The Spectrum of Self-Conscious Emotions (Poster)


What do our feelings and actions tell us about how we’re doing in our relationships with others? What is the difference between the connectedness of the green zone and the disconnection and shame of the red zone? And what about what happens in the middle?

This poster looks at our ‘self-conscious’ emotions and places them on a spectrum, as a prompt for reflection or discussion and greater self-awareness of the interaction between our beliefs, thoughts, self-stories, feelings and physical state.

This is a free downloadable PDF.

Page 1 is a full-colour poster.

Page 2 is a low-ink, print-friendly version.

There are a number of so-called ‘self-conscious’ emotions which emerge out of relationship with others and tell us how we’re doing within the dyad or group.

At the ‘positive’ end is the feeling of connectedness, when all is well in our relationships and we feel ‘okay’. And right at the other end of the spectrum is shame, when we feel ‘bad’ and disconnected from others.

This poster, developed for my ‘Working with Shame‘ online course, depicts this spectrum and places each of the feelings within various paradigms:

  • what is going on in our autonomic nervous system
  • which ‘zone’ we’re in (green, amber, red)
  • what we feel
  • what our response is (e.g. fight, flight, freeze)
  • what the story is that we’re telling ourselves
  • and then what actions tend to follow.


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