Difference between Emotion and Feeling

In this article we want to highlight the difference between these two terms, therefore, we are going to define them and then we will see the most notable differences between them.

The emotion

Emotions are changes or alterations in a person’s mood. These can be caused by internal factors such as ideas, desires, memories and can also be caused by external factors. Emotions are characterized by generating different affective states such as enthusiasm, depression, anxiety, among others, with high or low intensity and are usually short-lived.

To better understand emotions, we are going to point out the most important functions that they fulfill and the most basic emotions of the human being. Likewise, among the functions of the most relevant emotions, we have those of the adaptive type and those of the social type. Those of the adaptive type are those that, as their name indicates, adapt the individual to the level of appropriate behavior, to carry out a subsequent action. Those of the social type, let us say that their purpose is to communicate our state of mind to the outside world.

In the same way, we have all experienced the most basic emotions in life, among them we can mention surprise, joy and fear. The surprise fulfills the function of adapting the individual, facilitating attention and promoting curiosity towards the situation that is generating this emotion. Similarly, joy adapts us to enjoy the situation and also promotes a positive inner and outer attitude. Fear helps us to prevent dangerous situations and to be prepared to react quickly in response to the situation that promotes it.

The feeling

Feeling is the experience that comes from previously lived emotions. Likewise, the feeling comes from the rational thought that we have had or that has generated an emotion that we have had. Consequently, for a feeling to be created, it is necessary that we consciously reason about that certain emotion that we had. That reasonable thought can sustain the feeling and make it last for a long period of time.

To exemplify what a feeling is, we can take childhood. In it, through the relationship with the father and mother, one learns to love and know how one should live in society. Depending on the relationships that exist between parents and children, when they are adults they will have a feeling of gratitude and security. There will also be a feeling of acceptance of themselves. In this way, these feelings will be the ones that will guide their future actions.

Another example could be, when we do not like a fast food restaurant because the food is not good, in contrast, we may like another fast food restaurant because the food is good, even if the attention is not the most appropriate. This perception comes as a consequence of the reasoning of the emotions that we had in those specific moments. From there, feelings towards them were born and in a certain way they allowed us to learn .

That said, the differences that we can highlight between these concepts are:

  • Emotions are alterations that can become intense but are usually temporary. The feeling is the consequence of the reasoning of the emotion and will generally last as long as the importance it has for us.
  • Emotions are reactions to a stimulus or an external factor. Feelings are born from the evaluation of this emotion.
  • Emotions can originate unconsciously, such as being afraid of something, without knowing it. Feelings need to go through a reasoning process to originate.
  • Emotions fulfill specific functions in our being, such as helping us to understand, to enjoy, they even help us to protect ourselves against different stimuli. Feelings are rather a reflection, they allow us to understand and comprehend, so they have associated intellectual elements.

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