Emotions and feelings, though a risky territory, make life beautiful and meaningful. They are like the essence of living. Can you imagine a life without emotions or feelings? I definitely can’t! We explore the differences between the two in this PsycholoGenie post.
Do you know the most basic difference between emotions and feelings? Emotion is a noun, whereas feeling is a verb. You feel your emotions, but you may not necessarily emote your feelings.
Someone once said to me “You do show your emotions, but you rarely express your feelings.” What does this sentence mean? If I am showing my emotions through facial expressions, body language, or words, then how can I hide my feelings? Well, the answer is simple. Feelings are deeper than emotions.
The face can express many emotions, but it can easily mask what the heart truly feels.
That is the most important difference between emotions and feelings. We delve a little deeper into this fascinating world, as we understand what emotions and feelings really are.
Emotions are physical signals that our body is constantly giving us. They happen unconsciously. If you are experiencing fear, you may instantly start panicking, sweating profusely, etc. All these reactions will be instantaneous. But, once the factor that caused the fear has gone, you will be perfectly fine. Basically, emotions can come and go.
Feelings stay. Different emotions accumulate over time, and as our brain consciously understands them, they turn into feelings. Feelings are formed by emotions. But although two people may experience similar emotions, their feelings may differ. Personal experiences and temperament play a pivotal role in deciding what you feel. Feelings are much richer, have many more layers, and run a lot deeper than emotions. Thus, it is hard to get rid of them.
✱ For example, there’s a girl you have known for some time. You feel happy when you see her or talk to her. You feel upset and miss her when she is not around. You get jealous when she is flirting with some guy. Why are you experiencing such emotions? After digging a little deeper, you realize you have developed feelings for her. Feelings can be confusing, and it may take some time or help from your friends to realize you have fallen in love. As you can see, happiness, sadness, and jealousy are emotions that ignited the feeling of love in you.
✱ Similarly, someone’s actions may irritate or anger you. These are emotions, which may eventually make you feel bitterness for that person. Here, bitterness is a feeling.
✱ Here’s another example that will help you understand the difference. You are checking the results of an important exam; you are obviously anxious. Anxiety is an emotion. You pass the exam with flying colors, and whoosh the anxiety is gone. Now, consider this scenario. You fail or get less marks in the exam. You will develop a feeling – worry. Thus, you may worry every time you give an exam, because you fear getting less marks.
According to neuroscience, emotions are nothing but chemical reactions. These develop as we react to certain stimuli. As we start becoming aware of these emotions we get a better understanding of our feelings. Your morals and beliefs will play a major role in shaping your feelings. Feelings sustain, whereas emotions are temporary, and can be extremely intense.
As you can see, emotions and feelings are just two shades of the same color. But this difference is very important. The key to a successful life is understanding and managing your emotions better. You may not be able to change your emotions, but you can change your feelings. Of course, it is easier said than done. But remember, feelings are nothing but thoughts, on a subconscious level, and thoughts can be changed.