man crying because he feeling his emotions

Emotions VS Feelings

I’m building this whole company around the concept of a feeling.


I love that feeling, it’s liberating and to and extent intoxicating for me. So I figured if I’m going to build my company around a feeling, I better really understand what feelings are, and how they differ from and relate to, emotions.

Feelings and emotions are intertwined. I believe the biggest difference to be that feelings are more often than not an amalgamation of the core emotions. You feel the core emotions but feel-“ings” are the comprised of emotions you are feeling in rapid succession.

The following is why I believe this to be true based on the research from Paul Ekman.

According to Dr. Ekman, there are 7 core emotions that are visible on though micro-expressions on the face.

  • Joy
  • Sadness
  • Disgust
  • Contempt
  • Surprise
  • Fear
  • Anger

These are cut and dry and we have certifiable evidence across cultures that they exist. So I’m calling these the ‘core emotions.’

Here is where I’ll add a bit of my own philosophy on the matter. From these core emotions, one can get varying degrees. I term them as low, (normal), high, and extreme.

For instance, you might have low anger, aka frustration or annoyance, anger (normal anger, just being angry), high anger, hatred, and then lasting extreme anger, or rage.

Emotions evolved to protect us the individual and keep us safe in the world so our species could survive. Typically in nature when we encountered a lion, our fight or flight response would ignite, adrenaline would kick in and we would make a split decision on what to do next. In the case of the lion, run like Usain Bolt so you don’t get eaten. We would then calm down after successfully getting away, and have a wild story to tell the tribe through with grunts.

The issue with our day to day lives now is that there are no serious threats like that so our minds feel a need to create them, our fear centres are constantly ignited from financial stress, worrying about Lisa flirting with our man, or how the news incessantly pumps fear into our heads about isis coming for us.

Whatever the case the issue is we are in a perpetual state of fear or other emotions witch leads to our mental, physical, and emotional downfall.

Let’s pull back and get back on topic though. If emotions are these inherent protectors, what are feelings?

Well, feelings are a bit more ambiguous. Mainly because as humans we love to complicate things but we also can feel a mixture of emotions at once and a single word for this mixture of emotions can actually help simplify, I know a convoluted idea, but we make it more complex by creating more words to describe what’s happening to us, which makes for great poetry, but poor emotional intelligence. Also with more words, we can somewhat simplify to better describe what’s going on instead of “I’m feeling a mix of joy surprise and fear,” aka anticipation.

So the point I’m still working to prove is that feelings are a combination of the core emotions we have.

Now I know you’ll likely think but I “feel” anger, which would make anger a feeling, yes. Anger itself, however, is classified as an emotion and a feeling, but other feelings such as resentment (anger and contempt), would be classified only as feelings and not emotions.

This has helped me simplify and better understand what’s going on inside this always running supercomputer between my ears. I hope this explanation is able to help you better understand yourself and others.

Check out the second article [here] that goes deeper into why I choose to name my company reliefkey, after a feeling as well as how I define and experience relief.