Feelings of illness and fatigue are not the same as the physical disease process. The disease is physical; the feelings are our information about the disease. Likewise, feelings of emotion are information about our physical emotions. Why is this an important distinction?
As a medic, I understand emotions as preparation states of a person’s physical body chemistry for action, or to take a step back from a situation to reflect. E-motion = energy in motion. Emotional preparations include brain and body activity, and the social messaging of facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and pheromone chemicals released in perspiration.
Why do physical emotions have all these social messaging features? They enable life-promoting responses being made by individuals to environmental changes to be communicated also to social groups, families or friends. That is the primary social purpose of emotional preparations, for mutual responsiveness in the now.
Memories will trip off recurrences of emotions in individuals, but these recalled emotions are secondary to the real-time, ongoing events in the now that are important for survival and thriving. Feelings of emotion are old memorised meanings being added to awareness in the now of new responses being made to other people and situations.
A feeling of emotion, coming from memories, may therefore be unresponsive to the true dynamic ongoing in a social interactions in the now. Misinterpretations can happen. The efficiency of spontaneous emotional expression, to communicate survival values, can be corrupted, adding to relational tensions.
Every culture I have taken Emotional Logic to has had difficulty recognising (initially) that emotions and feelings of emotion are different. This is not unique to the English language. Translating Emotional Logic into German took nearly two years, because it needed trans-culturation to overcome this problem.
My friends in Germany running a counselling training organisation had to create a totally new phrase in German for feelings of emotion to preserve this important point. We are now enjoying the fruit of all that effort, as more and more people there are experiencing the liberation that follows understanding emotional messages in the now more clearly.