What is the difference between feeling and thought?

A difference between feelings and thoughts?  It’s possibly as simple as breaking it down to this:

Do I feel  X? or Do I feel like X?  One is a feeling (the first) and the other (the second) is a thought.

Why is this an issue for me?

I have begun a process of “talking therapy” as a way to search for a way forward at this time of complex transition in my life.  I also believe that greater awareness and the building of tools that help me to achieve greater awareness will help me to become a better writer, teacher, artist, parent, and individual.

One part of that journey has opened my awareness and need, in many ways, to understand the difference(s) between feelings and thoughts.  I am motivated to do this as I search for effective strategies, solutions, and paradigmatic models for change in my life.  I seek greater understanding and ability to differentiate between thoughts and feelings because this will probably facilitate a better chance that will understand myself better and will increase my chances of being understood by others.  I sense that I have a tendency to over-think everything, but I probably won’t be able to change that tendency.  But at least I can apply my analysis for the purpose of consciously recognizing my feelings as distinct from my thoughts.

(PIC: Carl Jung (L) and Sigmund Freud (R) after a kill, presumably in east Africa).  I am the horned-beast lying dead between the two killers!

In my search, I came across some helpful and practical bits of theory, with useful and simple advice, on a website by Dr. Jim Hutt (SEE: http://www.counselorlink.com/counsletterletter3-06-16-08/).

I intend to apply this simple advice in my journey to greater awareness and improvement:

HUTT Writes:

The difference between the two is as follows:

EXPRESSING A FEELING: “I feel (or “I am”)____________________.” (fill in the blank with a feeling word below:)


(elated, enthralled, captivated, addicted, isolated—keep going, don’t be limited to the basic words…)

EXPRESSING A THOUGHT (UNWITTINGLY) DISGUISED AS A FEELING: “I feel like you always (fill in the blank.)”

SAME SENTENCE AS A FEELING: “I feel scared when you raise your voice.

EXPRESSING A THOUGHT: “It is my perception you yell more often than not when you get angry.”

When you start your sentence by saying, “I feel LIKE or THAT (fill in the blank) you are probably not expressing a feeling. This does not provide the listener an accurate account of your emotional state. Next time, take out the word “like” or “that,” and fill in the blank with a feeling word.

Published by anthonycollinsfilm

I am a documentary filmmaker, teacher, writer, and musician. I have lived, worked, and traveled in many parts of the world, and look forward to more adventures and opportunities for learning in the future. I am using this blog as a process of learning, a chance to reflect upon the past, and a good way to express what I know in the moment.

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