Emotional Assertiveness

There are NO Negative Emotions

There are NO negative emotions; Emotional Assertiveness with Magda Tabac

I often hear the syntagm “negative emotions” when we speak about uncomfortable, heavy, difficult-to-process emotions. I’ve been using it myself for a long time.

Until I stopped. I stopped when I learnt that no, there are no negative emotions. Let me share with you what I found out and why I stopped using the “negative emotions” syntagm.

So, why do we have emotions?

Well, emotions provide us with information. We have an emotional response to stimuli, and if I understand the emotion, I’ll understand that telling me something about what is going on in the environment.  

So, if my finger is burning, that tells me to take my finger off the stove. The physical body is designed to default to happiness. If you break a bone and you set it into place, it will grow back together again. If you cut your skin, it will heal. Again, because the body is set to self-repair, to get back to a state of well-being.

In the Emotional Assertiveness model, we discuss that just like physical sensations help our body to be physically healthy, emotions help us psychologically to be healthy. If we listen to what emotions are telling us and we do what they tell us to do (because they make us aware of our needs) – we allow ourselves to heal psychologically, and thus, we default to being psychologically healthy.

Emotions as a tool to stay happy

The Emotional Assertiveness Model proposes that, in fact, emotions are our body’s tools to staying happy through effective communication. If something changes in our environment, and I feel angry, sad or scared… (the emotions we normally call “negative”), well, those emotions are telling me “Something is wrong, and this is what you need to do to put it back together, to return to being happy”. Just as, if my arm is broken, the pain is telling me: something is wrong and this is what you need to do in order for it to heal and get back to being well again.

The trouble is that we might have forgotten to be in touch with our emotions and the feelings we have in our bodies when we experience certain emotions.

Emotions vs. Feelings

Wait, what? Is there a difference between Emotions and Feelings?

In our day-to-day language, maybe there’s no difference. But allow me to introduce this distinction, which we make as part of the Emotional Assertiveness model: emotions are electrochemical signals from the brain. When we have emotions, we have physical sensations associated with them = feelings… because I feel them in my body.

Thus, feelings are physical sensations resulting from biochemical processes in response to an electrochemical signal from the brain and our cognitive interpretations of physical sensations.

These feelings tend to be similar for most of us, as emotions tend to be felt in the same areas of the body for most of us. Thus, we will experience Anger through strong body sensations: muscles in the shoulders, arms, fists, legs, glutes… If we’re scared, we’ll feel it in our tummy/abdomen. If we’re sad, in our chest, and if we’re happy it will be a high level of energy in our body. And we’ll see the happiness on our face, in our hand gestures… it will be that “Yaaayyyy!” feeling 😊.

If we learn to process our emotions effectively and understand their messages about what needs we have to cover to return to well-being, we will be more psychologically grounded, healthier, and we will have better relationships.

So, in the end, Emotions are Messengers, and their purpose is to help us find psychological well-being. They might not be comfortable feeling… they may feel heavy, weird, painful and we might want to avoid them… but they are not negative and are only there to send us a message.

And, this is why, there are NO negative emotions.

I hope you liked this short introduction to the realm of Emotions. There will be more articles coming, as I, myself, delve deeper into the knowledge and practices that the Emotional Assertiveness Model proposes.

Stay happy,


PS: A big reason I write is to meet people so feel free to say Hi! on Linkedin here or follow my Instagram here, as I’d love to learn more about you.

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