This Being Human is a Guest House


“When we accept the ‘negative’ emotions, they can move through us and perhaps even teach us something.”

It seems human nature to welcome the “good” or “positive” emotions we feel (joy, excitement), but reject or suppress the “bad” or “negative” ones (anger, sorrow). My dear old friend Tracy sent me this poem by Rumi, and I think it’s a beautiful reminder to embrace whatever emotions we feel and to honour that they are there for a reason.

When we accept the “negative” emotions, they can move through us and perhaps even teach us something. I find that it brings a sense of peace and freedom when I remember to practice this acceptance.

“The Guest House” by Rumi

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.

(from The Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)


Dear SheLoves friends, we’d love to know:

  • Which lines in this poem ring most beautifully in your ears, and why?
  • Do you differentiate between “good” and “bad” emotions, and how does this habit help or hinder you?
  • What painful emotions have you felt gratitude for?

Image Credit: by Denna Jones

Stefanie Thomas

Stefanie Thomas

Stefanie is a Registered Clinical Counsellor living in Vancouver, BC. She feels blessed to work in a helping profession and is grateful that her work requires her to show up not in a power suit but with listening ears and a compassionate heart. Stefanie enjoys spending time with family and friends and has never met a kid or baby she doesn’t like. She is a noticer and appreciator of birds (chickadees, herons, eagles) and many a beach rock has come home in her pocket. Stefanie is a lover of music, tv and movies, and she is gifted at absorbing and retaining useless pop culture trivia. She loves walking, fresh air, the smell of dirt, and anything of the salt and vinegar persuasion. She can often be found puttering.
Stefanie Thomas
Stefanie Thomas

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