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As humans, we’re emotional creatures. Our emotions influence the decisions we make, the career path we take, the films and music we enjoy, the art we’re drawn to. Emotions help us choose our friends, those whom we fall in love and stay with for our entire lives…also those whom we’ll leave behind.

Yes, emotions have power. Emotional intelligence is the ability to harness that power–to understand and manage emotions, so that you can make decisions that are in harmony with your core values and principles.

But what can we learn from what others have taught us about harnessing the power of emotion?

Below you’ll find some of my favorite emotional intelligence quotes. Together, they can help you learn how to make emotions work for you, instead of against you.

“But feelings can’t be ignored, no matter how unjust or ungrateful they seem.”
–Anne Frank

“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

“Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
–Frank Outlaw

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 
(probably not) Maya Angelou

“Those that will not hear must be made to feel.”
–German proverb

“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

“Empathy does not equal agreement.”
–Chris Voss

“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.”
–Albert Einstein

“Apologizing doesn’t always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. It means you value your relationship more than your ego.”

“Care for your psyche…know thyself, for once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves.” 

“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” 
–Robert Frost 

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

“He only profits from praise who values criticism.”
–Heinrich Heine

“Emotion can be the enemy, if you give into your emotion, you lose yourself. You must be at one with your emotions, because the body always follows the mind.”
–Bruce Lee

“He that loves to be flattered is worthy o’ the flatterer.”
–William Shakespeare

“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.” 
–Sun Tzu

“The idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is what I absolutely do not subscribe to.”
–John Cleese

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
–Walt Disney

“When anger rises, think of the consequences.”

“Never react emotionally to criticism. Analyze yourself to determine whether it is justified. If it is, correct yourself. Otherwise, go on about your business.”
–Norman Vincent Peale 

“Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.”
–Isaac Newton

“Everyone must be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger…”
–The Bible (James 1:19)

“It is just as valuable to be censured by friends as it is splendid to be praised by enemies. We desire praise from those who do not know us, but from friends we want the truth.”
–René Descartes

“Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”
–Elizabeth Gilbert

“What worries you, masters you.” 
–John Locke

“Feelings are something you have; not something you are.”
–Shannon L. Alder

“The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood.”

“Never make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion.”

Making emotions work for you, instead of against you. That’s EQ Applied.

Enjoy this post? Check out my book, EQ Applied, which uses fascinating research and compelling stories to illustrate what emotional intelligence looks like in everyday life.

A version of this article originally appeared on