Mark Manson from the article Fuck Your Feelings introduces this table of what he calls "meta-feelings":

Feeling Bad About Feeling Bad (Self-Loathing)
  • Excessive self-criticism
  • Anxious/Neurotic behavior
  • Suppression of emotions
  • Engage in a lot of fake niceness/politeness
  • Feeling as though something is wrong with you
Feeling Bad About Feeling Good (Guilt)
  • Chronic guilt and feeling as though you don’t deserve happiness
  • Constant comparison of yourself to others
  • Feeling as though something should be wrong, even if everything is great
  • Unnecessary criticism and negativity
Feeling Good About Feeling Bad (Self-Righteousness)
  • Moral indignation
  • Condescension towards others
  • Feeling as though you deserve something others don’t
  • Seeking out a constant sense of powerlessness and victimization
Feeling Good About Feeling Good (Ego/Narcissism)
  • Self-congratulatory
  • Chronically overestimate yourself; a delusionally-positive self-perception
  • Unable to handle failure or rejection
  • Avoids confrontation or discomfort
  • Constant state of self-absorption

Is this chart based on any theory? At first it seems like to be the same with meta-emotion, but reading that I feel like meta-emotion is more about parenting style, and focusing more on feeling bad about feelings (the top quadrants).

Here are the four types of meta-emotions (Bailen et al. 2019):

Meta-emotions can be classified into four types: negative-negative (e.g., feeling embarrassed about feeling sad), negative-positive (e.g., feeling guilty about feeling happy), positive-positive (e.g., feeling hopeful about feeling relieved), and positive-negative (e.g., feeling pleased about feeling angry)

The positive-negative and positive-positive emotions in meta-emotion doesn't seem to match with the bottom row of the table (self-righteousness and ego/narcissism). The chart also reminds me more about moral emotions.


Bailen, N. H., Wu, H., & Thompson, R. J. (2019). Meta-emotions in daily life: Associations with emotional awareness and depression. Emotion, 19(5), 776–787. https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000488

  • $\begingroup$ I haven't read the articles yet, but why do you say that the positive-negative and positive-positive emotions do not match the bottom row of the table? feeling hopeful about feeling relieved and feeling pleased about feeling angry are only examples. Looking at the table though, I would question some of the entries made by Mark Manson. For example Feeling as though you deserve something others don’t when you are feeling a negative-negative emotion? $\endgroup$ Jun 14 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ I also haven't read Bailen et al due to paywall; the quote from this article is the only one I have. The positive-positive and positive-negative quadrants in meta-emotion theory seem to be healthy mental states, while the counterparts quadrants in Mark Manson's chart are not that healthy. "Feeling as though you deserve something others don’t" is a positive-negative emotion, not a negative-negative emotion $\endgroup$
    – Ooker
    Jun 15 at 2:12

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