Emotions as Metaphors

When it comes to emotions, they can feel like they are as big as all outdoors and strong enough to take us over. Or even take us down.

Putting it into words can be difficult and feel slightly detached from the magnitude and ferocity that some emotions can cause. Even pleasant emotions can feel overwhelming.

Visualizing the emotion as an animal, object or even an event, like a storm, can help illustrate how the emotion feels to us, and may even give us ideas of how to “tame” or “manage” our emotions when they become too much.

Think of each emotion and answer the following with an object, animal or event:
For example: The feeling of anger is like a volcano. If I were to name the anger, I would call it “Mount Explosion”. I would describe the anger as being like the volcano exploding every day, and having to deal with the devastation afterwards.

– The feeling of [emotion] is like…

– If I were to name the [“emotion”], I would call it…

– I would describe the [emotion] as being like…

– Anger
– Love
– Fear
– Jealousy
– Envy
– Happiness
– Disgust
– Pride
– Frustrated
– Safe
– Protected
– Lonely

…add any others you can think of

About the [emotion]…

– If the [emotion] was a colour, it would be…

– If the [emotion] was a shape, it would be…

– If the [emotion] was an animal, it would be…

– If the [emotion] was an object/item/metaphor, it would be…

– If the [emotion] was a flower, a tree, or something from nature, it would be…

– If the [emotion] could talk, it would say… What would its voice sound like?

– The [emotion] stops me from…

– The [emotion] helps me…

– Without the [emotion], I would…

– If the [emotion] disappeared, I would miss…

– …makes the [emotion] much bigger

– …makes the [emotion] much smaller

– I am stronger and bigger than the [emotion] when I…

2 thoughts on “Emotions as Metaphors

Add yours

  1. I love this idea of emotions as metaphors. I recently got a tattoo of waves with a phrase saying “These waves will pass”. I struggle with PTSD and found myself experiencing so many different emotions over the past year at multiple levels. The idea of emotions as waves came up in many different scenarios, such as classes, talks, trainings, therapy, etc. I learned to ride the waves of my emotions all the way through until the wave came back to the surface instead of jumping off before it completed its cycle. I used to shove my emotions down which ended up doing more damage than good. Learning to ride the wave(s) has really helped in healing. Thank you for this post. I’ll continue to look at emotions as metaphors, both as someone in their healing process and as a clinician.


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