Words Matter (part two) – I Think and I Feel

Picking up on the previous Words Matter post here, I’m going to draw a few more lines around the words “think” and “feel”. I get called on this in my therapist training class; in turn, I tend to call my coaching clients on it.

“I feel that we’re going down the wrong road here.” “I feel that things are looking up.” Both of these examples are not feelings, but are thoughts. It’s a thought that we’re going down the wrong road. It’s a thought that things are looking up.

If I can catch myself starting a sentence with “I feel”, but then expressing a thought, then I am catching myself distancing myself from my feelings, confusing my thoughts with feelings, and generally being unclear about what my feelings are.

The impact of this is that I take actions to address my thoughts, rather than spending the time to identify and understand what might address my feelings.

If you feel like playing with this concept a little bit this week, here’s an assignment:

1) everytime you hear yourself say “I feel” this week, check to see if what comes next is a feeling or a thought.

2) if it’s a thought, then pause to ask yourself: “What is the feeling here?”

If, like mine, your emotional vocabulary could use a little expansion, you might want to browse around here to find some words to put to your feelings.

Laura McGrath, CPCC, is a Toronto-based co-active life coach who helps smart people to live from their hearts. Let's talk! You can subscribe to Ready for Change news to receive thoughtful notes on personal growth, and you can contact Laura to find out if coaching is right for you.


  1. […] help it. I have near-majors in linguistics and psychology. You can see previous Words Matter posts here and here. * Getting interested in coaching? I have a day of free sample sessions on May 6, and one […]