"I used to discount my emotional responses. But now I listen to them and assess them. I will say to myself, "Gee, I have a visceral reaction to X. Why do I feel this way and am I correct to feel this way?" Listening to my emotions has, I think, given me a lot of insight."

That is such a useful thing to be able to do. Why is it so hard sometimes?!?!?! When I am struggling with listening to my emotions, I try to remember Rumi's poem The Guest House:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

(The Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)

The Happy Feminist

Well, I didn't say that I am always successful.


I couldnt imagine that you would be, since you are such an emotional girl.

The Happy Feminist

churl not girl


Of course. That is what I meant to say. Silly typo on my part. Now I have this image of you and lawyer2 going to bars, picking fights.

Gladwell's book Blink is also supportive of the idea about the importance of your initial reaction.


Thanks for the nod in my direction, and the book list! One of the problems with the academic side is I don't even know where to begin.

It is the fear of losing credibility that makes me rein in my emotional response, but once I've done that I don't know what to say. Figuring out what it is *specifically* that enrages me can be very difficult though, and constructing verbal arguments based on that even more so. I'd make a terrible lawyer, as I can rarely articulate what I think is "obvious"!

The Happy Feminist

I think learning to "state the obvious" is hugely important. It's definitely not easy to do, but that's a great way to identify your assumptions and then figure out (a) whether your assumptions are correct, or (b) how you can support your assumptions.

The Happy Feminist

And I am not sure my booklist is that great. That's just what I happened to read!


Hvae you seen the "Happy Wives" bit in the NY Times today, by John Tierney? Thought you'd be interested...

The Happy Feminist

Infuriating stuff, a. Pandagon has a good take on it. Grrr...there I go with my emotions again.

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