Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Light Emotions

For 4 years, since April 10, 2010, I've been going to OA and writing this blog, trying to understand and cope with compulsive overeating. One strategy is to "feel my feelings." Among other things, I've read, and written (here) about the dark emotions:

Under anger, under depression,
under actions such as addiction, suicide, and aggression,
you will find the three mothers of dark emotions -
grief, fear, and despair.

I am so familiar with these emotions, although I haven't fully learned yet how to sit with them, how to avoid trying to fix them with food, or how to heal from them.

But what of the light emotions? What are they? I frequently say things like, "I'm sad about..." or "I'm angry about..." or even "I'm afraid of..." But very rarely do say something like, "I'm happy about..." or "I feel satisfied with."

Do I numb myself against feeling the light emotions? Is it somehow not OK to feel these emotions? I've been thinking about this all day, yet still it's difficult to come up with a list of light emotions. Let me try...


Have I felt any of the above today? Yes. I felt contented during most of the OA meeting, curious about what others would say, grateful for the help of one of the members, and loving toward all of the members at the end of the hour. I felt happy talking with the owner of a new restaurant in town about his business hours. I felt happy and satisfied for an hour or so, listening to the work noises of a repair guy who is fixing my carport. I felt joyful talking with my brother on the phone for a few minutes, especially the part of the conversation about motorcycling. I feel good satisfied about my eating so far today. I feel happy to be writing this post.

Interesting. It took a lot longer than I would have thought to figure out and name these feelings. I wonder if it would help me recover from compulsive overeating if I practice noticing and naming the light emotions each day?

Wouldn't hurt to try....


  1. Ancient wisdom says "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." And if it's true that whatever we give our attention to the most grows... then I think you are right to AT LEAST give equal attention to the Light side, the things we want to feel gratitude and joy for, the good stuff.

    I loved reading this today. I was JUST... JUST. NOW. pouting and feeling sorry for myself. It's okay to acknowledge it, and my fear was legitimate (extensive dental next Tuesday). But I was feeding it, wallowing in it, and getting nowhere but worse.

    I am going to focus on the Light feelings now. Love that description, by the way; hadn't heard it before.

    Thank you for sharing this today, Robin, you've helped me!

    1. ...meant to write "extensive dental surgery" next Tuesday. ha ha, couldn't even type the dreaded D word!!

    2. good griefus! couldn't even get out S for surgery, typed D instead. I must REALLY be skeered!

    3. As far as I know, Retta, I made up the term "light emotions"... easy, because it's the opposite of "dark emotions," which somebody else made up. Anyway, I wish you quick recovery from the dreaded DS, and hope concentrating on the moments of light emotions between now and then will help a little. Hugs...

  2. great!...road to 'lightness of being'

    1. I remember liking that book, "Lightness of Being," very much, although it didn't have much to do with light emotions. Ha! I promise a progress report. You're the one who got me started on this with your fabulous post about the weekend events and naming your emotions about each. That helped me a lot.

  3. great, lightening up has many meanings


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it very much.