Distinguishing between emotions and feelings, desires and needs

Emotions aren’t synonymous with feelings. For example, emotions are more prone to mount an attack on our mood from some vantage point in the subconscious. We’ve all experienced, I assume, that crazy swing from feeling pretty positive and then, for some small reason (outer event, word, thought) – or maybe even for no reason you can consciously think of – suddenly you’re feeling down in the dumps, angry, despondent, etc. Bang! You’ve been hit by an emotional echo. Eckhart Tolle[1] would call it the “emotional pain body”, which is ready to rear up at the slightest opportunity. This is because: “when feelings are avoided, repressed, or glossed over, they return to the individual and the communal system as toxic emotions.”[2]

I would say there’s also a difference between a desire and a need. If our desires aren’t being met, there’s likely to be an emotional response. If our needs aren’t being met, there’ll be a feeling attached. For example, we all need things like sustenance (food, water), dignity (clothing, a home, a job), safety and love. If I don’t have food, I feel hungry. If I don’t have close personal relationships, I might feel alone. It’s normally precisely when one of our needs aren’t being met that we’re in a learning phase. For this reason, I would agree with those who say that a moment of personal crisis is also an opportunity. That doesn’t detract from the fact that these moments can be very painful.

Extract from “She Who Is Unto Herself”.

[1] See: Tolle, E. (1999) The Power of Now. Hodder & Stoughton: London.

[2] Dietrich, W. (2013) Elicitive Conflict Transformation and the Transrational Shift in Peace Politics. Palgrave Macmillan: London & New York, p.114.


3 thoughts on “Distinguishing between emotions and feelings, desires and needs

    • Thanks so much for your feedback, Amitav. My aim in my own life is to “get off automatic pilot”, which necessitates the “stepping back” you refer to. It’s a struggle but there’s lots to discover about what it means to be human 🙂 Greetings, Sam

      Liked by 1 person

      • Out of this struggle and turmoil, may be we shall reach a stage where we can enter the realm of nothingness and realize the true potential of this life and how we can accentuate our purpose. Chaos is the order we fail to comprehend. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s