Emotions vs. Feelings

Emotions vs feelings

I read and listen to a lot of books. I put a concept on the shelf, but it keeps coming up — so I’m ready to turn the page and bind the ideas together. Mark my words. This video is a new chapter in comprehension. 

The concept is there is a difference between emotions and feelings. Most of us don’t see it that way. Mental fitness requires noticing small details like this. 

There are basic emotions: love, joy, anger, sadness, fear, surprise, contempt and disgust.  They’re instinctive — like disgust when you smell B.O. Unless it’s a hockey bag, it’s a sweet smell. The feeling is what it means. It smells like hard work, learning and fun. No sweat for me.  But it disgusts my wife. She feels that hockey bags are gross. When our son is done playing, her view may change.

Mental fitness requires knowing the difference. When faced with a big moment, fear is an instinctive emotion. The feeling is panic. Sometimes we use feelings to explain away emotions we don’t want to experience. 

Unexpressed embarrassment leads to shame and hiding. Unprocessed and avoided fear can lead to anxiety and worry. Disgust leads to judgment, condemnation and conviction.  

Three books explain this concept well: Emotional Agility by Susan David, High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard, and The Mountain is You by Brianna Wiest

How do you take action? Think about your strong reactions to things. We often cheat ourselves by viewing them as unfixable personality traits.    

Lean into strong reactions. Observe patterns. Write notes in your phone. Think about the trigger,  the basic emotions and the feeling attached to it. Think about the racing thoughts that result. If you’re mad at others, they are usually vengeful and attacking. If you’re shutting down, it’s the same, but directed at yourself. If you’re frozen, you think helpless statements and that you’re screwed.   

You gain power in two ways if you do this. First, the loop is predictable and you know that it ends. Second, it allows you to interrupt the pattern of thoughts becoming things and things become truths and truths become distractions. Creating a new pattern may mean some extended struggles. You may have to start with just rebooting your brain until you learn more or try more. 

Change the meaning. It’ll change the feeling. Pressure is a privilege. Struggles mean I am excited for the challenge.