Feelings and Emotions

So what are feelings and what are emotions?  What is the difference between feelings and emotions?  Eric Jensen says, “Feelings are a learned response in the culture in which you grow up (the family, the peers, the community, etc.)”.  Think back to when you were growing up.  If you were near the stove when it was on something many of us probably heard was, don’t touch that, it’s hot.  Another example might be from being in the mall or at school.  You might see someone getting yelled at and they may be crying so you begin to associate being yelled and how you feel when that happens with crying.    Feelings are typically referred to as sensations.  They are something you directly feel.  Feelings are generally taking place within you.  There might be physical cues to what you are feeling like tears coming down your face and etc.  Emotions are reactions about someone or something.  Emotions are much easier to see on the outside and tend to take place as a reaction to something or someone.  You are angry about something or you are scarred of someone are two examples of emotions.  It is a reaction to someone or something.  Anger, fear, sadness and etc. are feelings by themselves.  Attach something or someone to them with a response/reaction and they turn into an emotion.

I personally think of feelings as neutral.  By themselves there is no positive or negative outcome of just feelings.  If you touch that hot stove and get burned it hurts but many times people will turn that hurt into anger at the stove and will kick the stove, punch a hole in the wall, or something else.  They took that feeling of pain and attached something to it and created a reaction based off that feeling which would be an emotion.  A Jedi would instead take that feeling of pain and generate it into something useful.  They might use the energy generated from the heat and pain and turn that into energy that can be used to help heal the burn and numb the pain sensation instead of turning that energy outward into anger.

In order to learn to control our emotions we need to first change our learned responses.  Through watching our parents when we grew up we might have learned to associate pain with anger.  When you hurt you might get angry and take it out on someone or something so you need to change your learned response to pain.  If you can change all of your learned responses where anger was the reaction you will have learned to control that emotion.  The key is figuring out what your learned responses are to each feeling.