How to Climb Up the Ladder of Healing and Growth (Digest)

Note: This is a digest version of a longer essay.

Continuing my exploration of our emotional nature, I am expanding upon a system defined by Elisabeth and Jerry Hicks from their book “Ask and It Is Given.”  It is called Emotional Guidance Scale.

This is an excellent tool in assessing where you are and figure out what is next in your healing and growth.

In the table shown below, identify the prevailing range of mood/feelings that you experience in your life currently.  Then take note of the feelings right above you.  While all of us oscillate among different levels, it’s not possible for you to make an instant leap from a low to high and stay there.  If you’re in the pit of depression, you forget what it’s like to be joyful — so don’t try too hard for such a leap.  But we always have access to feelings that are closer to where we are. When you are deep in to the negatives, even climbing up one level or so will not register in your head as “better.”  So the idea is to look for actions, situtions and experience that give you a sense of relief.

First, you need to accept where you are.  If it hurts, go ahead and cry, moan, complain, yell — whatever you need to do to express your feelings.  But after a while, start looking for something that feels like a break, or a relief.  Some people sleep.  Some people watch TV.  Others eat junk food.  We often look down upon these acts — for a reason.  If you’re in Level -1 or so, these acts will drag you down lower.  But if you’re in Level -5 or -6?  It’s better to eat junk food than to be suicidal.

Notice that the process of growth requires continuous evaluation.  If you were in Level -5 and got up to -3 or -2, then it is time to seek better experience than junk food — exercise, eating whole food, reading good books, etc.  It’s futile to continue what you did before to get to where you are, as your needs are different now.  You need to constantly reinvent your actions to continue your healing and growth.

Understanding is the beginning of solutions.  And remember that change is gradual — on a day-to-day basis you may not see any difference, and sometimes you go through regression. Don’t lose hope. Just keep reaching out to the feelings above you, and you’ll continue climbing up the ladder of healing and growth.

Level Prevailing Emotional State
3 Joy, Empowerment, Freedom, Love, Appreciation
2 Passion
Enthusiasm, Eagerness, Happiness
1 Positive Expectation/Belief
0 Contentment
-1 Boredom
-2 Pessimism
Frustration, Irritation, Impatience
-3 Disappointment
-4 Blame
-5 Jealousy, Envy
Insecurity, Guilt, Unworthiness
-6 Depression, Despair, Grief, Powerlessness, Hopelessness, Resignation
Healing and Growth Diagram


    1. Hi Stacey,

      Indeed. The part about reflecting often is the part I have to work hard at, not because I don’t reflect often enough, but really dig down and assess what it takes to get to the next step. As I said, things that got me here are not the things that will take me higher — and sometimes I have to discard the very things that worked for me when I was lower.

      It’s a cliche, but really, the only thing constant is the change.


    1. Hey Seamus,

      Thanks. Well, there’s time for when that kind of pep talk is needed, and there’s time for when you say just be where you are. For people around Level -1, sometimes you just have to kick their axx to get going. But for people who are lower? They may have deeper issues, there may be denial. Enabling them to live poorly is still better than letting them die. I’ve seen despair and it really hurts…but the way to heal is to embrace and feel it fully…so sometimes you need breaks, a temporary relief, a distraction that may come in the form of some indulgences. It’s definitely not for who are higher up in the path, though.

      As my wise friend once said, context is everything.


  1. Ari, I love Abraham-Hicks and I think the Emotional Guidance System is so useful for helping us live in the moment, while still propelling us forward to where we want to go. Their exercises for different levels of the scale are great too, and sometimes it just helps to see that we are making progress. For example, if you’ve been suffering grief from a loss, to move into anger is a positive sign, not a bad one, which many people might assume.


    Kelly@SHE-POWER’s last blog post..An Australian Delinquent in Paris

    1. Hi Kelly,

      >For example, if you’ve been suffering grief from a loss, to move into anger is a positive sign, not a bad one, which many people might assume.

      You really got to the heart of what I wanted to say there. As I said to Sheamus, context is very important — and this scale shows that our context keeps changing. Advises and best practices for people going from Level -1 to 0 don’t apply to people suffering in -5.

      It is very challenging, at least to me, as what I need to do to keep growing changes as I climb up higher. But it’s a very worthy challenge. I couldn’t feel my progress when I was going from like -5 to -3, but now that I’m in the positives, I can see how far I’ve come!


    1. Hi Tom,

      Really? I’m just scratching the surface of what Abraham-Hicks have to offer. My wife is the “book hunter” of the family and I just read what she hands to me. 😉 I’m beginning to suspect that I may have found a new “standard” bearer — one that helps me articulate some core beliefs. I haven’t found a teacher like that since I read Covey’s 7 Habits.


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  3. I love Esther Hicks’s book Ask and It is Given. I like the approach, in that their focus is on just feeling good, which is great because when we feel good we are at our peak and our results will reflect that.

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Welcome to OBV!

      I, at least, feel that I don’t give myself enough permission to feel good. I just get so used to being busy and overwhelmed, or stressed about something, that when I’m feeling totally good and relaxed, I feel like there’s something wrong with the picture. 😉

      As I said in the previous post, we do have to differentiate between deeper sense of happiness from more surface level gratification — because the former is the one we want to feel, all the time.


  4. What a wonderful chart. One step at time can be seen here. I try to take time each morning (after the children are out the door) to reflect on where I am, where I need to be, and where am I going.

    This is a great post. I am glad you enjoyed your past Friday. It does feel good to do something for “ourselves”.

    Tammy Warren’s last blog post..Guilty pleasures

    1. Hi Tammy,

      That sounds like a good habit. I think constant self assessment is very helpful in our continued growth. Because the more we grow, the more we encounter unfamiliar terrains — and what we used to do may not work. We need to keep changing.


  5. Hi Ari. I liked this because it illustrates that there are different levels of feelings and that realistically we do fluctuate between these levels. I also liked your statement that “It’s better to eat junk food than to be suicidal.” It’s all relative depending on what level you’re at.

    1. Hi Davina,

      Yes, exactly — context is very important. An advise that is appropriate at one stage does not apply in other stages. That’s a big part of what I wanted to communicate with this post. We need to keep changing, to keep climbing the ladder.


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