Emotional. Sensual. Intuitive.

Society tends to treat these “feminine” qualities as liabilities; traits that should be suppressed and discouraged because they make us appear “weak.”

“Those characteristics are in fact the foundations of our feminine power,” says Leela Francis, author of “Woman’s Way Home,” which includes techniques and tools from her Vividly Woman Embodied Leader Tools and Training.

By resourcing the power within one’s own body, Francis teaches, “a woman can have the life of her dreams.”

One of the ways to do that is to master the world of your emotions.

“Emotional power is the freedom to feel the truth of your feelings and the ability to harness them so you’re the master of them,” Francis says. “When you can do that, your emotions will expand you rather than consume you.”

Denying, suppressing or expressing emotion to manipulate others all stifle this wellspring of potential for depth and intimacy, which is a source of mental, physical and spiritual joy, Francis says.

What can you do to begin reclaiming your own emotional power? Francis offers these suggestions.

• Indulge your emotions without dumping them on others. When you digest food, your body absorbs the nutritious elements and expels the potentially toxic wastes. Emotions must be digested the same way. It’s important to express your feelings in responsible ways so that you don’t build up emotional toxins and pollutants in your body. This may be why anxiety, depression and panic attacks have become so prevalent in our culture, Francis says. Some healthy, responsible ways to express emotion include creative endeavors, such as the visual arts – painting, drawing, sculpting; expressive arts such as singing and dancing; and healing arts such as massage.

• Don’t demand others witness your emotional expression; and don’t allow others to demand you witness theirs. Using emotional expression to evoke responses from others is manipulative and does not allow you to experience the truth of your feelings. Crying, yelling, even pretending to be happy when you’re not in order to influence someone else’s behavior are abuses of emotional expression. Not only are we denied the benefits of expression, we have to live with our own lack of integrity for using them irresponsibly.

• Make the time to engage in intimate, authentic verbal sharing. The honest, spoken expression of our true feelings allows us to tap the deep emotions that facilitate our tender connections to others. These connections trigger a physiological reaction that creates our own, natural brain elixir. When women engage in intimate conversation, it encourages the production of the hormone oxytocin, which creates feelings of euphoria. (It’s the same hormone secreted after childbirth to help our minds and bodies quickly recover from the pain of labor.) It also encourages production of the hormone serotonin, which gives us a feeling of well-being.

• Don’t impose your emotional process on others. We sometimes seek to avoid the discomfort of painful emotions by expressing them outwardly to others, for instance, angrily blaming someone else for our discomfort. Yelling at others because of the emotion we’re feeling only indicates that we have an inner turmoil, and an inner turmoil can only be resolved self to self. In addition, blaming someone else – or yourself! – for painful emotions causes us to become a victim, which creates suffering.

“These steps will help you begin to master your emotions, and once you do, you will find they will make you richer and more vibrant,” Francis says.

“Our emotions don’t make us weak; they give us the empathy and love that make us care for and nurture our loved ones. That’s pretty powerful.”