7 Examples of Emotional Reasoning and 11 Ways It’s Keeping You Stuck

Emotional reasoning is when how you feel defines your reality. So even if you don’t have proof, you believe something because you feel it is.

Emotional reasoning is different from intuition or gut instinct. Intuition is a communication from the unconscious mind. Emotional reasoning is the inability to distinguish between emotions and thoughts.

And when we have powerful emotions that interfere with our thought processes, we can end up with distorted views of the world, situations, relationships, even ourselves.

Related Article: 15 Cognitive Distortions, Why They Suck and How to Fix Them

Here are some examples:

  1. After weeks of eating healthy Frank binges an entire pizza. Even though one slip won’t hurt (just like one salad after weeks of poor eating won’t gain), Frank feels like he completely ruined his progress. He think there’s no use in trying, gives up and stops eating healthy all together.
  2. Amy is trying to be more assertive. Previously a people pleaser she decides to set healthy boundaries. Imposing those boundaries feels uncomfortable. Even though this is what’s to be expected with any new change, the feelings of discomfort stops Amy from boundary setting.
  3. Typically a great student, Hayley fails a test and then makes a mistake at work. The two bad experiences compact each other and she feels stupid and concludes she just isn’t smart anymore.
  4. Davonte hears a conspiracy theory. There are loosely connected events but no facts that prove it’s true. Donte just feels it’s true. He ends up selling all of his belonging while waiting for the end of the world.
  5. Sherry has been cheated on in the past. She is now with loving and committed parter. However she can’t shake the feeling that her new partner is cheating. It just feels that way.
  6. After moving to a new city and having trouble making friends Marcus feel lonely and like a social outcast. He gives up trying to go out and meet new people.
  7. After a few attempts at finding love Layla hasn’t met a good fit. She feels there are no good people out there and decides that finding love just isn’t for her.

How Emotional Reasoning May Be Negatively Impacting You

  1. Even thought you feel something, those feelings could be a response from something that happened years ago. And you can end up treating a current situation or person unfairly.
  2. Feeling like you’re not making progress doesn’t mean you aren’t. If you trust feelings instead of checking-in you might give up right when you’re about to see results.
  3. You may give up on something challenging that will positively benefit you because it feels tough.
  4. You may think you are less than or unworthy because of one mistake.
  5. You may see the work in a skewed view and believe theories that keep you stuck seeing the world in a negative, altered lens.
  6. You can cut yourself off from good people because you feel something is wrong even though it’s not.
  7. You can compact already negative feeling because you’re thinking of previous experiences.
  8. You can end up asking for or expecting less than you deserve.
  9. You can find yourself doing something detrimental to your well being because it feels good.
  10. You can settle and cut yourself off from opportunities.
  11. Thoughts lead to feelings which lead to action and therefore results. Feeling a certain way may make you act against your goals.

Related podcast episode: Emotional Reasoning & Cognitive Distortions – 60

Benefits of Putting Emotions in Their Place

Emotions have a purpose. They alert us to what’s going right and what needs to be worked on. They help us find center. We should honor our emotions and acknowledge all of them—even the “bad” ones.


I’m not gonna leave you hanging! Check out this article and learn how to fix emotional reasoning once and for all here.

As always, thanks for reading! I hope you found this article helpful. Please like and share. I would love to hear your comments ⬇️


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