December 6, 2012

The Difference between Feelings and Emotions

It is very important for empaths (anyone, really) to be able to distinguish the difference between emotions and feelings. Very simply put, emotions carry energetic signatures of the past and are based in thoughts. Feelings are recognized through the physical body and tell you what is going on for you in the present moment.

Both feelings and emotions can have an effect upon your body and mind. Because they are rooted in some past experience, emotions try to rule your choices by reminding you of consequences and keeping you stuck in your past. Generated by the small self, they are usually triggered by a current dilemma that reminds you of what happened in a similar previous experience. Because they tend to be fear based and can contain other people’s energy, emotions are very unreliable and self-limiting.

Feelings are life force energy flowing through you as they register a response within your physical body. Unlike emotions, feelings are yours and yours alone. They are painstakingly honest as they urge you to take a look at what is transpiring for you in the here and now. They are not based on past regrets/experiences nor are they concerned about the future. Therefore, they may encourage you to give up an old belief pattern or shift into a new way of living or viewing life. Feelings give you options and allow you to be in control of what action to take based upon this energetic information they provide.

Emotions are not real—they can and will lie to you. Feelings are real and always tell you the truth, even though you may not like their message or wish it were different.

Chapter 8 of Whose Stuff is This? gives the following exercise that I believe will help you determine whether you are experiencing an emotion or a feeling. Think about a situation you are currently in. Perhaps you are about to launch into a new business venture, or make a change in residence, or leave/begin a relationship. You probably have at least two choices to make: either go for it or turn away the opportunity—at least for the time being.

Take a deep breath to center your thoughts and become aware of your feelings. Put aside any worry about what will happen in the future, and honestly acknowledge whatever you feel right now. This doesn’t mean you will act upon it—just feel it. As you release the breath, hold the thought that you will accept the opportunity being presented to you.

Now think of the situation again and consider turning away the opportunity. Did you feel an inward shift?

Which consideration made you feel peaceful, happy, or relaxed?

Which consideration made you feel tense, uneasy, or agitated?

Did you hold your breath when considering either thought?

The thought that made you feel relaxed or at ease is your true desire and more than likely the choice you should make.

Sometimes you will get an equal feeling for either option. For example, my husband was “invited” to attend a meeting at work. It was not mandatory and he really didn’t want to go, but there were certain expectations of him to be there. He did the above exercise and noticed that one choice did not generate any more feeling than the other. In cases like this, I suggest that you consider yourself first—I know that’s not easy for empaths who come from a co-dependent society or family. Decide which choice brings you the least amount of personal stress or inconvenience. If my husband were to attend that meeting I just mentioned, it would put him in the afternoon traffic and take him more than an hour to drive twelve miles home. This would cause him to rearrange or cancel his plans to work out and get some much-needed exercise. If your decision does not have a personal stress factor involved, then consider how others would benefit by your participation and go from there.

Make sure that your choices are always aligned with your true feelings/inner guidance and not by your emotions or someone’s neediness.

PURCHASE the paperback book, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You at
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The author, Yvonne Perry, is available as a spiritual coach. See for information about a free 15-minute evaluation to see if coaching is right for you.


  1. This is a very helpful exercise! I haven't read anything else that explained the difference between feelings and emotions. I think your explanation and exercise makes the most sense and can help us make choices, based on our true feelings. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for that comment, Jennifer. Having this information has helped me considerably when making decisions or getting in touch with my true self.

  3. I was struggling with this confusion last night. How fortuitous to find your exercise this morning! Thank you.

  4. Swatson217, I'm very thankful you happened upon this blog and found this post helpful. Thank you for commenting.