Feelings can either refer to something experienced as a result of outside stimuli reacting with one of our five senses or someone’s sensibilities, attitude, or emotional perception. Feelings are thought to be experienced for short periods of time like when you touch a stove it feels hot and you quickly remove your hand. If someone jumps out at you from around a corner you feel startled, but that will soon pass. Feelings of excitement will subside after the event has passed.
Emotion is technically a state of consciousness in which various internal sensations are experienced. Emotion can be produced by a thought, memory, or external motivator and can often change our physical state. Emotions are often said to be long-term states. If you are in love, that emotion will usually last years. Sorrow too, takes a long time to go away. Because emotions are internal you have to change your mind set to change your emotion and this process takes time. So the anger and hatred we are seeing in our country has been a long time in coming and will be a long time in going.
So, is all the anger and hatred we are seeing a feeling or emotion or both? Since most of our decisions are made on the basis of what we feel and what we believe, perhaps we should all spend a whole lot more time screening the stimuli that confront us daily and start changing how we think and what we think about. Perhaps as former Louisville Presbyterian Seminary Professor Dr. Wayne Clark used to say, we need to “stop, think and act differently”. Good advice for most of us if you consider Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.