma

13 Apathy And Boredom: The Mask for Anger 191

14 Guilt And Shame: Restoring Integrity 197

15 Hatred: The Profound Mirror 215

Includes Resentment, Contempt, Disgust, and Shadow Work

16 Fear: Intuition and Action 235

Includes Anxiety, Worry, and the Healing of Trauma

17 Confusion: The Mask for Fear 257

18 Jealousy And Envy: Relational Radar 263

Includes Greed

19 Panic and Terror: Frozen Fire 281

Includes Healing from Trauma

20 Sadness: Release and Rejuvenation 295

Includes Despair and Despondency

21 Grief: The Deep River of the Soul 311

22 Depression: Ingenious Stagnation 327

Focusing on Situational Depression

23 Suicidal Urges: The Darkness Before Dawn 345

24 Happiness: Amusement and Anticipation 359

25 Contentment: Appreciation and Recognition 365

26 Joy: Affinity and Communion 369

Includes Exhilaration and Honoring Happiness in Others

27 Stress And Resistance 377

Understanding Emotional Physics

28 Emotions Are Your Native Language 387

The Fine Art of a Life Well Lived

Acknowledgments 393

Notes 395

Further Resources 399

Index 405

About The Author 415

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The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Over the past year I have been making personal changes to get through a lifetime of depression, low self-esteem, and poor physical, mental, and emotional health. This book has played and intergal role in my recovery process. I now have a level of insight into myself and others that was missing before. Plain and simple, reading this book has made me a better human being. For anyone that is fighting to make changes within themselves or is working with a loved one to make changes this book should, without a doubt, be included in your arsenal. Good Luck. Thanks Ms. McLaren.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book takes a complex subject and relays comprehensive information in an interesting and entertaining manner. I found myself highlighting keypoints that I could reference in the future. Some self help books assume a parental tone and sound like a lecture of "shoulds" and "should nots". This book does not. It felt as though the writer was talking to me and teaching rather than lecturing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If one can get past the long winded and continually repeated explanations; the poorly chosen, overused put down phrases like...'it's about the chip on our shoulder...'in a book that purports to be about healing childhood traumas and wounds, there is excellent information and useful exercises that can be put to good use in untangling and transforming the chaos and confusion of crazy, hurtful childhoods. Freeing one from the ways these wounds may warp our sense of self and what we attract to ourselves in our adult lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When it comes to our emotions, we often try to deny them, until they overwhelm us. What Karla McLaren does is provide a powerful insight into dealing with them once and for all. This book is a good read. I'd also recommend that you buy "When God Stopped Keeping Score." an intimate look at the power of God and forgiveness. Given the chance, it too will change your life.
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