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quotations about emotion

It is, you must concede, unpleasantly messy, this business of having feelings, this mattering to each other. I've always thought of it as gory, a sort of perpetually occurring road accident--everyone going too fast, too close, without due care and attention, or with too much...


Unfruitful emotion is to be suspected. Feeling acts as an impulse, as a spur, as a spring, and when feelings are excited, and they put nothing forward, they are sometimes even dangerous to a man.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

Willpower is a myth. The problem with trying to use willpower to achieve and sustain a behavioral change is that it is fueled by emotion. And as we all know, our emotions are, at best, fickle. They come and go. When your emotions start running down -- and they will -- even your best-laid plans will fall flat.

PHILLIP C. MCGRAW, Relationship Rescue

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

H.P. LOVECRAFT, Supernatural Horror in Literature

Emotions are not tools of cognition. They tell you nothing about the nature of reality.

DAVE GALANTER, Troublesome Minds

Emotions are the colors of the soul.


People of too much sentiment are like fountains, whose overflow keeps a disagreeable puddle about them.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

Feeling is the oil of life.


If we deny emotion, we lose all touch with our internal universe.

FRANK HERBERT, God Emperor of Dune

The fact of the matter is that, since we are determined always to keep our feelings to ourselves, we have never given any thought to the manner in which we should express them. And suddenly there is within us a strange and obscene animal making itself heard, whose tones may inspire as much alarm in the person who receives the involuntary, elliptical and almost irresistible communication of one's defect or vice as would the sudden avowal indirectly and outlandishly proffered by a criminal who can no longer refrain from confessing to a murder of which one had never imagined him to be guilty.

MARCEL PROUST, The Guermantes Way

Funny about feelings, they seem to come and go in a flash yet outlast metal.

JOHN UPDIKE, Rabbit is Rich

For my part, I think we need more emotion, not less. But I think, too, that we need to educate people in how to feel. Emotionalism is not the same as emotion. We cannot cut out emotion - in the economy of the human body, it is the limbic, not the neural, highway that takes precedence. We are not robots...but we act as though all our problems would be solved if only we had no emotions to cloud our judgement.


Like waves, our feelings may continue by repeating themselves, by intermittent rushes; but no emotion any more than a wave can long retain its own individual form.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor even touched, but just felt in the heart.

HELEN KELLER, The Story of My Life

Throughout our eighteen years of growing up we would gradually be able to master our own emotions just as we have mastered walking or math. It would be a learned skill, like walking, jumping, singing, reading, and balancing a checkbook.

JOHN GRAY, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

He who embodies his own emotions in the verbiage of his tongue and pen, addresses an eternal audience; for human nature is identical, and its highest vernacular never changes.

MAGOON, attributed, Day's Collacon

The taste for emotion may, however, become a dangerous taste ; and we should be very cautious how we attempt to squeeze out of human life, more ecstasy and paroxysm than it can well afford. It throws an air of insipidity over the greater part of our being, and lavishes on a few favoured moments the joy which was given to season our whole existence. It is to act like school boys--to pick the plums and sweet-meats out of the cake, and quarrel with the insipidity of the batter: whereas the business is, to infuse a certain share of flavour throughout the whole of the mass; and not so to habituate ourselves to strong impulse and extraordinary feeling, that the common tenor of human affairs should appear to us incapable of amusement, and devoid of interest.

SYDNEY SMITH, Elementary Sketches of Moral Philosophy

All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Sorrows of Young Werther

This is the greatest paradox: the emotions cannot be trusted; yet it is the emotions that tell us the greatest truths.

DON HEROLD, attributed, Words of Wisdom and Quotable Quotes

This world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.

HORACE WALPOLE, letter to the Countess of Ossory, Jan. 19, 1777

There are so many tender and holy emotions flying about in our inward world, which, like angels, can never assume the body of an outward act; so many rich and lovely flowers spring up which bear no seed, that it is a happiness poetry was invented, which receives into its limbs all these incorporeal spirits, and the perfume of all these flowers.

JEAN PAUL RICHTER, attributed, Flowers; Their Moral, Language, and Poetry

Emotion to the satiated and quiescent, is a cold, dead window for the outward world.

C. GIBBON, attributed, Day's Collacon

The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it.


If as children our inner emotions had been repeatedly heard and validated in a loving way, then as adults we wouldn't get stuck in negative emotions. But most of us weren't supported this way as children, so we have to do it for ourselves.

JOHN GRAY, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

Loving emotions, like plants, shoot up most rapidly in the tempestuous atmosphere of life.

JOHN PAUL F. RICHTER, attributed, Laconics; or, Good Words of the Best Authors

One ought to hold on to one's heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Is "UGH" an emotion? Because I feel it all the time.


We have lost confidence in reason because we have learned that man is chiefly a creature of habit and emotion.

JOHN DEWEY, "What I Believe"

I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.

OSCAR WILDE, The Picture of Dorian Gray


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