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Feelings and colors

Few of us have a large vocabulary for our feelings. We are angry or sad or happy – but we need more words than that. It is like trying to paint a picture with just red, yellow and blue.

Color theory teaches us that the colors blend – we can have happy and sad together in the way that yellow and blue make green. Or we can have angry and sad together, in the way that red and blue make purple. Sometimes we are more happy than sad, or more sad than angry. It isn’t equal, changing the color blend. We could be a bit of all three together, creating a really big mess. Is it possible to be happy and angry at the same time, in the way that yellow and red make orange?

We don’t have a place in our bodies for these weird colors, these blends, so we need to know how to be with them and deal with them. Just noticing them can be a good start. It isn’t about getting rid of these feelings. I don’t think it is healthy or natural to strive to be joyous all the time.

Another part of color theory is the rule of complementary colors. Red’s complement is green. Green is a blend of the other two primary colors – yellow and blue. Blue’s complement is orange, which is red and yellow. Yellow’s is purple. Complementary colors make each other look their brightest and best. So with that I get that we need to have a balance in our lives. It can’t all be yellow (happy) – because you can’t appreciate yellow (happy) without a blend of blue (sad) and red (angry).

Notice in the complementary color the balance is half-strength of each other color. Yellow is full strength, but we use only half of red and blue to create an equal amount of purple. Thus, we need to get our proportions right. Blue (sad) is balanced out by half red (angry) and half yellow (happy). That makes it not overwhelming. Red (angry) is balanced out by half blue (sad) and half yellow (happy). It isn’t about having equal amounts of each thing to get the balance.

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