In the article The Purpose of Emotions, I explain that our feelings function as a vibrational feedback system and that by changing the way we think, we can take back control over how we feel. We’ve been trained to ignore our feelings, however, and because of this, it can be a bit difficult to remember how to figure out what our emotions mean at first. But don’t worry, once you get the hang of it, once you remember to use your emotions for what they were intended, it’ll quickly become second nature to you. You are simply remembering how to do something you were designed to do.

Until then, however, this article may help you to get started. The following explanation and chart are based on the Emotional Scale by Abraham-Hicks.

When we’re born, we’re more connected to our true selves than we’ll probably ever be again in our physical lives, providing we never learn to live consciously. When you watch children play, you’ll notice that they’re generally full of joy and enthusiasm for life. This is our natural state. This is how we planned to live our entire lives when we came in. We didn’t come here to struggle and to pay our dues, to learn hard lessons or suffer in order to get some reward in the afterlife. All of these are man-made concepts. We came here to play, to feel good, to experience the physical. We wanted to feel what it’s like to run down a hill, ride a bike, breathe, sing, laugh, dance, and create. We knew that our natural state was one of joy, of feeling amazing, and we knew that if we ever turned away from that, we’d have our emotional guidance system to let us know that we’d gotten off track.

If you’re generally happy, with only occasional dips into frustration, you don’t really need to understand the emotional scale. You’re intuitively listening to that guidance system already. But if you’re in depression or anger, grief or jealousy, irritation, constant frustration or if you’re frequently feeling completely overwhelmed, you may be in a situation where you can no longer see the forest for the trees. If this is you, the following information should help.

The emotions we experience can be mapped out on a scale, from joy to utter despair. The closer you are to who you really are, your TRUE SELF, the better you’ll feel. At the top end of the spectrum, you feel happiness, freedom and like you have control over your circumstances. You feel passionate, enthusiastic and eager to start each day. You are thinking positive, empowered thoughts like “I can do that”, “Everything is perfect just the way it is” and “I’m so grateful for everything I have and the people in my life.” You’re not faking it, you actually believe these statements and are truly appreciative of your amazing life. For some people this scenario might seem completely out of reach, but I assure you, we can ALL get there.

At the other end of the spectrum you’re feeling completely powerless, like you have no control over your life or circumstances at all, like everything just happens TO you, is done TO you. You’re depressed, vulnerable, you feel unworthy and afraid. This is where self-loathing and fear live. It truly doesn’t get any worse than this.

If You Feel Powerless

So, if you’re in the lower end of the spectrum, how can you move from that scenario to the joyful one? Well, you can’t. Not all at once, anyway. You have to work your way up, step by step. When you’re feeling afraid and alone, like nothing good can ever come to you again, you can’t even imagine a bright shiny world where all is well. You can’t conceive of happiness from where you are.

But, you can conceive of anger. When you’re depressed, when you’re feeling powerless, you’re turning your negative thoughts towards yourself. This produces the worst possible feeling. Why? Because there is no bigger lie than that you are not worthy, that you are somehow broken, that you are not perfect and your True Self, who you really are, knows it. You can’t really know others’ perfection until you know your own. You can’t truly love anyone until you love yourself. You can really help anyone else feel whole, until you know what it feels like to be complete. It all starts with you. And so, there is no worse feeling for us than when we deny who we really are and think of ourselves with hatred, when we completely deny our own power. You’re not in pain because you’re being punished for having these thoughts. On the contrary. Your inner being is screaming at you to turn around, that you ARE worthy, that you ARE perfect, and wants nothing more than for you to realize it. The horrible feelings and the very degree to which you’re experiencing them is a direct result of how incorrect you are in your thinking.

But to ask you to simply do a 180, to just start thinking the opposite (“I love myself” instead of “I hate myself”) is a bit much to ask. It’s much easier to work your way around bit by bit. So, when you are in a state of hating yourself, it’s actually a relief to turn that anger or hatred onto another person. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating acting on that feeling. In fact, doing so would send you right back down the scale where you started. But you are absolutely allowed to feel it. Give yourself permission to be angry with someone, to blame someone, to just hate the world. It might still not feel good, but it will feel better. Stay there for a little while and feel the relief of it. You might cry, you might need to scream into a pillow or take a walk around the block. Let off steam. You’re getting rid of that lower vibration, that “negative” energy.

If You Feel Angry

Once you feel secure in your anger, once you no longer feel the temptation to turn your negative view towards yourself, you can move up to the next rung. At this point, you can move into frustration, doubt, worry, or pessimism. You turn your attention from blaming someone else to accepting that bad things happen sometimes. It’s not that ALL people are bastards, but bastards do exist. It’s not that ONLY bad stuff happens, but bad stuff does happen. You soften your language a bit. ALWAYS becomes SOMETIMES. EVERYONE becomes SOME PEOPLE. HATE becomes DISLIKE. It’s ok to be a bit negative here. Those of us who study this stuff, who consider ourselves spiritual, often forget that even these “negative” emotions have their place. We think we ought to know better and should always be at a high vibration. We see a negative emotion as some kind of failure. But negative emotions are simply there to guide us. If you’re frustrated, it makes no sense to deny it or feel guilty about it. Accept it, allow it, and work your way on up the emotional scale. And stop beating up on yourself. That just makes you slide back down.

If You’re Frustrated

Once you’re solidly entrenched in frustration, the next step is neutral territory: boredom. At this point, you’re not really feeling good or bad. You’re just sort of ok. You don’t really have to spend a lot of time here. In fact, this interval may be so short, it might seem like you’re skipping the step altogether.   

If You’re Bored

The next step on the scale will take you into optimism and positive expectation. Reach for hopeful thoughts. Good things DO happen, and there ARE good people in the world. In fact, a lot more things go right every day than go wrong.  You’re switching your attention from the negative to the positive now. Instead of diminishing the things that made you feel bad, you’re beginning to focus on those things that make you feel good. Little by little, you’ll find more and more things to feel good about. At this point, you can conceive of looking for positive news, nice people, puppies and sunshine. Cynicism falls away and makes room for the idea that it isn’t naive to see the beauty in the world, and once you start looking for it, you see that beauty everywhere.

If You’re Feeling Hopeful

Once you’ve found this place of hopefulness, it really isn’t hard to move up to absolute joy and happiness. You’ve built so much momentum and you’re so close to your true self, to who you really are, that you can hear the call loud and clear. This is the place of appreciation, of being grateful. This is where you play, where you have fun, where circumstances no longer dictate how you feel. You can have fun anywhere. You can see beauty wherever you go. You feel incredibly good all the time. This is how you’re supposed to feel. THIS IS WHO YOU REALLY ARE.

Bottom Line

Remember that it doesn’t really matter where you start. There’s no shame in being angry or even depressed. Figure out where you are on the scale and you can begin to deliberately work your way up. You might spend days or weeks on each level, or just a few minutes. Once you begin shifting energy, it will become easier and easier. It’s possible for someone who has used this process several times to work their way up the entire scale in about 20 minutes. I only tell you this so that you understand the incredible leverage available to you when you begin to work with energy, not to give you a measuring stick to judge yourself against (i.e. “Why is it taking me longer than 20 minutes? There’s obviously something wrong with me.”) So please don’t take it that way.

Take it slow at first, feel your way through it. The most important thing in this process is that you realize that you do have the ability to make yourself feel better. Once you understand this, once you fully realize just how powerful you are, you can never go back to where you were. You can never feel truly powerless again. Even if you feel a bit depressed, even if you have a “negative” reaction to an event, it won’t last long. You’ll quickly remember that you don’t have to wait for anything to change. You have the power to do something about the way you feel any time you like.

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