Feelings are essentially the mental version of the bodily sensation to feel. Originally, used to define the mental sensation of touch by either sight or experience, the term is used today to define all human feelings, including "a sensation of heat" or "a tingling sensation in the ears." In Latin, sendere was used to mean to touch, sense or feel. Feelings can be called feelings, emotions or sensations. They can affect us physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.
We often relate feelings to our past experiences. This is not a natural association, since our past experiences are primarily with external objects or events and are thus not an emotion. Nevertheless, feelings can be an interpretation of how our bodies or minds or other organisms in our environment respond to situations. Feelings can be a product of what we have experienced before. They may be the product of unconscious programming that developed in the course of our evolutionary history, or they may be a reaction to a stimulus.
Feelings that result from prior experiences can be debilitating. The primary emotion that might help us deal with these feelings is fear or disgust. Feelings of fear or disgust are usually appropriate and useful, but they can nonetheless make it difficult to get into and remain in a relationship with someone whom we are fearful or disgusted by.
Feelings are normally part of our emotional system. They can, however, take on a life of their own if they become too overwhelming or out of proportion with the situation they are referring to. These feelings can be the product of an organismic emotion, i.e. a primitive or instinctive emotion. The most familiar of these are fear, anger, sadness and self-harm.
Feelings can also be a product of an evolved or socialized emotion. Feelings that are the products of socialization can be very useful when they occur with appropriate partners or in the course of our relationships with them. However, there is a potential for these feelings to be inappropriate when they conflict with our evolved, self-interest-oriented responses to a situation. For instance, if we were to experience strong negative feelings for our partner because they had hurt us in the past, this would be self-destructive behavior.
Feelings can also serve as defense mechanisms. When we are faced with threatening events or situations our emotions can take on the shape of flight or fight responses. Our emotions can override our logic and take on the Fight or Flight response. This might help us to avoid danger, but it can also lead to devastating consequences if we do not recognize that our emotions are being inappropriately directed and try to redirect our feelings in a more rational direction.
We might try to redirect our feelings of disgust and fear toward something more pleasant. If we have strong negative feelings about our partner's hair, food, housekeeping, etc. we could try to replace those feelings of disgust and fear with feelings of disgust and fear about the person in power, the situation, or our own shortcomings. We could try to identify the source of our negative feelings and, while acknowledging that the other person has shortcomings, focus on what we can do to improve ourselves in order to be better partners in the future.
One of the most unfortunate aspects of this self-harm is that it can take on a life of its own. If we feel anger about something and we begin to channel that anger toward ourselves, we can cause great harm to ourselves. If we begin to concentrate on our own shortcomings and how our shortcomings might affect us in a relationship or marriage, we can put a terrible strain on our relationships. We have to learn how to manage our basic emotions so that they do not become a self-destructive force in our lives. By learning how to manage our emotions, we will be able to better enjoy the people and experiences in our lives, which will also help to make us happier and more fulfilled human beings.