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Abel’s Essays

On this page I share some essays I have written that express where I am coming from in my work. I hope they are interesting and useful. Whilst each essay is stand alone, they do build on each other, so reading them in order from 1. forwards would give a complete picture. If you wish to comment on any of these essays, then do please use the form below. I would be delighted to hear from you.

Human evolution led to us having a large brain, which, because of our upright stature, needed to be delivered through a small birth canal. The baby therefore has to be delivered early in its development and is totally dependant, not only for survival but even for understanding and operating its own body. The brain takes approximately 15 years to reach physical maturity. Even in earlier less sophisticated societies a child was incapable of survival without adults until it was nearly 20 years old. Dependency is the name of the game for humans throughout the process of development. Our psychology is formed from a prolonged period of being at the mercy of others who themselves went through the same process. It is any wonder that we do not have a perfect society or a perfect understanding of ourselves?

The Architecture of the Brain

The human brain is made up of three areas that represent our evolutionary development from early animals. First we have, at the top of the spinal cord, the brain stem which controls all necessary body functions like breathing, heart rate and other matters like hunger and sleep. These functions are pre-programmed which explains why it is so difficult to alter or override them. This area is common to all but the most simple animals with nervous systems. It is often called the reptilian brain. This part of the brain cannot learn.

Next we have the nose-brain and Limbic system. This is the first learning brain and grew out of the need to analyse information coming via the sense of smell. Let us remember here that we are descended from the creatures that survived, not the ones that got killed. The ones that survived were the ones that responded fastest to their environment – if they encountered something that was food they had to eat it quickly before it went away, and if they encountered something that was predator they had to get away themselves. This determined that a rapid system for processing the information was best – i.e. the fewer neuron connections between the input and the output the better. In other words, this is not a sophisticated arrangement and there is a limit to how useful it is when responding to complicated situations. I said that the Limbic system is a learning brain, this means that new situations are compared to previously encountered ones. In other words, memory. The emotional content of all memory, if not the whole memory, is stored in the Limbic system. As the limbic system developed with the early mammals, it formed connections with bodily functions so that the smell, sound or sight of danger led to a whole series of bodily changes to prepare for fight or flight, like increased heart rate, tightening of the gut to release blood for the muscles, and hormone release to increase muscle power. Powerful responses would also be initiated by the limbic system when encountering situations of food or sex. We humans have a fully functioning limbic system.

Finally we have the Cortex. This is a more recent evolutionary development which builds upon what was there already. This area enables a much more sophisticated processing of information and in humans the great expansion of the Neocortex allows for extracting information from the environment, and creating models with that information. This is what enables our language and imagination, and it is the cortex that performs the thinking processes

Brain Areas

The Source of Emotions

So now let’s talk about emotions. The word emotion comes from a Latin root which means ‘impulse to move’ and you can see that it is the limbic system that is the source of these impulses. When, in the poor light of early evening, we see a person running towards us with their arm raised, with a stick ready to strike, our first response is a bodily one – we draw in breath, our heart rate goes up, our general muscle tension tightens up and our pupils dilate. Our attention fixes on the person and our whole body and mind prepare for defensive action. This is fear and is it generated by our limbic system. It is a very rapid response and all cuts in before we are aware of it, even before we recognise our friend Jim waving his umbrella. That moment of recognition is when the cortex does a more accurate assessment of the information which takes so much longer than the limbic system – only fractions of a second, but very significant in terms of survival.

When we talk about emotions we do so in terms of feeling them. This is exactly correct because the limbic system has such a direct and fast relationship with the body that all of its activities have a bodily component. Fear is felt as tension over the whole body including the face, grief is often felt in the chest. We all know where sexual attraction is felt.

It is really important here to note that all primary emotions are about life or death; they are about survival, because that is the level on which the limbic system works. The limbic system was developed at a time when that was the issue, not at a time when we needed to worry about which school our child will go to or whether or not to apply for a particular job. The limbic system sees everything in terms of physical safety, eating, mating, territory, protecting young and similar matters.

Now the limbic system does not operate in isolation, because the cortex grew out of the limbic system and there are strong connections between them. The bulk of the connections pass between the limbic system and the frontal lobes – the major area for thought and skilled emotional responses. That is how the recognition of Jim prevented us from running away or hitting him first. There is a two way relationship between the cortex and the limbic system such that our thoughts are affected by our feelings and our feelings are affected by our thoughts. We can also have thoughts about our feelings and have feelings about our thoughts, we can even have feelings about our feelings. This last one is not strictly correct in that what we have are feelings arising from our judgements about our feelings.

So how does this operation of the limbic system affect us and our emotions? During infancy the brain stem completes its development first, and the limbic system reaches maturity at the start of puberty. The frontal lobes continue developing up to adulthood. So lets imagine we have a small child with minimal language skills, immature frontal lobes, and a strongly developing limbic system. The child experiences repeated capricious violence from a drunken father. The limbic system logs all this in its memory but without any of the clarity that comes with language and maturity. The limbic system cannot distinguish between this father and all men, or between factors within the child’s scope and those outside. This child grows up and the limbic system carries a memory against which it compares all future events. Now, a woman, let’s call her Sally, she freezes every time a man comes running towards her. She does not know why. She cannot articulate the feeling, she cannot control it and is embarrassed about it. In her early thirties she goes for therapy and talks about her father week after week. After 16 months of therapy she thinks that she has gained control over this until an incident in the park in which a jogger accidentally knocks over her four year old daughter and she attacks him. Why is therapy so hard and apparently so ineffective?

Here we have another factor from our development. We are born with many more neurons than we actually need and many more connections between neurons than are appropriate. At around 7 years, and again at puberty, large numbers of neurons die and many more connections wither. These are the ones that did not get stimulated or used. Our range of behavioural options has now been somewhat skewed. In the case of little Sally, the neurons and connections associated with feeling safe around men did not get stimulated, and the ones that ended up dominant in her limbic system were the ones connected to fear of men. In other words the tendency to fear men has been hard wired into her brain. I am not saying here that there is no way of learning or adapting our behaviour, what I am saying is that in her limbic system the quick response to men is fear. This response can be overridden by the frontal lobes, as when we recognised Jim earlier but the frontal lobes have to be trained so that their influence over the limbic system is faster and more powerful.

I said earlier that we can have feelings about our thoughts. Well this is the area in which the more subtle emotions arise. In the example of Jim and the newspaper the feeling arose before the thought so the feeling was a simple fear. However most of our feelings arise in the process of daily living and in connection with thoughts – as in the example of choosing a school. So our experience is one of thought and emotion arising together and can be described using a more accurate emotional language as say apprehension or worry.

It is in this area that we have most power to influence our feelings and improve our experience of life. My approach is an educational one rather than a therapeutic one because the way to change our experience of ourselves is to retrain our thought patterns (which themselves have been trained, albeit unconsciously, by our parents and society). Our realisation of the way we relate to certain things does not in itself change that way of relating, what we need to do is learn and practice new ways of relating. See my second essay on Thought Habits.

As I stated in my essay on the structure of the mind, our emotions interact with our thoughts. Now it seems that once we have reached adulthood, our limbic system has amassed a whole library of incidents and experiences against which to compare new events, which it does with little precision but great speed. It also bases those comparisons on a very out dated set of criteria – what was dangerous to a four year old is not necessarily dangerous to an adult. It seems that we do not have direct control over that process- a man who was bitten by the neighbours dog when he was five and thereafter developed a fear of dogs cannot simply say to himself I am three times the size I was when I was bitten by a dog so I am not going to be scared of dogs now, it simply does not work that way.

What we do have direct control over is what we think. But even that is not so simple. As we grow up we learn thinking patterns that determine how we react to every situation in our lives. Every one of us is a complex mixture of beliefs, thought patterns and triggers. Fortunately we never stop learning and it is possible to work on those beliefs and thought patterns to change the way we feel about things and how we respond to situations in our lives.

Old Habits

So let us look at thought patterns, specifically self destructive ones. Here are some common styles of thinking about things that have been learned and can be unlearned.

  1. Extremism
  2. Discounting
  3. Personalising
  4. Assuming
  5. Taking feelings as facts

So what do I mean by these styles?

Well what they all have in common is the avoidance, ignoring or misusing of the available evidence. It is like jumping to conclusions rather than taking the time to check out what conclusion the evidence leads to. I am not talking here about some scientific study. I am talking about matters of personal significance and communication between people. Let’s look at the five styles with some examples.

  1. Extremism can exhibit itself in the form of automatically taking something to its worst outcome as in:

          ‘If I loose this game then I will be kicked out of the team.’
or      ‘If I don’t pass my driving test I am never going to be able to drive.’

It can be a matter of generalising inappropriately as in:

          ‘Oh I can never get that right!’
or      ‘I am useless at map reading’

It can simply be exaggerating as in:

          ‘Things always go the same way for me.’
or      ‘Any sort of fool could read that sign’

  1. Discounting is usually used in response to a positive comment or praise as in:

          ‘Yes it was a good game but it was just luck.’
or      ‘Oh, it was nothing really.’

But it can also work the other way when negative information is ignored, as in when someone continues telling a story when all eyes around them are glazed.

  1. Taking things personally is so common and so easy and yet in human relationships it is usually totally inappropriate. In most cases the way someone behaves has little to do with how we are and far more to do with how they are, anyway, here are some examples:

          ‘It was all my fault.’
or      ‘If they don’t come to the party it is because they don’t like me.’
or      ‘That bartender has been ignoring me.’


  1. Assuming is the generalised form that doesn’t fit into the other categories for example:

          ‘They must all think I am so stupid.’
or      ‘They only invited me because they needed to fill up the numbers.’

  1. Taking feelings as fact leads to one of the misconceptions that is so prevalent at the present – that emotions are somehow more accurate than thoughts. This is not true, they are not inherently more accurate although that is not to say that they do not frequently reveal to us things that we had suppressed from our consciousness. The idea that if something feels right, it must be right is only minimally useful. How many of us have embarked on a relationship that felt right only to learn later the fallacy of that belief. Here are two examples:

          ‘They have been gone so long I feel sure they must be lost.’
or      ‘This way feels right, it must be the way.’

New Habits

Ok then, what can we do about these habits?
1. The first thing to do is to recognise their existence. And by this I mean recognising that they are habits, habits that were learned, and can be replaced by newer, more useful habits that can also be learned.
2. Anybody who has ever tried giving up a habit, like giving up smoking, or giving up alcohol, knows that the only effective way to give up the hold a habit has, is to replace it with a different habit. So that’s what we have to do here, when giving up destructive thought habits.
3. What we do is, we develop a more suitable habit to use in the situations we used the old habit, and then we practice that new habit. This is a very deliberate and necessarily structured process. It usually takes time. It also usually seems like no progress is being made for a long time.

There are at least three routes for this process:
a) Working alone
b) Working with a coach or some practitioner
c) Working in a group

4. Let’s use an example here, and also, let’s start with something that happens fairly often, as it’s easier to integrate when we can use the new one repeatedly. Taking Extremism – the use of words like never, always, only, everyone, nobody, are sure signs of counterproductive extremism, and it is usually a good idea to eliminate them from emotionally charged thoughts and statements.

This is one transformation that can be accomplished when working alone. Like I said, it can often seem like no progress is being made at first, because the first phase of the process is simply becoming aware of when those words are used. It is my experience that the best way to start is by reviewing thoughts and statements on several occasions each day, maybe before or after meals, before going to bed, when using the toilet. The more we do this, the shorter becomes the time between using the word, and noticing it. In fact it can be surprising how quickly we start noticing as it happens, as the words come out of our mouths. Then there comes the radical moment when we realise we are about to use the word before we speak it. Yippee.

Instead of saying to ourselves ‘I can never get this right’, we suddenly have a moment to decide to think something different. In this example, there are many things one could think, and it is very individual what any person might want to replace it with. How about ‘I might get it right this time’, or ‘One day I will get this right’, or ‘I am determined to get it right’. Notice that we are not replacing with another extremism, or a statement that is clearly untrue, or a statement that the thinker cannot believe even as they are thinking it. We are making a gentle shift towards the positive, with a new thought.

It may seem to some, as tho this is unrealistic. It is trying to change thoughts and statements without dealing with the source of the thoughts. Actually, that is exactly the point. We are not concerned with where that thought pattern came from, because what is relevant now, is the thought being a habit, and any habit can be changed. Anybody who has changed thoughts like this, will tell you that gradually their mindset changed to match the new thought style. The common aphorism ‘fake it until you make it’ is repeated because it actually works.

5. Another example from Discounting, and here I want to move into a slightly different territory, that of discounting the experience of others. Take ‘Oh don’t be so silly, it’s not that bad’. This sort of thing is said by parents so often it hurts my heart. Or how about ‘Oh it doesn’t matter’ when said to one’s self, or to a friend. In both these cases, the experience and the emotions are being either denied, or diminished.

Again I am not going into the cause of that habit, which certainly has connection to the speakers discomfort with theirs and other people’s emotions. This may be a valid avenue for exploration, but will knowing the patterns of a person’s parents, who taught them that habit, help change it? No. So we must get on with changing the habit, and surely, the speaker will go thru a period of increased discomfort, as they encounter their own emotional response to the experience of others. This is a necessary part of the transformation, but the point here, is that it leads to both a greater knowing of themselves and skill with emotions, and a much improved quality of relationships generally.

This one is certainly more challenging to work thru on one’s own, and benefits from the input of a professional to help process the new engagement with emotions, but it is quite possible to do. All it takes it commitment.

With this example, it is helpful to start formulating alternative thoughts and statements to provide assistance with the trigger that identifies when statements are made that are discounting. Some examples;

  • ‘Tell me more about how that feels’ – for parents especially
  • ‘Would you like to talk about that?’
  • ‘Gosh, how do I feel about that?’
  • ‘What is it I am missing here?’
  • ‘Is that right, I never realised.’

You will notice that in all these, there is either a direct question, or an implied question. The point of this process is to start generating an attitude of enquiry to replace the attitude of dismissal. This is what moves the process forward of identifying occasions when the first reaction is discounting or dismissal.

So again, there is a slow and gradual process of shortening the time delay between making statements and identifying them, until there comes that moment when the first impulse is to use the new style of statement.

I say this because I have been thru it myself. When my son was six years old, I went on a Non Violent Communication training, and came back with this strategy. It took months to change myself, but it worked (mostly), and my parenting was better for it.

6. Final example. This one uses the professional or the group. The reason is that this uses the process of repetition to develop a new habit under non stressful situations, until such time as it becomes the automatic response in the real life situation. This is analogous to how soldiers are trained by extreme repetition under safe conditions, so that, under the pressure of real combat, they do things automatically. As you can tell, it is useful for behaviour patterns that occur under stress. And I don’t just mean obvious stress. This could apply to the relationship with the boss, or to shopping, or to a difficult conversation, as much as to getting the children off to school on time, or a job interview, or handling a tight travel schedule.

The method is role play. This method is often useful with Taking things personally. An example would be; having cooked a special dinner for one’s partner who arrives home late. This situation gives plenty of time for a downward spiral of thoughts, each one built on the previous, based on a set of assumptions and beliefs that do not necessarily relate to the current situation. When the partner arrives, the conversation is out of control before it even starts: “Hello darling, sorry I am late.” “And what time do you call this?” I do not need to describe the rest of the conversation, we can all play it out in our heads.

Here are some possible thoughts and assumptions here.

  • They don’t care enough to call me.
  • What I want is not important to them.
  • They don’t care about how I feel.

So what might we say in a role play? Here are some suggestions;

  • ‘I am really annoyed that you didn’t tell me you would be late. I have been waiting here wondering where you were. Do you think you could tell me when you know that you are going to be late?’
  • ‘I had hoped that we would have an intimate dinner tonight, but now I find myself resistant to you, and I am very sad about that.’
  • ‘I am sure you would have called if you could have. Please tell me why you are so late.’

Conversations are often a good event to practice in role play. This can cover planned conversations about difficult subjects as well as the emotionally powerful unexpected exchanges. The point is about practicing repeatedly until the new style becomes more natural and available in the moment.

In Conclusion

This essay is not intended to be comprehensive about all thought habits, we can also have beliefs that drive our thoughts and these in turn drive our emotions. Rather, my aim is to demonstrate that we can change our thoughts, and therefore change our feelings, and thence change our lives. Perhaps the most pervasive destructive thought is ‘I cannot change.’ My hope is that we can all replace that thought with ‘I can change’, and then go on to change, and thereby transform our lives.

In my previous essays, I spoke about feelings and referred to how they can be changed by changing our thoughts. Here I wish to present more details about the different levels and sources of feelings. They are feelings because they occur in the body, even tho they are generated in the brain. If an experience is not felt in the body, it is not a feeling, no matter how it has been described by social custom and habit. In my essay on the structure of the brain, I showed how there are three basic levels, that each added to the sophistication of the previous level. This also applies to feelings, so we have three levels of feelings. Feelings arise in relation to unmet needs, met needs, and the process of meeting needs. This is perhaps the most important sentence in all my essays. Notice that in all the tables below, the left column indicates the need that the feelings arise in connection with. No need – no feeling.

Primary Level Feelings – Physical Needs

  • These feelings arise in response to internal events.
  • They are mediated via the Brain Stem and Limbic System – present in all animals from reptiles to mammals
  • Meeting these needs mostly leads to a neutral feeling
  • Pleasure is experienced during the process of meeting these needs
  • Tho very basic feelings, these can still be affected by the higher level human brain

I show these feelings in the table below. Look carefully at the list of needs and notice that there are few of them, and they are essential for survival. We all have all these needs and all feel these feelings in relation to these needs, and we share them with all mammals and most other animals.

Need Unmet Feeling Met Feeling
Food Hunger Satisfied
Water Thirst Quenched
Temperature Cold/Hot Relaxed
Activity Restless Relaxed
Rest Tired Alert
Strength Weak Strong
Health/Integrity Pain Neutral


Secondary Level Feelings – Personal and Social Needs

  • These arise in response to external events. No human level thoughts involved, altho some information processing does happen
  • They are mediated via the Limbic System
  • Fulfilment and Pleasure occur during and immediately after fulfilling a need and are short lasting
  • Safety is longer lasting and low intensity, similar to the lack of feeling once primary level needs are met
  • This list is in alphabetical order of the feeling, no other order is implied

Notice how fundamental these needs and feelings are, and notice too how we again share them with other mammals.

Need Feeling I feel Event Movement
Protection Anger Angry Threat to offspring, territory Towards source
Protection Disgust Disgusted Threat from Environment-Smell,  Sight Away from source
Various Excitement Excited Anticipated need fulfilment Towards goal
Protection Fear Scared, Frightened Threat to self Away from source
All Fulfilment Fulfilled, Satisfied Need is met Static
Connection Grief Sad Loss Withdrawal
All Pleasure I enjoy Activity fulfilling a need Static or Towards source
Protection Safety Safe, Comfortable Protection or connection achieved Static
Predictability Surprise I am surprised, shocked Novelty Towards source


Tertiary Level Feelings – Feelings Arising from Thoughts

  • These are feelings about thoughts, feelings about thoughts that are about other feelings
  • They are mediated via interaction between the Limbic system and the Frontal Cortex – the part of the brain that sets humans apart from other creatures.
  • They often involve more than one need and feeling
  • This list is not intended to be complete

These are the feelings that we can change because we can change the thoughts that generate them. We are not ruled by them. We can be sure we share them with all other humans, but now it becomes less clear how many and to what degree we share these with other mammals. We can see some of them in other primates, but we have to be careful not to attribute them to other animals as if they were humans.

Need Feeling I feel Thought Secondary Feeling Other ‘I feel’ words
Predictability, Power Disappointment Disappointed Positive Expectation (past) Grief, Fear
Connection, Power Embarrassment Embarrassed Loss of power in society Grief, Surprise, Fear
Several Excitement Excited Positive Expectation (future) Safety Eager
Potency, Power Frustration Frustrated Something should change Impotence
Connection Gratitude Grateful Need met by another person Fulfilment Thankful, touched, moved
Power/Potency Impatience Impatient Waiting equals powerless Fear Urgent
Power Irritation Irritated Somebody should… Anger Annoyed, furious
Connection, Affection Loneliness Lonely Isolation Grief, Fear
Potency Nervousness Nervous Negative Expectation (future) Fear Anxious, concerned
Potency Optimism Optimistic Positive Expectation (future) Safety Confident, hopeful
Power Pride Proud Increase in Power Fulfilment
Several Relief Relieved Negative Expectation (past) Safety Glad
Power, Connection Shame Ashamed Past Action was wrong Grief, Fear


Most of my work is in helping people to change their thoughts so that they can change these feelings. I will write more on that in my next essay.

Understanding ourselves, our feelings, and the feelings of others is essential to creating successful relationships. And yet, at this time, we do not get taught about feelings in school, and we do not get taught the language to use around feelings. In fact society presents us with language that specifically hides or disguises feelings, and confuses feelings with thoughts.

Social Verbal Habits

There are two huge verbal habits in society that we have to transform if we are to raise the level of emotional skill in ourselves and society.

I feel that…

This is a habit that is endemic in society, and which disturbs me every time I hear it. The reason this disturbs me so much is that when I hear it, I know that what is going to come next is not a feeling at all, it is a thought. The wording is fundamentally dishonest. ‘We feel that this is unacceptable behaviour’ reveals to us that the speakers have assessed the behaviour and believe that it is unacceptable, according to their standards. Maybe they are angry, maybe they are disappointed, whatever they are feeling, we do not know from their statement. Now remember from my previous essays, we can change how we feel by changing our thoughts. But if our language hides our feelings from us, then how are we to identify them, and if our thoughts are presented to us as feelings, then how are we to change the thoughts? What I am saying here, is that it is essential that we learn to use our language so that it supports us in identifying and understanding our feelings, and so it helps us discover the thoughts that are generating so many of those feelings.

This habit also prevents the honesty of saying ‘I think…’ or ‘I believe…’. In this way we hide the reality that these are our thoughts, or our beliefs; we pretend that we are speaking our feelings.


The other verbal habit is the use of ‘you’ when we mean ‘I’. Again, a trick to avoid taking responsibility for who we are, what is our experience, and what we feel. At many workshops, trainings, and support groups I have attended, one of the first ground rules of the group is ‘Make I statements’. There are two reasons why this is so important, besides the confusion that can arise when one person is speaking to another and the listener finds themselves unsure if the speaker is perhaps speaking about them, the listener.

  1. The first reason is the necessity to take responsibility for the statement. Often the statement is one about a human experience that many share, usually including emotions. Using the ‘you’ term generalises it. It certainly may be a common experience, but the speaker is speaking about themselves and their personal experience. Once they own the experience, the listener knows that it is their genuine experience and can connect to it. There is then no risk of a debate about what the common experience really is, because that is not relevant.
  2. The second reason is more internal for the speaker. Speaking our truth is an important part of communicating, and hearing ourselves as we speak is of profound significance to our own understanding. When we say ‘I feel…’ we hear ourselves say it and this helps us connect directly to our own experience. In this way we identify our own experience as ours, not some generic experience.

Non Feelings

We have developed many habits in how we describe ourselves, both to others, and to ourselves. These habits can, either deliberately or inadvertently, hide our true feelings. Here are three categories of how we describe something as a feeling that either isn’t a feeling, inaccurately describes a feeling, or gives us little information about the feeling.

Passive Verbs

Another form of language that misleads insidiously is the use of passive verbs as feelings. An example is rejected. It is perfectly legitimate to say ‘I was rejected’ or ‘I believe you rejected me’. To say ‘I feel rejected’ is so common most people imagine it to be a real feeling. For sure, being the recipient of an act of rejection generates feelings that can be very powerful, such as loneliness, sadness, grief, or fearful, but to say to someone ‘I feel rejected by you’ both disguises the actual feeling, and implies an act of rejection that may not have occurred. The consequence of this statement is that the recipient, unless very skilled in communication, ends up defending themselves against the accusation of having done the rejecting, instead of either being invited to connect sympathetically with the person experiencing the feelings, or invited to confirm the speaker’s belief that they actually did the rejecting.

Passive Verb Possible Feeling
Abandoned Lonely, Scared
Betrayed Lonely, Proud
Isolated Lonely, Ashamed
Rejected Lonely
Supported Safe
Included Safe
Heard Safe, Relieved
Marginalised Lonely
There are many more in this list

False feelings

Certain words are used as feelings but which aren’t feelings. They may reveal the likely feelings and thoughts or beliefs from which those feelings arise but they require interpretation. This list is not intended to be comprehensive. What false feelings can you identify?

False Feelings Feeling within Hidden Belief
Helpless Frightened, Nobody will help me
Confused, Puzzled Frustrated, Embarrassed I dont know/i should know
Love A Subject in itself Too many to list
Lost Frightened I dont know where to go
Overwhelmed Frightened I cannot think past strong emotions
Hopeless Frightened There is nothing more i can do
Worried Frightened I must do something
Powerless Weak or no feeling I am powerless
Exposed Frightened I am at risk/exposed
Worthless Lonely, Scared I have nothing to contribute


Non Specific

Some words we use to describe feelings certainly indicate the difference between feeling good or bad but give the listener little information about those feelings. It is usually better for the purposes of communication to use a word that accurately describes the emotion.




You saw how I included love in the list of false feelings. I certainly do not wish to deny that there are feelings contained in that word. But, as with some of the words in the tertiary table in my last essay, we have states that last much longer than emotions do, and can include thoughts and actions. The word love refers to many different states, and includes many emotions, many thoughts, and many actions, often over a much extended time period indeed. Examples of other states could be: resentful; depressed; supportive.

The language for emotions is important, but has only received attention in the last few decades, as we get to understand better the emotions we are using the language to verbalise. I thank Marshall Rosenberg and Non Violent Communication for first alerting me to this whole subject. For further reading please check out his book, entitled Non Violent Communication.