Categories: News
      Date: Dec 30, 2013
     Title: Shawnta writes for the Erie Times News

Erie Times News


Guest Voice of Shawnta Pulliam: Teach Erie's youth to deal with emotions.

Negative emotions are feelings that we have when someone upsets us, harms us or takes us for granted by disrespecting or abusing who we are or are trying to become. These negative emotions can also emerge when we fall short of our own plans or the expectations of others. While negative emotions may result from situations and people that we have no control over, one of the worst negative emotional reactions is the emotion of fear, because we are reacting negatively to something that may never even occur or exist.

Controlling negative emotions is not just a coping mechanism that our youth must acquire to succeed but if we as adults don't work on ourselves and our emotions, we too will remain with the ability to make irreversible mistakes. In meeting with both young people and adults, I have talked about my childhood, growing up in inner-city Erie, helping to raise my brother and sister, and having trouble in school. I tell them about how I enrolled at Community Prep, the high school division of Community Country Day School, where I had mentors and learned to build self-esteem. I ended up graduating as the valedictorian, then went on to Gannon University. The key to leaning in the direction of our positive emotions, as opposed to our negative ones, is mastering the control over ourselves when other people or situations are out of balance with our inner peace and joy. Where anger leads Negative emotions can manifest as anger, anxiety and fear, whereby we become stubborn within our souls, hindering our dreams, goals, ambitions, and true selves. And as long as we give our negative emotions the upper hand, we cloud our decision-making and creativity. For instance, we can let a failed relationship slow us down and stop us from having future loving, lasting, strong relationships because of the emotions we have not healed from and let go. It is imperative to properly heal from a broken heart, disappointments and setbacks, and we must take responsibility and work on improving ourselves when situations and people attack our emotions. We must remain conscious and stable, push through our emotions like a football player breaks through his opponents to make a victory touchdown. We must continue to think positively, continue to believe we can move on, continue to think we have what it takes, and continue to think we can be and do all that we set out to achieve by staying on the high path and developing and maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit. If we want to achieve a life full of joy and peace, we must know that there is a season for everything and understand that no season stays the same. We have the power to change our winter into spring. Our power is our choice. We must go beyond our emotions by analyzing and searching deeply within our own thoughts with the primary goal of thinking clearly, making the right decisions, knowing that we can overcome any obstacle, any circumstance, or anything that may be hindering us or standing in our way. This can only be achieved through learning and speaking positive affirmations to ourselves, accompanied with Scripture, and thinking before we act out our negative response. Yes, we may cry, but we must think through our tears, meditate, and pray for solutions to our problems, healthy remedies for our pain, and an inner peace and happiness, which will result in positive emotions, effective communication, peaceful resolutions, confidence, faith, and constant movement toward our destinies. You are in charge We all have two emotional elements raging inside of us for control: our inner enemy and our inner friend. Our inner enemy is the one who prompts us to worry, lash out, and remain in doubt, fear and anger. Our inner friend is cheering for us to remain peaceful, full of joy, stress-free, prosperous, and capable of positive solutions and growth. Whomever we listen to determines how successful we will become in life. Beware of people who manipulate your emotions by taking advantage of your weaknesses, fears or anxieties. These may be friends, relatives and loved ones who are wolves dressed in sheep's clothing. Be watchful and pray for discernment so that their motives are immediately revealed. Speak positively to yourself; remove those self-doubting thoughts that come from within you and from the opinions of others. Embrace and let your inner friend arise within you and give you compliments and direction. Relax in that still, small voice letting you know you can do all things, and live your life to the fullest despite your inner enemy. And know that negative feelings and emotions do not have to live and take control within you. We must move through our negative feelings and emotions in order to change our lives for the better, accepting our God-given gifts of happiness, prosperity, wealth, emotional stability and peace, bringing our dreams and the life we dream of to fruition. Even with all of the mentors and scholastic success, my unconfronted emotions and unhealed childhood wounds forced me to confront them, learn to heal and conquer my emotions, if I had planned to succeed in life and not let "nature vs. nurture" determine who I would become. We must teach our youth of today that same secret if we want to see any real positive changes in our community. It is a combination of education, positive role models, self-esteem, controlling your emotions and having strong family support. If that strong family support is unavailable, let's not complain but become the surrogate parents and village to help raise "our" children. SHAWNTA PULLIAM is the founder the Founder of Nurturing Hearts (, a self-esteem and self-development nonprofit organization for girls. She is also the president of Shawnta' Pulliam Arise (, where she provides inspirational speaking and creates positive development programs for people from all walks of life (