Have you ever had somebody telling you that they ''feel good" or "feel bad"? A great variant of that is when someone says "Not too bad"!. I get to hear that all the time. Of course, such utterings don't tell me anything. How bad is bad, or how good is good? And what on earth is "not too bad"?
Emotions are not just a handful of feelings. There are hundreds of feelings and distinctions that, when used wisely, communicate very well how people are feeling. In order to be understood and helped by a friend, partner, or therapist, you need to let the person know what kind of good or what kind of bad you are feeling.
'Bad' is simply a broad category for a number of unpleasant or unwanted feelings. However, it's quite a difference whether you feel anxieous, worried, inadequate, guilty, ashamed, or bored. Knowing that you feel bad provides close to no useful information at all about what is going on for you. It certainly gives you no information about what to do to change your situation. In contrast, knowing precisely what you are feeling provides you immediately with useful information about how to change things.
Important to note is that emotions are not the same as the judgements we make about them. They are also not the same as the behaviours the may set off. A prime example is anger. You might feel angry, that is not the same as lashing out at a person. Lashing out at a person is a behaviour and not a feeling. Of course, how a person feels will impact on his/her behaviour. However, how you react is up to you and you have choices about that.