Posted by: forfreedomalone | 28/10/2011

Emotion or Feeling?

The English language is a rich and interesting language and, at the same time, very limited in expression. A client and I were talking about this problem today as she struggled to find the right word to convey what she wanted to convey. This article is as a result of that struggle because she was struggling with ’emotions’ and ‘feelings’.

We use ‘feeling’ to mean, ‘what is perceived by the sense of touch’, ‘an emotion’ or ‘an intuition’. I would like to explore the difference between a ‘feeling’ and an ’emotion’.

Let’s begin with an emotion.
Emotions are the emotional responses we have to what is happening right now. So, if I am handed a present my emotion would be surprise, joy, excitement etc. If I am told a friend has died my emotional response would be sadness.
Emotions are temporary and easily changed. They are very ‘head’ orientated and usually, strong. They block out feelings.

Feelings abide much deeper within us, they are not ‘head’ but ‘heart’ orientated and much more subtle. They are longer lasting; in most cases life long; and are valuable pointers to their roots……our beliefs.

Emotions are responses to what is currently happening to us, they do not indicate anything about what we believe. To be joyful when receiving a gift is not an indication of what I believe it is an indication of what my response is to the gift.
Feelings show us what we truely believe about ourselves. They reflect, not the current situation but past situations and the effect they had on us.

This client had a feeling of shame. When she finally pinned it down she could put the name ‘shame’ to it, but she had no idea what she had done about which she would feel shame. She was confusing an emotion and a feeling. She would have been experiencing the emotion of shame had she done something shameful; but she knew this was deeper, in her belly, so we knew it was the feeling of shame and therefore, told us that she believed herself to be shameful. This was not about what she had done but about who she was.

Feelings are so deep and so entwined with who we believe ourselves to be that we frequently develop ways to avoid feeling them. Food, alcohol, drugs, sex, TV, shopping and a hundred other things are used every day to avoid connecting with the feelings deep within our beings which tell us who we are. The problem is the feelings will not go away because we ignore them, they have to be faced and when they are they point us to a belief which is, in so many cases, simply a lie.

In the case of this client we identified that the shame was linked to the abuse she suffered at the hands of an Uncle. It had nothing to do with who she was but a great deal to do with who she believed she was. When she felt the feeling she was pointed back to the belief and when she faced the belief she could clearly see it to be a lie.

If you have developed a habit, be it over eating, or drinking or drug use or anything which causes you not to feel what your deeper self it trying to tell you, perhaps you can consider that that feeling is only trying to direct you to a false belief so that you can be free of a lie.

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