Naming Emotions

When someone says “I’m sad.” Do you ever wonder if they are really feeling the same emotion you call ‘sad?’ Or if someone says they love you, are they loving you the way you love? During my time counseling victims of domestic violence the one thing I heard repeatedly was, “how can (s)he say (s)he loves me yet treat me this way?” My response was always, “(s)he loved you the best way they knew how.”  I wasn’t offering a platitude or trying to make excuses for the abuser. I was in fact pointing out to the victim that love and every other emotion known in life comes in many shapes and forms. We label emotions based upon our usage of language. The truth is no two people are experiencing the same emotional sensation when the names of our feelings are verbalized.

I’m not implying that when your husband/boyfriend/significant other says “I love you” they are being dishonest. If the relationship is working and you both feel safe and happy, then you’re loving each other in a way that works for both of you.Don’t over think a great situation. Be grateful for what you have here.

All emotions, feelings, internal sensations, even physical sensations which arise from our emotions are based upon perception. We feel based upon expectations, expectations are based upon experiences and the resulting emotions/feelings are the results of how the experiences affected us, i.e. our perception. The same is true for every emotion positive and negative. No two people are actually feeling the exact same sensation when they name it. Every sensation is unique to each person. Over time as language developed we named these extreme internal sensations for convenience.

The closest to an example I can give you is this: there are different styles of love. We each show love and feel love based on how we process the emotion. For example, I’m a hands on, have to show you kind of girl. I show love, I may look at you and say “bite me” while I’m making you a seven course dinner for your birthday.  My mom is the total opposite. She will tell you twenty times in an hour how much she loves you, but if you ask her for a cup of coffee, she’ll tell you to get up off your butt and go get it. My mom and I have an agreement, we never give each other sweet, sensitive, sappy cards for any holiday. We always poke fun and make jokes for every occasion.

Just like sounds, smells, things we see or even basic feelings of hot and cold vary between individuals, so too, do emotions and the names we apply to them. What I believe we all should work toward is allowing this knowledge to bring about more understanding, tolerance, acceptance and closeness between us, not just as people of varying cultures, but as inhabitants of the Universe.


Categories: Children, Cultural Diversity, education, Energy Healing, Health, Meditation, Mental and Spiritual Health, Metaphysical, New Age, Psychology, Self Help, Self Improvement, Sociology, Spirituality, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Naming Emotions

  1. Sadly, I dont believe that much in love anymore.

    • Katrina

      It’s all a matter of perception, I personally lost complete faith in love not so long ago and had to change my expectations before I had any new experiences to base them on, there is still love in the world, it’s just packaged differently than you were expecting.

  2. I needed to hear this today since I’ve been feeling iffy about the love I give vs. the love I receive.

    • Katrina

      Its very difficult to feel safe in relationships (even with girlfriends and blood relatives) if we feel we are giving more than we receive or if we feel unappreciated. I totally get where you;re coming from.

      • Yeah. It’s just hard sometimes because I care so much about people. I love my family and friends more than life itself, but sometimes I don’t feel as if I’m getting the same degree of love in return. It may sound selfish, but we all want to be loved. Though I know that people love and care about me, sometimes it’s as if they don’t love me to the same degree that I love them.

      • Katrina

        Perhaps its not that they love you any less, but that you see yourself maturing and becoming a woman and you’re not sure they see you this way yet, or that they are appreciating the person you’re becoming as you mature.

      • Hmm….good point. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

      • Katrina

        Give it some thought, you’ll get a feel for whether it fits you or not

  3. Hi Katrina,
    Loved your post. I so agree that what we label as a feeling is unique to us. I’d even go so far as to say that other perceptions can also be very individual in nature. For example, if you and I look at a wall painted red, we can both agree that it’s red based on the fact that we, as a culture, have labelled that particular color as “red.” but do we see it and perceive it exactly the same way? Perhaps not. And one person’s perception of physical pain may be very different than another’s. As a bodyworker, I see this all the time. Thanks for your thought provoking blog.

    Cathy (

  4. True Love is unconditional… and it’s very difficult to give this kind of love but once you have experienced this and you continue to practice this kind of love just then you’d feel the true joy of your existence… 🙂
    Thanks Katrina… xoxo

    • Katrina

      I agree with you. In the past I’ve written about the difference between being in love and truly ‘knowing’ love. The knowing is when you get into the unconditional and find your existence with another.

      • …and it’s beautiful, isn’t it? I like to read this, do you have it here in this blog?

      • Katrina

        I just re-posted it. Many other readers are commenting on the ‘love’ issue of my post this morning. I think it fits well with the theme, thanks for asking to see it.

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