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Difference Between Emotions and Feelings
July 3, 2009 By John Voris 159 o!!ents
"!otions #nd feelin$s #re often s%o&en of #s bein$ one #nd the s#!e, #nd it's e#sy to $et
the! !i(ed u% #nd confused) Althou$h rel#ted, there is # difference between e!otions #nd
feelin$s, #nd they both ser*e us in their own uni+ue w#y)
So, why should you be concerned with the difference between e!otions #nd feelin$s #nyw#y,
Bec#use the w#y you beh#*e in this world, is the end result of your feelin$s #nd e!otions)
-e#rnin$ the difference c#n %ro*ide you with # better underst#ndin$ of not only yourself, but
of the %eo%le #round you)
What are Emotions?
Accordin$ to both #rl Jun$ #nd Soci#l Anthro%olo$ist Abner ohen, objects draw and
invoke emotions) .his is # n#tur#l %heno!enon, #nd is essenti#l for hu!#n sur*i*#l) /hen
you encounter #n un&nown, you !#y h#*e # r#n$e of sens#tions such #s0 curiosity or fe#r)
/hen you $i*e th#t un&nown # n#!e, it beco!es # si$nific#nt sy!bol of !e#nin$) 1t is
throu$h this %rocess th#t e!otions beco!e #tt#ched to e*ery ob2ect in the uni*erse) /hen
so!e ob2ect is $i*en # n#!e, it not only beco!es # 3thin$4, it #lso beco!es so!ethin$ of
3!e#nin$4) 5n # d#ily b#sis these e!otions c#n be #s subtle #s0 3li&e4, 3disli&e4 or
3#!bi*#lence4) "*en # st#te of #!bi*#lence is ne*ertheless # st#te of !e#nin$) .herefore, to
%ut it si!%ly0 Nothing, is ever meaningless)
"!otions offer the sense of life itself) "!otions deli*er the !ess#$e0 3.he e(tern#l world
6beyond your body7 !#tters4) 1t deli*ers # sense of life #s #n #bstr#ct, !et#%hysic#l ide#) Art
is # solid e(#!%le of this) A wor& of #rt re%resents the #rtist's own e!otion#l %ers%ecti*e of
life) /h#t you *#lue in life, #nd the choices you !#&e #re the results of your li&es #nd
disli&es, understood by their e!otion#l #tt#ch!ent)
8our sense of life is #n e!otion#l for!, in which your world e(%erience finds *#lue, your
re#son for e(istence #nd defines your rel#tionshi% with other thin$s th#t e(ists) "!otions #re
#n #bstr#ct, !et#%hysic#l st#te of !ind9 they #re essenti#l i!%ressions of the world, #nd your
rel#tionshi% with it) "!otions est#blish your #ttitude tow#rd re#lity, #nd %ro*ides your dri*e
for #ll of life's %le#sures)
Addition#lly, these e!otions #re connected to your biolo$ic#l syste!s, #nd #re desi$ned to
#lert you of d#n$er, or to dr#w you to so!ethin$ %le#sur#ble) 1f you did not %ossess e!otions,
you would c#relessly w#l& ri$ht u% to # lion in the S#*#nn# wilderness) 1f st#r*in$, you would
not h#*e the !oti*#tion needed to cli!b # tree, #nd %ic& it's fruit to e#t)
Protection of Body dentity !hro"gh Emotion#
.o illustr#te this %rinci%le, let's use the encounter with # lion in the S#*#nn# wilderness)
1) $wareness) 8ou !ust first be #w#re of #n ob2ect's %resence) 8our #w#reness of the
lion is #n e!otion#l elicitin$ sti!ulus)
2) Body %hange) .hese ch#n$es #re in the for! of inn#te body si$n#ls) 1n this e(#!%le it
is fi$ht or fli$ht) Adren#line be$ins coursin$ throu$hout the bloodstre#!, your
!uscles #re re#dy for #ction) 8our he#rt r#te #nd bre#thin$ #lso incre#ses)
3) nter&retation) 8ou !ust inter%ret the correct re#ction in order to %reser*e your
identity) B#sed u%on #ll the #*#il#ble infor!#tion in your surroundin$s, #s well #s #ny
%re*ious le#rned &nowled$e or s&ill, will you t#&e fli$ht, or will you st#y #nd fi$ht,
:) $ction) Now you e(ecute your decision)
%hange of %onte't, %hange of Emotion#
1!#$ine the s#!e scen#rio e(ce%t now, you #re in the ;oo, #nd there #re b#rs between you #nd
the lion) 8our sens#tions !#y r#n$e #nywhere fro! curiosity, to #%%reci#tion or #d!ir#tion
o*er the be#uty of the #ni!#l) More th#n li&ely, fe#r would not be %resent) 8our new
#w#reness now includes the b#rs, which %ro*ide the e!otion#l ide# of se%#r#tion, #nd
%rotection)
Protection of (ind dentity !hro"gh Emotion#
.o illustr#te, i!#$ine th#t you found # lo*e letter in your s%ouses co#t fro! # co<wor&er in the
office)
1) $wareness) 8ou beco!e #w#re th#t # life #lterin$ situ#tion e(ists by re#din$ the
content of the letter) 8our #w#reness of # 3lo*e letter4 to your s%ouse is #n e!otion#l
elicitin$ sti!ulus)
2) Body %hange) 8ou feel your body re#ct) Adren#line be$ins coursin$ throu$hout your
bloodstre#!, your !uscles tense u% for #ction) 8our he#rt r#te #nd bre#thin$
dr#stic#lly incre#se) 8ou be$in to %ers%ire, #nd feel sic& to your sto!#ch)
3) nter&retation) 8ou !ust inter%ret the correct re#ction in order to %reser*e your
identity) 8ou be$in to %rocess the situ#tion co$niti*ely, dr#win$ on #ll of your
&nowled$e th#t #%%lies to the !o!ent) 8ou beco!e #n$ry due to the betr#y#l) B#sed
u%on your %erson#l beliefs, life $o#ls, #nd the de$ree of i!%ort#nce of the betr#y#l,
you !#&e # decision on how to confront the situ#tion)
:) $ction) Now you e(ecute your decision)
%hange of %onte't, %hange of Emotion#
Now, i!#$ine th#t you disco*er th#t the letter w#s in f#ct $i*en to your s%ouse by # distr#u$ht
co<wor&er, who found it in their s%ouses co#t) 8our inter%ret#tion of the !e#nin$ of the letter
h#s now ch#n$ed) An$er $i*es w#y to relief)
8our sense of identity is %hysic#l but #t the s#!e ti!e !ent#l) Both of the #bo*e e(#!%le
illustr#te how e!otions ser*e #s # tri$$er to ensure sur*i*#l of self, but it is the second
e(#!%le th#t illustr#tes # f#r !ore i!%ort#nt %oint)
8ou h#*e # sense of !ent#l identity in the for! of unch#n$in$ beliefs th#t you identify with)
1t is this cluster of ide#s th#t #re essenti#l in order to %reser*e your sense of 3self4) 1t is the0
3who you #re4 in the world th#t you !ust %rotect #t #ll costs)
As # s%ouse li*in$ in # %#rticul#r culture #nd econo!ic en*iron!ent, you !ust %reser*e the
di$nity of self #s defined by th#t culture) =i$nity co!es in the for! of #n Authentic st#te of
wholeness, with #ll its fr#ilties #nd in#de+u#cies) >e$#rdless of the errors you !#&e in life,
you !ust !#int#in # sense of # sin$le self)
?in#lly, emotions are intense b"t tem&orary) .o h#*e the! be #ny other w#y would be f#r
too stressful on your body@ .he const#nt stress would e*entu#lly le#d to so!e *ery serious
%hysic#l, #nd !ent#l #il!ents)
What are Feelings?
As the ob2ects in your world induce e!otions within you, they #re collected in the
subconscious #nd be$in to #ccu!ul#te) .his is es%eci#lly so when si!il#r e*ents #re
re%e#tedly e(%erienced) Alti!#tely they for! # fin#l e!otion#l conclusion #bout life, how to
li*e it, #nd !ore i!%ort#ntly, how to sur*i*e %hysic#lly #nd !ent#lly in # world of ch#os)
/hen this h#%%ens # feelin$ is born) 1n this w#y, emotions serve as a sort of, )Feelings
Factory*)
5nce feelin$s #re est#blished, they often feed b#c& into your e!otions to %roduce the
#%%ro%ri#te result to insure sur*i*#bility)
1!#$ine you obser*e your child #%%ro#chin$ #n electric#l outlet with # %#%ercli% in h#nd)
8our sustained feeling of love for your child, will $ener#te the temporary emotion of fear, #nd
you +uic&ly #ct by yellin$ 3No@4 #nd sw#ttin$ your child's h#nd #w#y fro! the outlet)
Berh#%s your child res%onds with sur%rise #nd #n$er, #nd defi#ntly #tte!%ts to insert the
%#%ercli% into the outlet #$#in) 8our sustained feeling of love for your child, !#y $ener#te the
temporary emotion of anger bec#use your child is e(%ressin$ stubbornness, #nd disres%ect to
your #tte!%ts #t %reser*in$ his or her life)
Cere is #nother e(#!%le) 1!#$ine th#t # %rofession#l sn#&e h#ndler offers you #n o%%ortunity
to hold # sn#&e) 8ou !#y %ro2ect the 3Joy4, of touchin$ the sn#&e, bec#use you re#lly w#nt
the e(%erience #nd the sens#tions th#t $o #lon$ with it) Cowe*er, you h#*e difficulty !o*in$
%#st the4?e#r4, of %otenti#lly $ettin$ bit) 8our solution, .o #%%ro#ch the situ#tion with $re#t
c#ution) #ution is # sust#in#ble feelin$ th#t is the b#l#nce %oint between two te!%or#ry,
e!otion#l %otenti#lities) N#!ely, th#t of 3?e#r4, #nd 3Joy4)
?eelin$s #re %roducts of e!otions) But unli&e short ter!, intense e!otions, feelin$s #re0 low+
key, stable and s"stained over time)
!he Differences of Emotions and Feelings in a N"tshell,
Feelings, Emotions,
?eelin$s tell us 3how to live#*
"!otions tell us what we )like* and
)dislike#*
?eelin$s st#te04.here is # right #nd wrong
w#y to be#3
"!otions st#te04.here #re good #nd bad
actions#*
?eelin$s st#te0)yo"r emotions matter#*
"!otions st#te04!he e'ternal world
matters#*
?eelin$s est#blish our long term attit"de
tow#rd re#lity)
"!otions est#blish our initial attit"de tow#rd
re#lity)
?eelin$s #lert us to antici&ated dangers #nd
%re%#res us for #ction)
"!otion #lert us to immediate dangers #nd
%re%#res us for #ction
?eelin$s ensure long+term s"rvival of self)
6body #nd !ind)7
"!otions ensure immediate s"rvival of self)
6body #nd !ind)7
Feelings are -ow+key but ."stainable# Emotions are ntense but !em&orary#
/a&&iness0 is # feelin$) 0oy0 is #n e!otion)
Worry0 is # feelin$) Fear0 is #n e!otion)
%ontentment0 is # feelin$) Enth"siasm0 is #n e!otion)
Bitterness0 is # feelin$) $nger0 is #n e!otion)
-ove0 is # feelin$) -"st0 is #n e!otion)
De&ression0 is # feelin$) .adness0 is #n e!otion)

What Does !his $ll (ean For 1o" Personally?
.he difference between e!otions #nd feelin$s is cruci#l to your %erson#l $rowth) 1f you #re
diss#tisfied in your life, &now th#t there is re#lly nothin$ wron$ with you, #nd there is nothin$
to fi() >#ther, there is only so!ethin$ to disco*er #bout yourself) Authentic Syste!s c#n #id
you in th#t disco*ery) .he uni+ueness of your feelin$s c#n %ro*ide you with # new
underst#ndin$, th#t c#n le#d to !#ny %ositi*e ch#n$es for you)