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Self Empowerment – Expressing and Releasing Difficult Emotions


Admit it — you get angry, frustrated and raise your voice on occasion. Or maybe too often. I am guilty of it at times, even though some people think because of my career path that I must be completely “zen” and calm always. Oh, how I wish that were true. And believe me, I am consistently doing the inner work of striving to maintain a sense of tranquility, non-reaction and the skill of being non-judgmental. But it can take a lifetime (and perhaps several) to learn some of these lessons.

As we are all members of this particular species — that is, human — and I say that with a smile, we are all prone to a broad spectrum of feelings, thoughts, behaviors and self-expression.

It is NORMAL to get cranky, angry, sad, frustrated and the like…

It is NORMAL to be dramatically reactive in certain situations…

We all have learned behaviors, ones we’ve brought with us from childhood on. Personally, any snapshot slice-of-life picture of my own childhood was far from peaceful and harmonious. My family thrived on drama and raised voices. For them, yelling was a socially acceptable expression of whatever frustration they were feeling at the moment. I thought that familial yelling and screaming was something everyone experienced and grew up with. I was quite surprised to learn such is not the case.

It has taken many years to un-learn some of my own ingrained behaviors. So, in my attempt to veer off into the other end of the spectrum and be this perfectly harmonious individual, I have discovered THAT is not normal either. So where is the balance? How can one achieve the middle ground? After all, to be totally zen, I think one would have to become a monk and live on a mountain in Tibet.

After much pondering and life experience, I have come to some conclusions.

1) I do believe it is important to slow down in life, as best one can, despite all the rushing and ultra-busyness of modern life. Slowing down allows you to catch your breath, get in touch with your inner guidance and also tap in to the wellspring of peacefulness or at least some semblance of calm that lies within.

2) DO strive to do the inner work of seeking and embracing tranquility/harmony/etc in whatever way will work for you individually. Maybe that is meditation, yoga, deep breathing, taking a walk, whatever feels right and peaceful to you.

3) It is okay to have periods of more dramatic and excited “self-expression” or negative self-expression. Permit yourself to raise your voice and show some anger or frustration if you truly need to do so and allow this personal release.

4) However, when you do need to release difficult emotion, keep it brief. If it should end up being directed at someone, be sure that person understands that you are having “a moment.” And that you still care about them. (And I am not condoning taking your frustration out on another, but I am acknowledging that as humans, we sometimes do this.) But try to keep any outbursts as something that you personally are experiencing as opposed to inflicting upon another.

One example from my own life was on particular occasion when my husband developed what I consider “domestic amnesia.” Which means he totally forgets about and distances himself from anything at all that may need to be done in the house, even small things that he is usually responsible for. I love him and he is a terrific husband, but occasionally… So this one time he was supposed to take care of something, actually a few somethings — and didn’t — and of course, I was feeling very frustrated. So I definitely got a little huffy and raised my voice but felt so guilty afterward. And then I felt guilty about feeling guilty. Because I do take care of most everything in the house since he works long commuter hours in Manhattan. So maybe he needed to hear what I had to say and maybe I needed to say it in a louder voice to get his attention and make a shift in his approach to taking care of a few things…

But my outburst was brief and it is infrequent that I allow such behavior to surface. And in the end, my husband DID respond to my requests and became more helpful.

The bottom line is that it is okay to permit some negative feeling to be expressed. Just don’t bathe in it, wallow in it and let it last interminably. Don’t become a victim to this behavior. And don’t let someone else bear the serious brunt of it. Let it come to the surface and then flow out… and be done with it.

And DO make every effort to find other constructive and gentler ways of expressing these emotions, channeling them into release before you get to the breaking point…

So acknowledge your “human-ness” and know that encompasses a broad perspective of self-expression. Choose the path of finding your personal voice in your own life — expressing your authentic self on an emotional level but in a way that you show up as a kind, caring, calm, considerate individual.


  • I embrace an attitude of peacefulness and do the inner work of bringing tranquility and balance into my everyday life experience.
  • I acknowledge my need to express negative emotions and I do so as gently and constructively as possible.
  • My inner guidance helps me express my thoughts in a clear, candid yet tactful way.

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