Over the years, I have developed a particular interest for houseplants (I have a pace lily, an orchid, a snake plant, a small succulent, a small cactus, a lucky bamboo, a baby sun rose and a tradescantia. I know seems like a lot 😂). One my favorite indoor plants is the peace lily, just because it is easy to use. When it needs to be watered, the leaves will sag ( as you can see in picture 1), then after you are done watering it, the leaves will be back to being happy (picture 2), practical isn't it😉?
You might ask yourself why I am usually looking for lessons in life, this particular situation made me thing of us as humans, in particular our relationship with self and others. Most of us grew up with the belief that "negative" emotions like anger, sadness are "bad". We were raised in homes where it was taboo to express those emotions, so we locked them inside our bodies instead of releasing, and this creates a ripple effect on our emotional and physical health (more on this in a later blog post).
I believe that just like lack of water cause the peace lily's leaves to sag, anger is also signal that there's something that needs attention, kind of like when the engine check light turns on on the car's dashboard.
"Anger is a signal, it may be a message that we are being hurt , that our rights are being violated, that our needs or wants are not being adequately met , or simply that something is not right . Our anger may tell us that we are not addressing an important emotional issue in our lives." Harriet Lerner, phD , the dance of Anger (excellent book by the way)
So according to Dr Lerner, is not necessarily a bad emotion after all, it might just be a nudge to go deeper. I would like to leave you with some insight: next time you are angry, I would encourage you to sit down, take a few deep breaths and look at the feelings wheel ( I have attached a picture below) and try to identify what feeling comes up for you, this helps unfold the emotion layer by layer and get to the root of what is really bothering you. On the feelings wheel, the inner circle is labeled with primary emotions while the outer rings are labeled with the feelings associated with the emotions.
Some of you might wonder what is the difference between a feeling and an emotion. I will try to break it down in very simple terms (shoutout to my mentor Professor J for teaching me this 😉). Emotions are the primary responses in some circumstances. Let's say you are being robbed at gun point, the emotion that will be triggered in your body is fear, you can't control that. On the other hand, feelings are sparked by emotions and shaped by personal experiences, beliefs, memories etc.. For example, two people sitting in traffic can experience different feelings (anxiety and joy depending on their circumstances).
I am so in awe when I observe nature, I believe there is so much we can learn from it... I think I will be doing a series called "When nature speaks" to talk about my observations/lessons learned...
Have any of you use the feelings wheel? If yes how did you use it? Was it beneficial? Please let me know in the comments!
If you have used it after this blog post, comment below as well!
leaves sagging due to lack of water
Back to being happy 😊
Until next time.....