When I learned emotions are messengers that tell us important things we need to do, I was so relieved! This simple but profound understanding could help me work through my emotions to avoid the negative consequences from them, and to finally regain my sense of peace.
But how could I ever learn all the meanings and messages behind every single emotion? There are so many!
PROBLEM: There’s a myriad of emotions. So how are we supposed to learn how to discover the message from each one?
I remember being completely daunted by the task of picking apart my emotions every day. It seemed simply overwhelming and impossible.
The good news is this:
All emotions can be categorized into a select few parent emotions.
All the rest are just sub-categories, or emotional offspring, to those parent emotions. For example, my seven-year-old learned this lesson just a few weeks ago. She and I had talked extensively about anger, its message, and what to do when it comes. So I could not quite understand why she was not responding to me when she was frustrated. Finally, she said, “I know what to do with anger, Mom! But what about when I get frustrated? That’s different.”
Aha! The light bulb went on inside me. She didn’t know that frustration is a sub-emotion of anger. It’s like Anger got together with another Anger and then they had a whole bunch of little baby Angers–irritated, annoyed, ticked off, grumpy, grouchy, crusty, irritated, and yes, frustrated.
So, when you are working through your emotions, all you have to do is identify the emotion you are feeling, and then recognize which category it falls under. Is the parent emotion anger? Is it sadness? Maybe it’s fear. And once you know the answer to that, then you can call it what it is and work through it from there.
SOLUTION: Learn what emotions fall under what main category. (Use the Everyday Emo-Vocab Cheat Sheet to help!)
When I recognize I’m feeling frustrated, I acknowledge the frustration, but from then on, I refer to it as anger. Saying “I have anger” is an exciting step for me because I know how to work through my anger to find peace! Fear and sadness are easy as well!
So, what are you feeling right now?
Take a moment to inventory your emotions. Is there anything that comes to mind? Now identify that emotional offspring’s parent. If you’re not sure what it is, download my free cheat sheet to help you out until you can do it independently.
Then swoop that feeling under the parent emotion, and work through it right now! (Click on the Anger, Sadness, and Fear tags to read examples of how I’ve worked through those emotions.) Find some relief right now! It is possible. You can do it! You were born with this power—to recognize the message in your emotions and to act on those messages.
And now it’s time to play offense.
Rather than sitting around, playing defense and waiting for those baby emotions to arrive, let’s play offense–grab the Everyday Emo-Vocab Cheat Sheet, scan it, and find words that you gravitate toward. Do you use the word “grumpy” daily? Maybe “worry” is one of your most-often used words? Circle the top five words you use for each parent emotion.
(Here’s my list:
- Anger: angry, annoyed, frustrated, grouchy, irritated
- Sadness: sad, down, depressed, disappointed, hurt
- Fear: worried, anxious, afraid, insecure, nervous)
Now, take note of when you use your list of words throughout the day. If you hear yourself saying, “blah blah blah grumpy blah blah,” then stop yourself: identify you are feeling anger, and work through it right there!
Try it out! You will be excited at the progress you can make just from these baby emotions. And remember—every emotion counts! Don’t downplay how you feel. Don’t disregard the messengers. Every emotion has a purpose. Label it, find out its parent emotion, then work through it. You will be amazed at what can come from it!
13 thoughts on “Emotional Offspring. Yeah, That’s a Thing.”
[…] The light bulb went on for me—I saw frustration as a sub-category to the main emotion anger (explained in this post here), but she saw them as two different things. She didn’t know what to do when she was […]
[…] emotions are your own, and you can work through them! First, find what the parent emotion is by clicking here, and then click on the Anger, Sadness, and Fear tags to learn how to work through those specific […]
[…] Well, actually, I recognized it as disappointment, but I knew that “disappointment” was an emotional offspring to sadness, so I called it […]
[…] recognized I was feeling the parent emotion of anger. And since I know anger comes when a boundary has been violated, I knew that’s what the […]
[…] Explore your stress. Make a list of what is causing it. Are you worried about things? Are you frustrated about things? Are you disappointed about things? Explore it to find the parent emotion. […]
[…] been thinking lately about embarrassment. Where does that fall in the range of emotions? Is it an emotional offspring? Or is it its own separate category? Maybe it falls under fear . . . or what about anger? I’ve […]
[…] about emotional offspring here to learn about parent emotions. Do the activity, and prep yourself for the next time an emotion […]
[…] they worry about things, but they don’t have anxiety about them. But did you know that almost all emotions can be categorized into three main emotions? So when I talk about “anxiety,” I am also talking about worries, stresses, fears, […]
[…] you are feeling sadness or fear, or another emotion. Use the Cheat Sheet to figure out the parent emotion and the find tags on this site to learn how to work through those feelings as […]
[…] we feel anger, or frustration, or irritation, or any of anger’s emotional offspring, then we can always know: a boundary has been violated. That boundary was keeping us safe and […]
[…] 1. The first thing you need to do is recognize what emotion you are feeling. This handy cheat sheet is a great reference in helping you identify what you are feeling, and in knowing what the parent emotion is. […]
[…] (If you’re not sure about this one, read here about parent emotions and emotional offspring.) […]
[…] emotions, and once you’ve found a word that describes how you feel, identify its parent emotion. A parent emotion is the main category of emotion that the emotional offspring falls under. If you know the parent emotion, it will greatly simplify your emotion […]