Emotional Message Chart – Linda Kohanov




Fear“Intuitive, focused awareness of a threat” to your wellbeing

(external threat)

“What is the threat?”

What action must I take to move to a position of safety?

Worry, anxiety


Dulling of the senses

Panic, terror, dissociation

VulnerabilitySomething significant is about to change or be revealed.


(internal threat to self-image, beliefs, or comfortable habits)

What belief, behaviour or perception is being challenged?

How might my life change if I accept this new insight?

Who can I get to help in integrating this new information?




AngerA physical or emotional boundary has been crossed.


(Sometime unconsciously, sometimes by a person who’s trying to bend you to his/her will).

“What must be protected?”

What boundary must be established or restored?

“Rage, fury”


Deflected Rage (exploding at an innocent bystander)


“Boredom, apathy” (masks anger that can’t be dealt with; a non-violent coping strategy)

Incongruence Alarm

(Can feel like anxiety, agitation or anger depending on the situation)


(This is not chronic, long-term anxiety experienced in the presence of a specific person)

The person interacting with you is incongruent.


(Remember: Such people aren’t necessarily dishonest but may be dealing with personal issues that are none of your business).

What is the true emotion behind the other person’s mask of control, friendliness or well-being, and is it directed toward me?Rage


FrustrationThe action you’re taking is not effectiveWhere is the block?

What can I do differently?

Who can I ask for ideas and/or assistance?



EnvyThe person you envy models a talent, success, position, or lifestyle you want to develop or acquireWhat aspects of this person’s life, career, personal qualities, relationships, or talents inspire me to excel? What professional training or skills must I develop to achieve similar success? Who can I enlist for support in this next stage of growth?Hero worship



JealousyAn inequity in resources, pay recognition, opportunity or relationship has come to your attention.Exactly who or what am I jealous of? Is this an unintentional oversight? If so, who can rectify the situation? If not, how can I strategise and gather support to change an unfair system?Resentment





DisappointmentThe outcome (contrary to what you desired or envisioned) did not live up to your expectations.What was I hoping/expecting to happen? Was this realistic? If so, how can I better communicate my vision to those capable of carrying it out? If not, how can I modify my vision & better train, prepare and support the people involved?Anger





GuiltCritique of a destructive, neglectful, or abusive behaviour.


(This can be an internal critique or a transgression that others are bringing to your attention).

What questionable behaviour or action did I engage in?

What was my motivation?

How can I get my needs met in a more productive way?

Who can help me change this hurtful habit?





ShameA possible indication that you are being scapegoated.






Or a personal critique of a “defective” state of consciousness or being.

Am I being shamed by others? If so, am I being objectified or used as a scapegoat?

How can I set boundaries with these people – without shaming them?

Or am I feeling shame for an old way of being or perceiving the world?

If so, what destructive behaviours must I change to fully enter this new, more conscious, compassionate and responsible phase of life?




Suicidal Urge




(You choose when and how to let go).

“Loss is immanent and in your best interest.”“What must be released?”

“What must be rejuvenated?”




(No choice of letting go. Grief often includes anger. Having something you value taken away, even by impersonal life circumstances, is experienced emotionally as a boundary violation).

A significant loss or death has occurred, usually due to circumstances beyond your control.“What must be mourned?”

What must be memorialized, appreciated and/or celebrated?


This message refers to situational depression, not clinical depression, which may involve a neurochemical imbalance).

“Ingenious Stagnation”

“Stop sign of the soul”

What activities or relationships drain my energy most?

What new direction gives me energy?

Loss of self

Loss of life’s purpose

Suicidal urges

Physical illness

Suicidal Urge

(This message is not related to wanting to end long-term physical pain from illness).

Some aspect of the life you’re leading must end (not your physical existence).“What must end now?”

What must be culled?

Becoming like a soulless automaton

Physical death





Copyright 2012, updated in 2020, by Linda Kohanov, from her book The Power of the Herd (New World Library, 2013). An earlier version of the EMC grid, abbreviated from Kohanov’s Emotional Message Chart first presented in Riding between the Worlds, was developed by Eponaquest instructor, Nancy Waite-Obrien, Ph.D.  The emotions fear, anger, sadness, grief, depression, and suicidal urge, as well as the EMC format (message, questions to ask, and intensification) were inspired by Karla McLaren’s audio book Becoming an Empath (Sounds True, 2005), though some of the messages and questions have since been updated through extensive research and experience using the chart with Eponaquest clients. Phrases in quotes, however, are direct quotes from McLaren’s work. The messages, questions, and intensifications of vulnerability, the incongruence response, frustration, envy, jealousy, disappointment, guild and shame were developed by Linda Kohanov. The messages behind shame and guilt, while not direct quotations, were accessed through the work of Brene Brown. For more extensive descriptions of these emotions see Chapter 13 in Kohanov’s The Power of the Herd.








In using emotion as a nonverbal language, we learn how to engage authentic positive feelings to reward desirable behaviour and motivate others, inspiring groups to work together, endure long-term challenges, and perform at higher levels of innovation and effectiveness.  In the meantime, it’s important to notice how some feelings signal success in certain areas or encourage the achievement of desirable effects and states of consciousness.


Emotions facilitating rest, reflection and renewalPeacefulness, calmness, tranquility, contentment, serenity, satisfaction, fulfilment, bliss
Emotions that strengthen relationship and connectionAppreciation, empathy, gratitude, encouragement, tenderness, trust, admiration, love, compassion
Energising emotionsEnthusiasm, excitement, playfulness, amusement, happiness, joy, anticipation, exuberance, glee, delight, rapture, ecstasy
Inspirational emotionsAwe, wonder, curiosity, hope, astonishment, intrigue, fascination
Empowering emotionsConfidence, pride, passion, courage, fortitude, self-respect, conviction, fervor, dedication



Copywright 2013 from The Power of the Herd   


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