Disentangling Feelings and Thoughts

December 2023

Feelings and thoughts are intricate. That's crazy. You can easily mistake one for the other, not knowing which one came first.
Like the egg or the chicken.

In fact, although feelings and thoughts might look kind of the same at first, they differ in 1 major way :
Contrary to thoughts, emotions are physical.
An emotion is felt in the body : fear, excitement, anxiety...
You coudn't have emotions without a body.

One sentence from Eckhart Tolle gave me a transforming insight about it when I was 22-23 : emotions are bodily reactions to thoughts.
And I realized that damn, that's true : everytime that I feel something, it's because I thought something.
And when I thought it was not the case - that I was feeling an emotion without prior thinking - it was only to realize later that the thought had passed so quickly that I was just left with the feeling, apparently coming from nowhere.

These are beautiful realizations to have : when you start to observe your thoughts, you become able to discern what you previously hadn't the agility to see going on in your own headspace.
Typically those super rapid thoughts.
Now you see them, rapidly, just a glimpse, but you can confirm that to yourself: yes, emotions are reactions to thoughts.[1]


[1] It's already a very useful realization : when you're having a bad feeling moment, if you tell yourself "my body is reacting to bad feeling thoughts I'm generating right now" it already bypasses a great deal of the emotional charge.
Deidentifying from your thoughts is always good. Because it relies on truth: they're not you. And you're wrongfully being a slave to them, living to their rythm. They've been making you dance for too long.