What follows here is a conversation about the emotional process. It is an excerpt and by no means complete, but addresses some features of emotionality.
When we say “emotional person” we are referring to someone who has the Solar Plexus, the emotional center defined. The “non-emotional” person is someone who has an open or undefined emotional center. This is a shorthand way of referencing design. Everyone experiences emotions, but having a defined emotional center means that it is the Authority of the design and is a consistent cyclical wave that is part of the internal chemistry of that person. The open emotional person, by contrast, does not have a consistent internal emotional chemistry. It is affected by the transits and the emotional wave of others.
We hope this stirs some recognition, insight or response that furthers our understanding of the emotional process.
John: Can emotionally defined people experience and feel their emotions, not suppress them and yet not feel compelled to act them out or act on them?
Amy: Yes, they can, but it’s very, very hard. I think it’s often very challenging. It’s the whole point of the directive of the Human Design strategy around having an emotional authority: if you have an emotional authority, that means that there is no truth in the now. So what does that mean? That there’s no truth in the now? It means that whatever emotional experience you’re having in a moment is just the experience of the moment and it’s never the whole truth. And if it’s not the whole truth, then would it be wise to act on it? Probably not. But the emotional experience is obviously very compelling. It’s intense.
John: And it’s a motor.
Amy: It’s a motor. It has a lot of energy to it. It’s naturally nervous, it’s kinetic. It’s got a lot of movement to it. There’s a natural tendency that if you’re feeling an intensely unpleasant emotion that you want to stop it and the people around you would probably want to stop it too.
And then that can start to pull all the attention focus of both the emotional person and the people around them to try to control the emotion: “What can we do to try to even it out? Let’s not have the big ups and the big downs. Let’s not go through this movement. Let’s try to just be cool or keep it even or keep it stable. Let’s calm down. Let’s not go too low. Let’s not go too high.”
Obviously, there are times in extreme situations when people need help with that. But I think part of the problem is that we don’t have a lot of allowance of a full range of human emotions. We get very fixed on these, saying that certain emotions are good, but these other emotions are bad. If you’re too angry or if you’re too sad or if you’re too jealous or whatever the feeling is, that there’s something wrong with that and everybody starts to react to it, make it a problem, try to fix it.
On the flip side, you can take my design for example. I have a completely open Solar Plexus. No gates defined. And I am a Mental Projector, no motors defined at all. So many times in my life people have told me I have a calming effect on them, that I am so “grounded”, so still. Comments like this have increased as I’ve gotten older and more accepting of my design. What I think they are experiencing is a complete lack of nervousness. Not that I never get nervous, but there’s no emotional energy there, no kinetic fire, no motors buzzing. So, of course, I feel calm and still, even if my mind is going crazy, my form, my body is still. The flip side is people often also see me as cool or cold, unfeeling and without passion. So, everything has its polarity.
John: So what about the emotional person themselves? Are they trying to control their feelings?
Amy: Absolutely. Because many things are unpleasant to feel. For example, this whole movement in therapy towards mindfulness is to develop this kind of witnessing consciousness where you can learn to watch what you’re feeling and see if you can increase your capacity to tolerate it. If you can tolerate an intense emotion without acting on it, without blaming anybody for it, without thinking that it means that everything in life is horrible or everything in life is great, without making a bunch of impulsive decisions based on that. If you can just watch it, then the potential that’s there, and this is what Human Design is teaching, is that everything that you feel is actually bringing you more awareness. It’s not just a motor, the emotional center, it’s also an awareness center. So it’s bringing emotional awareness to your experience.
If you can go through the feeling and be open to it and not run off with it impulsively, you might find that it’s actually bringing you more information. It’s teaching you something. It’s telling you something about what’s going on.
John: Getting closer to the truth?
Amy: Getting closer to the truth, because the point of being emotional is not to be emotional. The point of being emotional is to get to the truth. If you dig into any person who has a defined Solar Plexus, you would find that what actually matters the most to them is the truth. Getting to the truth, even if it’s hard, even if it’s painful, even if it’s dark, even if it’s hard to hear. Ultimately, they’d really rather have the truth and they’re actually built for it. They’re actually built to be able to go through, navigate the truth, and to navigate through the intensity of human experience in order to get to the truth.
John: Like the gates in the Solar Plexus?
Amy: Yes. Conflict, Crisis, Emoting, Moodiness, Desire. Abundance/Spirit.
John: So what about the blame game? When you start feeling like there is something wrong with you because you have these feelings or someone else caused these feelings and they made me feel this way?
Amy: The problem with that is that the mind, as soon as the feeling starts happening, is searching for reasons. The mind tries to explain or justify the feelings with reasons. So say there’s a feeling, I feel mad. That’s the extent of the emotion. The energy is hot and mad. The mind then comes in with why? Because of who? Because of what’s happening, because of what so-and-so did, because this or that event happened. This is why I feel so bad. It might just be the other way around. This is a very hard thing to get, but it might be that you don’t feel mad because of what’s happening. You might just feel mad because you are in a bad mood. And then what happened got colored by that mood.
John: But it seems like we feel angry in response to an event or something that happened?
Amy: Yes, part of the energy of emotion that comes up is in response to what is happening so it is telling you something about the truth of what you feel about a situation. But it’s only a piece of the truth because if you were in a different part of your emotional wave, the feelings would be different. This is why the potential is to wait it out, wait and see how you feel about what happened the next day and see if it has shifted. The point is that if you are emotional and having an emotional response, it is telling you something about how you feel, which over time cycles through and becomes awareness of your truth. This has nothing to do with controlling the feeling or controlling the person who you felt something in response to. It is about finding your truth and once that truth has settled out over time, you know what to do about the situation.
It takes time to get to the truth and if you make a decision or feel pressured to do something in the heat of a moment, based on the intensity of a moment, before you are clear about the whole picture, you are creating more chaos.
The point of becoming aware of the emotional chemistry is that there’s a movement of highs and lows there. That’s coloring everything that’s happening, regardless. If you are emotional which means that in your design you have emotional authority, then the practice is to study your own emotional wave. Don’t get lost in the drama of the situations around you. Study the way these highs and lows move through you and color everything you experience. Then you come to know the truth of yourself in the midst of whatever is happening in life.
John: The authority, the potential for awareness, right?
Amy: Yes, then as the emotions are happening over time, each thing that we feel, if you’re an emotional person, each feeling that you’re having, is giving you a little more access to your truth. It’s filling out the picture a little bit more about the truth of how you feel. And if you wait long enough that truth is going to fill itself out. But if you abort the process in the middle and say, well, I don’t want to be aware of these feelings. I don’t want to feel these feelings, I want this person to stop doing what they are doing so I don’t feel this way, then your focus turns to controlling the situation rather than coming to know your own truth and making the decision to stay or leave or change something based on that truth. You can take full responsibility for how you feel and that is not dependent on anyone else.
John: What if the person doesn’t want to see the truth?
Amy: I think that’s probably based on some intense early conditioning.
I really do believe that emotional people are the best equipped to handle the truth and it’s actually what they really want. At the base of it, they might think they don’t, they might think they just want to feel better, but if they knew what the truth felt like, that would be way more satisfying to them than just being happy or being stable. There’s a depth and a sense of fulfillment that goes beyond the mind’s fragile sense of stability or security through control.
Now I’m not saying that if you’re someone who’s had some really intense emotional experiences in your life or have found them really hard to tolerate that you shouldn’t get help. It can take a lot of support to learn how to be able to process the emotions, to be able to sit with your own feelings and tolerate how bad you feel. Sometimes that can take some companionship and some sense that you’re not alone because it can be really intense and scary if you’re alone in that. It would be very natural to need or want to seek support.
In some ways, the emotional process is also a huge driver for relationship. It’s the source of passion, need, want, and desire. It’s all the things that pull us into relating to each other and getting into an experience. So it’s natural for some interaction to be needed there. But at the core of it, at the bottom of it, what you feel is telling you more about what’s true for you.
John: So what can people do about how intense their emotional experience can be at times?
Amy: I think one thing that can be helpful is if you can remember and hold onto the fact that you are not your emotional experience. That’s not all that you are. You’re a person who’s having an emotional experience, but that’s not everything. That’s not all that you are. If there’s some part of your awareness that can stay online enough to be able to watch the feelings happening and not just be completely identified with them, then that’s a way to start making some space in there.
John: It seems like a lot of the suffering and difficulty with this process comes from trying to either control or suppress it or manage it in a way that does not allow its expression.
Amy: And maybe also not being able to get to the truth of its expression. Like, get to the bottom of it. I mean, maybe it’s like, I’m so angry you, I want to kill you. That’s an intense feeling to have. It doesn’t mean you should kill somebody, but you might feel it that intensely. So to be able to actually be with that and let it be what it is, not have some big reaction like, oh my God, you should never think that you want to kill someone. Repress that, suppress that. There must be something wrong with you. You must be crazy or psychotic.
John: Which goes back to the original question. Can you experience the emotion, the feeling without being compelled to actually act on it? Can you work with it? Let it move. Not suppress it. Breathe through it, but not act on it.
Amy: Well, I think this question of conditioning is really important. Many emotional people are told that they are “too much” when they are young. And still in relationship, especially with non-emotional people or non-emotional parents, they are threatened with the fact that if they don’t control, suppress or deny how they feel, they will lose the relationship, they will be left, they won’t be loved, they won’t be accepted. In the heat of intense emotion, the emotional child may need to be alone, but know that they are not being rejected or be with someone who can name and accept how they feel.
Also if you look at the world, if you look at things globally right now, there’s a lot of focus on how women have been oppressed by gender conditioning. Women have gotten really fucked over and there’s a lot of focus on that. But men have gotten really fucked over too, and one of the core things to what a lot of therapy teachings call male oppression is about male emotionality. And men have been conditioned to kill and repress their emotions. So if you’re having extreme emotions as a man, if you’re acting like a hysterical person who has these really intense feelings, there’s something wrong with you. You’re not a man. And that’s a deep problem.
And then if you’re talking about something like military training or intense masculine conditioning in the world, male-oriented training. Even some male-oriented spiritual training. They’re all teaching us to beat it down. Kill your emotions. Ignore, repress, or dominate them.
John: And this isn’t a gender issue?
Amy: It’s not a gender issue. But I think men don’t get enough support in it being okay to have really intense feelings, to feel intensely hurt or intensely sad or intensely scared. You’re not supposed to feel those things if you’re a man or you’re supposed to suppress that or overcome it. And then a lot of these hardcore types muscle through, trying to dominate things. A lot of training is about killing your emotions when really what an intensely emotional man can become is an emotional warrior or an emotional initiate.
In the end, your own emotional truth is worth more than any relationship. And the people that are correct for you will allow you your emotional process. Especially if you don’t blame them for it.
It’s about becoming strong enough to feel everything you feel and be okay with that. Learn to tolerate it. Accept that you are not in control of it, though you can control what you do. Learn that it might actually be teaching you something or showing you something about your truth and the strength of your spirit, which an emotional person is here to know: the strength of their spirit. That’s the whole point of the emotional center.
If you’ve got an emotional person with an open Spleen and everybody starts treating them like they’re fragile, everybody starts treating them like we don’t know whether or not they’re going to survive. That’s playing into this not-self concept, which is “my whole life needs to revolve around whether or not I can survive and who do I need in my life – or what do I need to control or what do I need to do to make sure that I am secure?”
And that’s just not the point at all. None of that is the point. The point is that you are intensely emotional and there’s truth and strength in there if you can learn to accept it and not be impulsive about it. You might need some examples and some companions around you who can be with you in the intensity of what you feel. And not make you wrong for it and thinking you’re inadequate because you have intense feelings.
And you might need a really good therapist. A lot of somatic therapists are great because they work the content of the feelings as well as the energy in the body itself. There are some good ones out there.
So, one of the things that can be so healing is for emotional people supporting each other or even just interacting with each other. When you have two emotional people who both know what it’s like to have really intense feelings. If they’re learning to experience that, they can understand that in each other the intensity of what they feel rather than having non-emotional people around them who are afraid of what they feel. And then they, in turn, are afraid of losing the relationships in their lives based on how strong their feelings are.
John: That sounds like a ‘hostage’ type of situation?
Amy: Yes, an emotional hostage situation. Where you have an open emotional person and an emotionally defined person, and from the point of view of each person, it becomes an emotional hostage situation. The open emotional person is feeling everything the emotional person feels and amplifying it and afraid of doing anything to intensify that emotion or get more of an emotional reaction out of them. So then the non-emotional person starts hiding the truth or starts avoiding the truth in order to not incite an emotional reaction. It’s going to be too much for them to deal with. Now the open emotional person is held hostage by the situation.
If you’ve got a long term relationship dynamic like this, what the emotional person is learning over time is that if I feel things too intensely and express them too intensely, then my partner gets afraid, or my partner withdraws or my partner freaks out. And so I have to figure out how to, how to squelch my emotion. So I don’t scare the people around me or lose my relationships because of how intense I am. When you get two emotional people together, one of the things that they can do for each other is to be okay with the fact that feelings are intense sometimes and we don’t have to resist it. They can be in it together and can just accept it, allow it.
Of course, without some patience and awareness, they can also be really heated and escalate quite a lot. Whether or not this is correct for you depends on how you feel about it over time. If an open emotional person is aware, they can be very empathetic, a great guide for the emotional being.
Ultimately, however, looking at designs doesn’t tell us whether or not a relationship will work. If you are emotional and you feel your feelings and listen to them, they will reveal who is correct for you or not.
We are all in the process of a deep education about the emotional center. It is mutating. It is on the brink of change and we have a lot to learn about how to be with it and handle it well. Whether you are emotionally defined or not, it is a really valuable thing to be studying right now and it affects us all.