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Quotations about Emotions

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To give vent now and then to his feelings, whether of pleasure or discontent, is a great ease to a man's heart. ~Francesco Guicciardini

Let's not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it. ~Vincent Van Gogh, 1889

Melancholy sees the worst of things — things as they may be, and not as they are. It looks upon a beautiful face, and sees but a grinning skull. ~C.N. Bovee, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought, 1862

Never let your emotions rule, but always let them testify. ~Robert Brault,

Possibly more important, and certainly far more interesting, is the study of the influence of the mind, the will, and the emotions over the physical organism. "Soul is form and doth the body make," says Spencer. The experiments of Professor Elmer Gates and others prove that all mental and emotional changes result in corresponding chemical and nerve changes. Gates tells us that "all depressing or immoral emotions such as anger, jealousy, hate, avarice, lust, greed, worry, fear, etc., produce chemical conditions that are destructive to health and vitality and are a frequent cause of disease and early decay; while all the nobler emotions, such as mirth, joy, peace, hope, love, kindness, reverence, worship, faith, etc., produce chemical states that are highly conducive to health, vitality and longevity." ~Newton N. Riddell, "Influence of Mind Over Body," 1906

Men are no more immune from emotions than women; we think women are more emotional because the culture lets them give free vent to certain feelings, "feminine" ones, that is, no anger please, but it's okay to turn on the waterworks. ~Una Stannard

Joy comes to us like butterflies, but sorrow like wasps. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Sorrow like rain makes roses and mud. ~Austin O'Malley (1858–1932), Thoughts of a Recluse, 1898

Don't be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg

But are not this struggle and even the mistakes one may make better, and do they not develop us more, than if we kept systematically away from emotions? ~Vincent Van Gogh

She did not feel sad; she did not feel anything. She seemed to have moved into a quiet state beyond human emotion. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

One's suffering disappears when one lets oneself go, when one yields — even to sadness. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Southern Mail, 1929, translated from French by Curtis Cate

Memory is always faulty. Emotions are always true. ~Author Unknown

Emotion turning back on itself, and not leading on to thought or action, is the element of madness. ~John Sterling

The feeling is often the deeper truth, the opinion the more superficial one. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy. ~Jim Rohn

How much has to be explored and discarded before reaching the naked flesh of feeling. ~Claude Debussy

All emotions are pure which gather you and lift you up; that emotion is impure which seizes only one side of your being and so distorts you. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Why do I sometimes let my emotions get the better of me? For the same reason I let it rain last Tuesday. ~Robert Brault,, 2018

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. ~Khalil Gibran

Too much emotion is like none at all. ~Du Mu, translated

Sadness is almost never anything but a form of fatigue. ~Andre Gide

Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you. ~Roger Ebert

And Lancelot stood on the shore, with an awful paleness in his face, as if the ghost of everything that might have made his life pure and noble was whispering woe to his soul forever. ~August Bell, "Quicksands of Love," 1887  [Here the excerpt is describing a picture the character Lawrence's friend painted that befits Tennyson's idyllic poem "Elaine." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Let your sorrow smile once in a while. ~Terri Guillemets

As yon mountains are crowned with unsullied snow, so should pure feeling crown the human soul, and be the source of fertilizing streams to the land of thought beneath. ~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), The Ministry of the Beautiful, "Conversation VI: A Quarry among the Hills," 1850  [Edith speaking —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Frown.— Writing the confession of a bad passion with an eyebrow. ~"Specimens of a Patent Pocket Dictionary, For the use of those who wish to understand the meaning of things as well as words," The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, 1824

Eventually you come to realize that most people aren't looking for a fight but for someone to surrender to. ~Robert Brault,

Yes, that's the worst of it. It's a desperately vexatious thing that, after all one's reflections and quiet determinations, we should be ruled by moods that one can't calculate on beforehand. ~George Eliot, Adam Bede

The first pressure of sorrow crushes out from our hearts the best wine; afterwards the constant weight of it brings forth bitterness, — the taste and stain from the lees of the vat. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882), "Drift Wood, A Collection of Essays: Table-Talk," Prose Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1857

Most of what is said under excitement is regretted when we become ourselves again. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

You lived on your nerves, exhaling emotion like breath. A beautiful sunset could stop you in your tracks. ~Abby Geni, The Lightkeepers, 2016

I swallowed, feeling my pulse race, and gave silent thanks there were no eyewitnesses to my blushing, which could have set a cigar alight a foot away. ~Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind, 2001, translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves, 2004

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
~William Blake (1757-1827), "Auguries of Innocence"

But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve... ~William Shakespeare [Othello, I, 1, Iago]

[S]he suffered a sort of poverty which is more difficult to bear than actual want, since money cannot lighten it, and the rarest charity alone can minister to it. Her heart was empty and she could not fill it; her soul was hungry and she could not feed it; life was cold and dark and she could not warm and brighten it, for she knew not where to go. ~Louisa May Alcott, "Through the Mist," Work: A Story of Experience, 1873

The barometer of his emotional nature was set for a spell of riot. ~James Joyce, "Counterparts," Dubliners, 1914

But my Thirty Years' War is over, and I die "with sword unbroken, and a broken heart." ~Israel Zangwill, Dreamers of the Ghetto, "From a Mattress Grave," 1897  [quoting Heinrich Heine and spoken by the character Heine —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Now I am not one of the most constant creatures alive myself, and am apt to run through the spectrum which has the blues at the bottom about once a week. ~Byron Caldwell Smith (1849-1877), letter to Kate Stephens

Like vast clouds of steam from thermal springs in winter the years of things unsaid and now unsayable — admissions, declarations, shames, guilts, fears — rose around them. ~Annie Proulx, "Brokeback Mountain," 1997

And many years went slowly by,
And his tired soul dragged heavily:
Earth's glowing joys came one by one,
Its griefs their shadow made;
There seemed no purpose in the sun,
No meaning in the shade,
Snowing till eve from morning prime
Without a hope of harvest time.
~James Hamilton, "The Shipwreck of St. Paul," c.1856

The sharpest sorrows are those which remain locked within our own breasts. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

And I am glad to see, that you have also put to flight the gloomy thoughts which used to haunt you. I like to see people cheerful and happy. What is the use of giving way to sadness in this beautiful world? ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion, A Romance, "The Evening and the Morning Star," 1839

Ah! this beautiful world!... Indeed, I know not what to think of it. Sometimes it is all gladness and sunshine, and Heaven itself lies not far off. And then it changes suddenly; and is dark and sorrowful, and clouds shut out the sky. In the lives of the saddest of us, there are bright days like this, when we feel as if we could take the great world in our arms and kiss it. Then come the gloomy hours, when the fire will neither burn on our hearths nor in our hearts; and all without and within is dismal, cold, and dark. Believe me, every heart has its secret sorrows, which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion, A Romance, "The Evening and the Morning Star," 1839

As souls float into a harbour of light,
      When the voyage of life is done,
      The ships sail into the bright
      Gold track of the setting sun.
But the sea is never at peace,
      And my heart is always sad;
      Oh, when will the murmur of ocean cease,
      And when will my soul be glad?
~Elizabeth Harcourt Mitchell, The Lighthouse: A Novel, 1860

I felt like a tuning fork that when struck rang out loneliness instead of music. ~Abby Geni, The Lightkeepers, 2016

Between flattery and admiration there often flows a river of contempt. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Naked Truth and Veiled Allusions, 1901

[S]he grew numb with the intoxication of expectancy. ~Kate Chopin (1850–1904), The Awakening, 1899

It is within the experience of everyone that when pleasure and pain reach a certain intensity they are indistinguishable. ~Arnold Bennett (1867–1931)

Alas! thou talk'st like one who never felt
Th' impatient throbs longings of a soul...
A lover does not live by vulgar time:
Believe me, Portius, in my Lucia's absence
Life hangs upon me, and becomes a burden;
And yet, when I behold the charming maid,
I'm ten times more undone, while hope and fear,
And grief, and rage, and love, rise up at once,
And with variety of pain distract me...
~Joseph Addison, Cato, 1713

I cry sad words and
giggle happy thoughts.
~Terri Guillemets

It was the first time that she had ever stepped into the pain and passion of someone else's forgotten past. It awoke something within her that had always been there, but wrapped in the garb of childhood. ~Florence Bone (1875–1971), The Morning of To‑Day, 1907

Nobody ever really knows how much someone else is hurting. We could be standing next to someone who feels broken and we wouldn't know it. ~Dr. SunWolf, 2014 tweet,

I missed Darlene so much that it felt like a fever. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

Now this is going to sucker punch you right in the feels factory. ~Dannielle Maguire, "Man shot five times by police walks again with little son's help," 2017

Then there was, after all, something to be said for feelings which had not their basis in material relationships. They were not mere phantasmagoria conjured up by silly people, by sentimental people, by women. Clever men, men of distinction, recognized them, treated them as of paramount importance. The practical, if not the theoretical, teaching of her life had been to treat as absurd any close or strong feeling which had not its foundations in material interests. ~Amy Levy (1861–1889), Reuben Sachs: A Sketch, 1888

Guilt, grief, regret
cut deeper than
the dimensions
of the soul itself
~Terri Guillemets

If you don't manage your emotions, then your emotions will manage you. ~Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman, Transforming Anxiety

I have a poisoned flower in my heart. ~Octave Mirbeau, A Chambermaid's Diary, translated from the French by Benjamin R. Tucker, 1900

I stifle my heart, and awake in the night to hear it moaning. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Red Threads of My Heart: V," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923

Feelings are like toes! They have to breathe free or they'll stink to high heaven! ~Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo video game) written by Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka, and Toshihiro Kawabata

Enthusiasm.— Spiritual intoxication. ~"Specimens of a Patent Pocket Dictionary, For the use of those who wish to understand the meaning of things as well as words," The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, 1824

We had before become acquainted with a scepticism terrifying, because terrified; which was nothing else than reason in despair; which resembled faith,—implied, contained, a species of faith,—a faith, shall I say, in the necessity of faith; which struggled against the darkness, and if conquered, cursed it. The scepticism of our days has no longer this character; men have fallen from despair to ennui: and when I speak of ennui, it is not that of an Attila embarrassed by his superfluous forces, and seeking employment for them; it is an impotent and rickety ennui, which has not even the remnants of energy necessary to prompt the getting out of self; no desire is keen enough, no impulse passionate enough, to vary its monotony; no grief sufficiently violent to awaken alarm or pity. The former scepticism walked on thorns; this sinks ankle-deep in mud. ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

Guilt is always hungry — don't let it consume you. ~Terri Guillemets

[Mrs. Snow] was, in spite of herself, beginning to tingle with a feeling perilously near to excitement. ~Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna, 1912

My mind is like a seed packet of assorted wildflowers — I get happiness and sadness and whatever else pops up. ~Terri Guillemets

Ere he returned, Madame descended and passed from the sparkling sunshine into the gloom of the portico, with a melancholy consciousness of the symbolic. For her spirit, too, had its poetic intuitions and insights... ~Israel Zangwill, Dreamers of the Ghetto, "From a Mattress Grave," 1897

Sadness is dark stardust
in shadows of melancholy
waiting, waiting to glitter
in the light of happiness.
~Terri Guillemets, "Love shine, pray love shine"

Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf. ~Jonatan Mårtensson

Body tired, brain tired, soul benumbed, heart aching, a wornout human drops into a seat. With shut eyes the day is reviewed and life darkens in its shadow—in short, there is an eclipse. ~Leigh Norval, "Fagged and Fresh," Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, May 1885

Clouds open up into rain,
You too should release your pain.
~Terri Guillemets

...that freshness of feeling, that delicate honor which shrinks from wounding even a sentiment... ~George Eliot, Adam Bede

[S]cant sleep
Covers the cold loneliness of our flesh
In the unshared bed...
~Earl Mohn, "Chorus of the Wives of the Sons of John Brown," Theatre Arts Monthly, 1937

A screaming song is good to know in case you need to scream ~Ruth Krauss (1901–1993), Open House for Butterflies, 1960

Guilt is a blanket of stones. ~Terri Guillemets

Mrs. Vance looked thunder for a moment, but smoothing out her forehead, she made a concession. ~William Gilmore Simms, "Home Sketches, or, Life Along the Highways and Byways of the South," in The Literary World, 1852 November 20th

Melancholic madness strapped to your chest and you have no way of releasing the fear. ~Daniel, @blindedpoet

I feel an army in my fist. ~Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805), The Robbers, translated from German

Sometimes we can't let go of the pain because we think it's the only thing holding us together. ~Terri Guillemets

Herzog is dull, he is unendurably dull.... Yet the novel succeeds. There is its mystery. One reads it with compassion.... Bored by Herzog, still there is a secret burning of the heart. One's heart turns over and produces a sorrow. Hardly any books are left to do that.... Something goes on in Herzog's eye. It says: I am debased, I am failed, I am near to rotten, and yet something just as good and loving resides in me as the tenderest part of your childhood. ~Norman Mailer, Cannibals and Christians, 1969

Guilt sticks like glue. ~Terri Guillemets

...having planted her little thorn to rankle in [his] heart... ~August Bell, "Quicksands of Love," 1887

I had fallen; abased and thick with thorns the path I now must tread!
Wounded, I have trod it. Lower, year by year,
It slopes, ever loudlier I can hear
Voices of memories, loves, remorses, roll
And echo interblend amid my soul,
Reeling toward darkness where even death might shudder while it stole.
~Edgar Fawcett, "At a Window," Songs of Doubt and Dream, 1891

Perhaps apathy is a wave of emotions too afraid to burst out of the darkness into the bright light of day. ~Terri Guillemets

At noon I feel as though I could devour all the elephants of Hindostan, and then pick my teeth with the spire of Strasburg cathedral; in the evening I become so sentimental that I would fain drink up the Milky Way without reflecting how indigestible I should find the little fixed stars, and by night there is the Devil himself broke loose in my head and no mistake. ~Heinrich Heine, "Ideas: Book Le Grand," 1826, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, Pictures of Travel, 1855  #INFJ

Give thanks to the moments you feel loved and love the moments on which you feel. ~Katie Nguyen, November 2009 entry to The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter

As we all crave something to protect, so we long to feel ourselves protected. We are all infants before the Infinite... ~T.W. Higginson

From this bleak world, into the heart of night,
The dim, deep bosom of the universe,
I cast myself. I only crave for rest;
Too heavy is the load. I fling it down.
~Amy Levy, "A Minor Poet," c.1884

As none can see the wind but in its effects on the trees, neither can we see the emotions but in their effects on the face and body. ~Terri Guillemets

All emotion is involuntary when genuine. ~Mark Twain

A lot of top guys have dark moods. That Winston Churchill drank a quart of brandy before breakfast. Napoleon, he was a moody [f#@%], too. ~Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, The Sopranos, "Isabella," original airdate 28 March 1999, spoken by the character Silvio Dante

Let grief and guilt stay not too long as houseguests. ~Terri Guillemets

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion. ~Dale Carnegie

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