Every emotion carries a message. Understanding these messages can be difficult. Knowing the meaning behind each emotion can help us make sense of them more easily.

Here are some of the most common emotions, along with their meaning:

emotion meaning
anger someone is taking advantage
annoyance there’s an unpleasant distraction
anxiety anticipation of a threat
contempt anger directed at a lower-status individual
disgust something is unpleasant or offensive
envy someone else possesses something you want
fear there’s a perceived threat
frustration there are difficulties in achieving a goal
guilt you violated a moral standard
interest something deserves your attention
jealousy insecurity about losing a human connection
joy there’s a perceived gain
love feeling attached to another person
pride feeling satisfied because of your or others’ actions
sadness there’s a perceived loss
self-confidence seeing yourself in a positive light
shame you’ve violated a moral standard and are concerned about looking bad
surprise something unexpected happened