A tool for writers could be valuable for us to explain how we, or others, are feeling.
We’ve been using words to share our wants, needs, ideas, and feelings since we were children.
We’ve been expressing those things since before we could write or verbalize them.
Some people are more successful than others at conveying what they’re thinking or feeling. Some people excel at sharing for others but not themselves, and vice versa.
Sometimes the words we want elude us, and we fall back on what’s familiar and convenient. And it’s frustrating, to us, friends, loved ones, whoever is on the other end of the conversation, because we want to express ourselves clearly and we can’t.
I ran across this graphic. It’s a version of a tool called an emotion of “feeling” wheel, commonly used by writers to get them beyond simple “feeling words” and into what’s really going on in a character’s head.*
And it occurred to me that this could be equally useful for day-to-day, real-life discussions, to look for those words that really say what’s going on beyond basic emotional words.
Are you scared (fear)? Or are you anxious and worried? Are you feeling, rejected, or inadeqate?
Are you happy (happy)? Or is it more than that? Are you proud, excited, amused? Feeling loving?
Are you sad and angry (sad/anger)? Does it go beyond those words? Are you feeling ignored and resentful or empty and embarrassed?
Here’s the chart. It’s pretty straightforward, but of course not exhaustive; there are no hard-and-fast rules, and no emotion exists in isolation from others.
Consider keeping it handy for the next time you’re having that talk, making that speech, or even writing something to share what’s going in someone’s head.
*Emotion wheels are used in therapy, health care, and numerous other settings.
Top photo: scottnj/Flickr
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