Below is a chart showing the normal function of each of your core feelings (Weinhold & Weinhold, 2009, p. 76-77). The chart also suggests how you can use these feelings in your life. Your Basic Feelings and Their Healthy Functions
|1. Anger||This is a natural response to not getting your wants or needs met. People who feel afraid to ask directly for what they need may act angry instead. The anger is an attempt to cover up any fear of rejection that perhaps was felt early in life. Through intimidation, they try to get what they want without asking directly. When you are feeling angry, it is important to ask yourself, “What am I wanting or needing”|
|2. Fear||This is a natural response to perceived danger or the anticipated loss of something important. When a person feels afraid, it is important to determine if the perceived danger is real. People also use fear to cover up their anger because they were punished for expressing anger when they were children.|
|3. Sadness||This is a natural response to the loss of a person, object, or relationship (real or imagined). It is the result of giving up something to which you were attached. A child can get attached to an object or pet and parents who dont understand this need, get rid of the object or pet causing a deep developmental shock, trauma or stress . You may also feel anger with the experience of loss because some of your needs and wants may no longer get met.|
|4. Shame||This is a natural response to violating some personal or social limit about what is appropriate. Healthy shame helps us monitor our behavior in public situations and also helps form our ethical code. Toxic shame is different from guilt. Guilt means believing we have done something wrong, whereas toxic shame means that we believe there is something intrinsically wrong with us. Many parents use shame-based methods to discipline their children.|
|5. Excitement||This is a natural response to anticipating that something good will happen to you. Fear and excitement are often closely related. Some people never received permission as children to show excitement and instead feel embarrassed or ashamed at their own excitement.|
|6. Happiness/Joy||These are natural responses to getting what you want or need, or for doing something effectively. Some people do not know it is okay to be happy or they have a quota on how happy they can allow themselves to be. They may be addicted to struggle because it is more familiar or they are afraid to relax and be happy and joyful in case unwanted feelings will show up.|
Once you understand the normal function of your feelings and their critical role in connecting to your internal experiences, it is easier to recognize the significance of the function of feelings in your stress-related conflicts. This awareness can help you shift into an attitude of compassion and kindness toward yourself and others during stressful conflicts. A feeling commonly encountered during stressful conflicts is sadness. For example, you can process your feelings of sadness during a stressful conflict by asking: What have I lost, or what do I fear losing in this stress-related conflict Does this stress-related conflict involve the traumatic reenactment of a past experience that involved feeling sad Does it remind me of something I lost in the past” Sometimes you may feel a mixture of sadness and anger in a stress-related conflict situation. The anger comes from not getting a need met, and the sadness tells you that something you once had is gone. When these two feelings become intertwined in a stress-related conflict situation, you need to separate them before you can effectively heal the effects of the stress-related conflict.