Thoughts and feelings are often used interchangeably. There really is a difference     – a big difference.


  • I feel/ I am  followed by [a feeling]
  • I feel  sad, mad, glad, scared
  • I am  sad, mad, glad, scared

Interpretations, criticisms, diagnoses, and judgments of others are thoughts that are alienated expressions of our unmet needs.

I feel followed by [that/ like/ as if ]

  • “I feel that he should know better.”
  • “I feel like a failure.”
  • “I feel as if I’m talking to a wall.”

I feel followed by [I, you, he, she, they, it]

  • “I feel am constantly on call.”
  • “I feel it is useless.”

I feel followed by [name or description of person]

  • “I feel Sammy has been very irresponsible.”
  • “I feel my spouse is so wonderful.”

I feel [feeling] that [some thought]

  • I feel [sad] that …
  • I feel [excited] that …
“I feel that you should know better.” – thought
(“I think…”)
 “I feel frustrated.” – feeling
 “I feel it is useless.” – thought
(“I think…”)
 “I feel scared when you say that.” – feeling
 “I feel you don’t love me.” – opinion
(“I think…”)
 “I am sad that you’re leaving.” – feeling
 “I feel you are annoying me on purpose.” – opinion
(“I think…”)
 “I am upset because I think you are
annoying me purpose.”
– feeling
 “I feel I am being unkind to them.” – opinion
(“I think…”)
 “I feel regret around how I am behaving
towards them.”
– feeling

Sometimes, we use the word feel when we have opinions, are evaluating the actions of others, or how we think others are acting toward us.

“I feel inadequate as a guitar player.” opinion of my ability
 “I feel (disappointed, impatient, frustrated) with myself as a guitar player.” feelings
“I feel unimportant to the people with whom I work.”thought (how I think
other are evaluating me)
“I feel misunderstood.” – my opinion about the other person level of understanding.
“I feel ignored.” –an interpretation of the action of others rather than a clear statement of how we are feeling.
“When you don’t greet me, I feel neglected.” – interpretation
“When you don’t greet me at the door, I feel lonely.” – feeling

When people begin expressing their feelings (about their met and unmet needs) and talking about what they need rather than what’s wrong with one another, the possibility of finding ways to meet everybody’s needs is greatly increased.


  • I am grateful that you offered me a ride because I was needing to get home before my children.”
  • I am sad that you won’t be coming for dinner because I was hoping we could spend the evening together.”
  • “When you raise your voice, I feel scared because I’m telling myself someone might get hurt here, and I need to know that we’re all safe.”
  • I feel angry when you say that, because I am wanting respect and I hear your words as an insult.”
Scroll to Top