This post was most recently updated on March 9th, 2018
Feeling vs Emotions, the battle of these two sensations is an endless one. Although feelings and emotions are entirely different from each other, more or less, we tend to use these words interchangeably to explain the same thing, i.e. how something or someone makes us feel.
Even though, feelings and emotions are closely related, but they are different instances.
Understanding the difference between emotions and feelings is very important, because as it can help a person change their unhealthy behaviour and relationships.
It can lead them to find more happiness and peace in life. Let’s dive in to see see how they differ.
Feelings vs Emotions: What’s the Difference?
Emotions are mainly about dealing with conscious thoughts, reasoning, and decision making. It can be either be fear, love, rage, sadness, or happiness.
Feelings, on the other hand, are associated with bodily reactions. To simplify what it means – feelings are basically mental (or bodily) reactions to emotions.
It includes taste, hears, and smell etc. Two people can feel the same emotion and describe it with different words, but one person can handle a particular thing, where as the other person can’t.
Example#1 – Physical vs Instinctive Sensation
Let’s start with a visualization technique to explain the difference between emotions and feelings.
Imagine, it’s summer time, and you’re standing directly under the scorching sun. Your body and clothes are sweaty and you smell horrible due to all that sweat. And let’s assume you’re extremely irritated as an outcome of this scenario.
Now, you’re “feeling” the sun burning your face, and the horrible body odour. So the burning of the skin and the bad odour, are feelings. Whereas, the irritated mood as an outcome, is the emotion.
So more of a cause and an effect relationship most of the times. A certain feeling, if acknowledged, turns into an emotion.
Example#2 – Bitterness vs Anger
In another example, imagine that you are in a zoo with your family.
You see a lion behind bars, and your feelings may range from curiosity to admiration or bitterness if you believe lions should never be caged.
Therefore, you get sad or angry at the government, or the zoo management, who put the animals behind those bars. Being sad, and angry are two emotions as an outcome of the feelings.
Example#3 – Obligations vs Likes And Dislikes
Sometimes, you have to live in a place or deal with situation that you do not like; primarily because it is against your beliefs, or does not fall within your jurisdiction. Let’s consider, the society we live in.
Some of us do not like the community, we are living in, but we have to deal with it despite our likes and dislikes.
In this scenario, the feeling tells us if we’re comfortable with it or not; but that translates into emotion of whether we like or dislike something.
Cause and effect relationship, again.
Example #5 – Worry vs Fear
I would like to create another scenario of feelings vs emotions: anxiety and fear. Suppose, you’re travelling alone at midnight, and there is no one around you. And it’s pitch dark. So dark, that you can’t see anything. And the road you’re driving down on is notorious for having people robbed by unknown gangs.
You feel worried about whether you’ll be able to reach safely to your destination or not. Deep down inside, you’re worry translates into an emotion of fear: you’re afraid of what you might face ahead.
To worry is a feeling, that leads to fear-fullness – that’s is an emotion.
Keep a Balance Between Your Feelings vs Emotions
In many cases, when people are being told what they should do or what they should feel, their feelings dictate that their emotions should matter.
When they start prioritizing their opinions, the beliefs indicate that the external world matters more. This teaches us to have a balance between our feelings and emotions.
Feelings are Substantial, Whereas Emotions are Temporary
Feelings are low-key and sustainable whereas emotions are intense but temporary. For example, you get the first prize in almost all the races in a racing competition, and you feel happy.
You will remain content for the next whole week because you won many trophies, but the joy you felt will be temporary, as in only at the moment.
Happiness is a feeling and joy is an emotion.
Long-Term Vs Immediate Survival
Feelings state whether you’re going the right way or the wrong one; but the emotions make you realize that there are good and bad actions.
Moreover, attitudes ensure the long-term survival of self, and the feelings ensure immediate survival of the mind and body.
Conclusion: Control Your Feelings to Keep Your Emotions Intact
After getting a better understanding of what is the difference between feelings vs emotions, you should learn to embrace your feelings fully and express them; but make sure you do it moderately.
Don’t start labelling your feelings. Try to remove the narrative and instead, focus on the actions you believe in.