156. 3 things to know about feeling negative emotions

We spend much of our days avoiding the emotions we don’t want to feel and panicking when we do feel those negative emotions. But then what happens is we give control over to the emotions and build up our lives hustling away the ‘bad’. 

Over the years I have learned a lot about emotions that has personally brought me freedom from fearing emotions. This is something I have also coached many women on over the years. A big hurdle we have is knowing what we feel, and then struggling with the fact that we don’t WANT to feel that emotion. 



In this episode I cover:

  • The three big insights that have changed my relationship to my feelings
  • What the work of Dr. Candace Pert reveals about what emotions ARE
  • How we learn what we are feeling
  • How we are conditioned to view feelings 
  • What makes an emotion ‘negative’ or ‘unacceptable’
  • Being aware of our tolerance of emotions
  • The real problems with emotions 
  • Understanding the role of emotions
  • How to tap into the intuition emotions can offer us rather than running from the emotions
  • Collaborating with our emotions rather than competing with them 


Related links you might like:

The Spotify playlist for all episodes on Emotional Intelligence 

139. Are you TOO comfortable? And what is it costing you?

66. Are you stuck in the hustle for happiness? Finding contentment in momlife

How to really start showing up for your life

Four steps to manage overwhelm in motherhood

The Enneagram and Motherhood Series

Book: The Molecules of Emotion by Dr. Candace Pert

Aritcle: The Physics of Emotion 

Simple Pleasure of the Week: Benefit cheek and lip stain



woman laying down with hands over eyes, looking distraught. Text overlay reads "three things to know about feeling negative emotions"

Full transcript (unedited)

Hey friends is Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend and life coach from simple on purpose. Welcome to the Simple on Purpose podcast. My aim here is to share with you thoughts, ideas, stories that will help you let go of the old ways, the useless stuff, the heavy stuff, the unnecessary stuff in your life in your space in your brain, so that you can get into the driver’s seat of your life, and steer that car, steer that ship to where you want it to go.

What do you want more of more fun, more passion, more purpose, more presence, because that’s what I signed up for. And that’s what I’m here to share with you.

But it doesn’t all come without the shedding part, right without the letting go. Letting go of what doesn’t work, what doesn’t help you live on purpose. And this is the part that needs to be addressed. Because life on purpose is not just like Instagrammable, magical confetti and balloons. Life on purpose comes with friction and discomfort.

And so today, I want to dig into that a little bit and talk about the F word, feelings. And a lot of this content is some I had drafted up back in the fall. And I came across it when I was doing a school project this week.

And let me tell you school was my only focus this week, because your girl was home sick on the couch with COVID. And I know many of you have had it, it finally hit us here it finally hit our home, I was the only one that had it though. Everyone else thoroughly avoided me and seemed to skirt it.

But I was sick in I see a lot of different people on social media sharing their experiences with COVID. And I was comforted by those who told me that they were really sick too. Like I was exhausted just making toast. I needed to nap a couple times a day. And I am not a Napper.

But I had also gotten to this place where I was kind of comparing my experience with others because I had heard that there were others who had only a cough or a scratchy throat. And here I was just like rolling from the couch to the bed to the couch day after day. And it was definitely getting into my head, feeling like I should be tougher. I should get over this sooner. Like they say five days, but it’s been more than five days. And it’s just ironic, really, because I had just told my sister, my little sister a week earlier, that she shouldn’t feel that way that she should be resting.

But man when you’re in it, I know I’ve said this before, it’s hard to give yourself the grace and the hope. I was running low on hope. Because I think when our bodies are depressed, we get depressed. And I was definitely getting into a funk thinking like When will I ever feel normal again?

So all this to say, long story short, I was really grateful that I came across these old notes in the Google Docs, because that depressed part of me was like, Will I ever podcast again? Will they ever have the energy? What will my life be like, you know, just run of the mill spiraling that we go through. Here we are. On the other side of that.

One thing that I’m really most excited about side note about getting back into is the mom’s 30 for 30, where we’re spending the month of February, or in 30 items for 30 days. I know February is 28 Whatever, we’re not gonna we’re not gonna nitpick over it. I’m going to extend my challenge into March to get all 30 days in. And just a reminder, if you’re joining along, make sure to be sharing that in the Facebook group.

Alright, so let’s get into it, shall we? Let’s talk about uncomfortable emotions.

And I want to teach you three things I’ve learned over the years about emotions, and emotions isn’t feelings, it’s something that is a big part of coaching, why we feel this, how to feel it, what to do with the feeling how to create feelings that we want to have. And just in my time coaching and my own personal reflection, I know that a lot of us don’t know what we feel, or we don’t want to feel that way. Or we feel overpowered by our feelings.

And I want to share with you some big aha thoughts that I had around feelings and just hope that it brings some insight and freedom, freedom to you today because these are three things that really changed my relationship to my feelings.

Because I think that looking back I was someone who just chase down simply feeling good, whatever that looked like I probably wasn’t even sure. And when I felt bad, I panicked that there was something wrong with me with my life probably with my husband probably definitely his fault. And my relationships to feelings were that they were an indicator of how right or wrong my life was, which is just a really fragile way to set up your life. Right.

So The first thing that I want to talk about is what are feelings? What are they? And when I first heard this question posed, I was really taken aback because I had never really thought about it like what are even emotions? Inside note, I’ll use this term interchangeably, emotions and feelings.

How do you know you’re having a feeling? You just feel it right in your body? Well, you probably first notice it in your body, and then you name it in your head. Even if this happens, like snapping my fingers automatically don’t even really realize you’ve made that connection. But how do you know you feel sad? Because our physical experience of the emotion of what we feel in our bodies, we feel different things like our stomach tightens, or we hit a red face or we breathe shallowly, or we cry, or we laugh or we feel a weight in our chest.

So let’s nerd out for a minute and I will tell you about an interesting book by Dr. Candace pert, called the Molecules of Emotion is she has done so much work in the field of neuroscience in she is credited with discovering the opiate receptor in our brains. So really, really amazing woman, I’m going to link an article about her and her work in the show notes.

But what she explains is that emotions are caused by the release of neuro peptides and we know some neuro peptides, dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, these neuro peptides are electrochemical signals that carry messages throughout the body. So these electrochemical signals, they are received at different parts of our bodies, they change the chemistry and the electrical frequency of the receptor cells. So she essentially says we’re like vibrating tuning forks, because these neuro peptides release throughout our body, they change the chemical and physical state of the cells. And that’s what gives us a sensation of emotion.

But why then do we have a problem with emotions, because of what we make them mean? When we have the sensation, we learn to label the feeling. So let’s say we have a tightness in our chest, we learn to label that as panic, or our face heats up, and turns red, we learn to label that isn’t embarrassment. And we think some of these things are okay to feel. And some are bad, depending on what we’ve been taught and our past experiences with them.

So what is wrong with emotion? Why is emotion positive or negative. And this is the second thing I want to dig into an emotion is bad if we label it bad. And we all have emotions that we determine are negative or positive for, for instance, some of us feeling delighted is an uneasy feeling. For some of us feeling resentful is a really uneasy feelings. Some of us feel quite comfortable without feeling.

We each have our own essentially map of the world. And we’ve got this legend at the bottom that tells us which feelings in this world are okay and which ones are not. And this is all designed and generated over our years of programming,

Programming, what we’ve been taught what we’ve experienced. We’ve all kind of taken this all internally and created a program of how we approach the world. And this includes our culture at home, what was acceptable to feel and how to cope. What did you learn to do as a child with anger or with doubt? Also, we’ve been influenced by our culture on what emotions are acceptable and how they get to be expressed. What are we told to do with jealousy? What are we told to do with shyness, especially as women, our personal experience also shapes this what has happened when we felt that emotion? Did we try and express our disappointment in it ruined a relationship? Did we feel sad, and we were invalidated and told to just feel happy again? Did we feel grief, and we were told to just hurry it alone.

So we have learned to view emotion as something that makes us acceptable or not.

And this has a function, right? Because just generally, as a society, we do take this as feedback on how to navigate relationships, how to be respectful of one another, so that maybe shame can redirect us. Maybe being angry all the time can redirect us, those things can have an impact on our relationships.

But for most of us, calibrating what emotions make us acceptable and unacceptable, actually prevents us from growing intolerance of these emotions and from learning to process these emotions in a healthy way. It also moves us further and further away from trusting our emotions, from listening to them and using them in healthy ways. It moves us further from being aware of them from emotional intelligence. It moves us further away from intuition and ultimately, Emotional Freedom feeling like we’re not trapped by these emotions.

So what happens over time is we’ve learned that their emotions we should not feel and when they pop up, man, we panic, we hustle our way out of them. And when we’re doing that we’re in a constant state. Avoiding that emotion or running away from it, what we are doing is developing a very low tolerance for those specific emotions that we call negative. Consider What’s your tolerance for shame, for boredom, for vulnerability, what emotions are hard for you to tolerate. Usually, they’re the emotions you’ve called negative, those are the ones that are hard for you to tolerate.

And just you know, as a general concept, I would encourage you to start not labeling your emotions as positive or negative, not as unacceptable or acceptable, but rather as uncomfortable or comfortable.

So what emotions are uncomfortable? What emotions do you think you should not be feeling? I’ve learned a couple of mine over the years for one overwhelm, overwhelm, which is really the feeling because I feel it all of the time, I will definitely say I’m building up the tolerance to it.

Another emotion that I’ve really struggled with over the years is disappointment in in others, because I’m a type nine on the Enneagram. And I think that disappointment in others creates conflict creates disconnect. And I have spent a lot of years talking myself out of being disappointed because I think I need to preserve the peace.

So we all have emotions, we don’t like to feel, but I want to fall into now this realization that we can have that every emotion has a purpose. This is my final point. Emotions have a job, they have a role they have a purpose. Why, after all, would we be created to have this biological response? Because these emotions are indicators, they’re messengers.

We’re conditioned to think that emotions are something we need to power and we need to control. And we almost deny our biology that emotions are there for a reason. There’s something that we can come alongside and collaborate with, rather than compete with.

So emotion, you may have heard this before. It’s a Latin word, translated to mean to stir to move to agitate emotions, that biological response, it’s prompting us to take an action. Okay, but here’s the problem, we often take an unhealthy action. So I’ve really found that this just this awareness, emotions have a reason, I’ve really helped me reduce the stigma of not wanting to feel it. And especially as a parent, not wanting my kids to experience emotions are feel these emotions. Because what is the reason for this emotion ? What’s the reason for sadness, to slow us down, to help us reflect to open us up to others to make connections? What’s the reason for jealousy? To tell us what we really longed for what we’re really craving?

There is an unhealthy side and healthy side to every emotion. But we’re so resistant to even feeling those emotions that we don’t tap into what we could be learning to this intuition. We don’t sit with this, we don’t ask ourselves, what are the healthy things I can be doing with this emotion?

Have you ever sat with your child, after they have done something they have regretted? That emotion of regret feels the worst. And you know, three kids in and my kids have done things that they regret. And when they are in a situation, and I’m just like laying with them at the end of the day, and asking them how it’s feeling. And sometimes they don’t want to talk about it, because they just hate that feeling. And I just remind them, this is what regret feels like. Regret is there to remind us not to do this again. You don’t have to be scared of regret, it feels horrible, but it’s not going to hurt you. And I remind them that even adults feel it. We feel this all the time. And it reminds us that okay, that was a hard lesson. That’s a hard lesson to learn. And it this emotion won’t last forever.

Because I know what regret can do to a person. And if you’ve ever walked through regret alone, and you know that it festers, it makes you feel rotten. It is Shame, shame, shame, and that just pushes you down, down, down.

So a great question we can ask ourselves and our kids is, what is this emotion telling you? What can it be teaching you? Because the problem is not the emotion. The problem is what we make it mean and what we do with it? How do you want to handle your heart emotions? What do you do with guilt when you feel it? What do you do with defeat when you feel it, your emotions are telling you, prompting you to take an action to go a certain direction.

But we often go the opposite direction, right? Because we’re so scared this emotion popped up. We’re just going to react to it and try to shove it down to resist it, ignore it, run away with it. And then we’re just moving further and further away from anything we could be learning.

And this always goes back to the question, are you willing to be uncomfortable and feel this emotion? Because all of these emotions you don’t want to feel these negative emotions at their core? They are uncomfortable to feel bad What if you were willing to feel some of these emotions? What if you were willing to tolerate a little bit more vulnerability? A little bit more annoyance, a little bit more doubt, a little bit more grief? Can that actually help you live more fully, more bravely? Can that get you closer to what you want what you want to be chasing? Are you willing to feel that

I really hope these three points have been helpful for you. The goal is to lower your resistance to emotions, right? Because resisting those emotions, keeping them away, denying them, avoiding them panicking when they show up, that’s exhausting. And it keeps the wisdom you could be stepping into at bay, it almost locks this whole lesson up in a cage of what is this emotion telling me to do? What is it prompting me to do? What is it bringing out of me? Think about the Healthy actions you could be taking from that emotion.

Alright, let’s wrap it up with a simple pleasure. And since I’ve started getting dressed again, back in the 30 for 30, my simple pleasure in my day is a lip and cheek tint, which the tint it like paints on almost like a stain, and it lasts a really long time. It looks really natural. And I know it’s makeup. I’m not telling you, you need to be wearing makeup. But maybe you like makeup. I like makeup. Whenever my daughter asked me why I put on makeup I’m like because it’s fun. And it makes me feel fresh. And you know, really, I didn’t really wear makeup till about 10 years ago. And then me and my bestie went to Sephora for the first time. And while they basically taught me to wear makeup, I didn’t know all those other times. So now I just think it’s something that’s fun. And my very favorite thing to wear is lipstick. In even being alone. I’ve told you this many times home alone in my sweats. I put on some lipstick and I feel like Poppy and stupid word I know. But it’s an I like that feeling. I like to feel fresh and like vibrant. And if that’s an easy way to get that feeling. Hey, I’m in. So this benefit lip tint. It’s just a little brush, you brush it on your cheeks, rub it in a little and then on your lips. And that’s all it isn’t like a blast of color. It isn’t solid, it’s a tint. So it looks natural. It’s not cakey it’s not built up. This is actually one of the very few products that I will replace when I run out, which is very rare. I think there’s only like three of those products in my life.

So I’m going to link that in the show notes. If you’re interested if that’s something you want to check out. Stop by the show notes. Anyways, I tried to put a whole bunch of relevant links related to whatever I had been sharing today that you can explore more and get a little bit deeper into the topic. If you can’t find the show notes, head over to simple and purpose.ca click listen. And all of the episodes all the show notes are right there for you. There’s also a full transcript at the bottom of every post. Alright friends have a great week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai



2 thoughts on “156. 3 things to know about feeling negative emotions”

  1. Good morning!
    I’ve been reading your Sat. blog , look forward to it, for awhile. I have the workbook and have learned alot about “purpose”, thank you so much! Today I chose to listen to your podcast and that will now be my way. I really enjoyed your voice, your inflections, and your enthusiastic realness.
    Thank you again, you made me download Spotify!


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