We all feel. Some of us express our feelings more readily than others, but we all feel.

Emotion is a human experience. Many of us have been taught that emotions are bad. Emotions are not bad- not even the “bad” emotions are bad. Emotions are what allow us to connect and experience love and joy. Emotions protect us and give us awareness.

Emotions are what make us human; without emotions, we would be robots. Despite what culture may have taught us, emotions do not need to be stifled, eradicated or eliminated. They simply need to be processed.

Dr. Hill talks about emotions as being a river. The river of emotion must flow freely. When the river is dammed, a flood is created endangering us, our village and everything in it. When the river flows freely, it remains a life-giving source.

The Core Emotion Wheel has become a tremendous tool in my life, my marriage and my parenting. I have always been one who feels deeply and who is very aware of the emotion of others. The Core Emotion Wheel has given me the tools and the language I have needed to identify and express this emotion and to connect with others in their emotion. I am astounded by the Core Emotion Wheel’s effectiveness and efficiency in assisting with the processing of emotion.

In my life, this most often plays out in two ways:

One is when I feel a tension in my chest or stomach or notice a jumble of confusing thoughts in my head and realize I am having a rush of emotion. Sometimes I can identify this emotion as soon as I feel the physical and mental effects of it. Other times I will not immediately know which emotion I am feeling or what caused it. When I am unsure of what emotion I am feeling, I use the Core Emotion Wheel to identify which of the eight core emotions I am experiencing. Sometimes it is more than one emotion at a time. Seeing the emotions written on the Core Emotion Wheel and knowing what each one means has helped me to bypass the overwhelm and confusion that emotions so often bring. The Core Emotion Wheel has empowered me to identify and express what I am feeling when I am feeling it.

Somehow, just the act of correctly identifying the emotion removes some of the power the emotion has over me. It provides a little space between me and the emotion, so I can process it. There is magic in the pause, in the moment of self-reflection, in the identification and expression of the emotion.

The second way this has played out in my life is in the relationships I have with my husband, children, friends and family. It has been incredible to use the Core Emotion Wheel to connect and communicate with each of the relationships in my life. My husband and I use it when we have hurt each other or have emotions about other experiences.

For example, recently, I asked my husband to help me with something on the computer. He is a computer whiz; I am not. The program kept malfunctioning, and he expressed frustration through the process. Halfway through this I felt a rush of emotion for having asked for his help. Without the core emotion language, this would have created a confusing, tension-filled interaction. My emotions would have caused me to lash out, which would have caused him to defend himself and typically would have led to a disagreement or a disconnect. Instead, as soon as I felt the rush of emotion, I calmly and clearly told him what I was feeling, and he responded by listening, hugging me and expressing what he was feeling, which had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the computer.

This type of interaction has become a normal occurrence in my marriage and in my relationship with my children. Our desire is to give our children an emotional vocabulary. It is not our goal to teach them not to have emotion, but to equip them with emotional intelligence, so they can process their river effectively and efficiently through all the years of their life.

We all have emotion- we need only process them through. I encourage you to give the Core Emotion Wheel a try. It takes three minutes, and those may become the most transformative three minutes of your life.