I’m really big into collecting quotes. These tiny doses of inspiration have been especially helpful over the past five years, as I’ve pieced my life back together, blazed new trails, and tried to live consciously and authentically every day – making choices that align with my values and what I want from life, not necessarily what I was raised to believe is the “right” choice because of upbringing or doctrine or some other prescribed set of rules. These little doses of verbal encouragement help me push past fear, making me say “yes” instead of “no,” and giving me the courage to dip my toe into all sorts of waters, even when I’m apprehensive beyond belief.
When I look through the hundreds of quotes in my collection, what’s most interesting is that they serve as a bit of an autobiography – a journal of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. I can see exactly where I was at various times in my life: starting a business, starting a relationship, mourning a relationship, reaching for dreams, learning to accept myself and my idiosyncrasies – all peppered with lessons around letting go of control, learning to be patient, remembering to trust, breathing through uncertainty, accepting the situation, and staying in the present moment. Everyone has issues they struggle with – and these, THESE, my friends, are mine.
Yet however far we may get in overcoming our core issues, they’re always with us on some level, waiting to rear their ugly heads. I, for one, don’t believe you ever really get over them, but you learn to get through them. The key is to embrace them and not let them hold you back from experiencing what the world puts in front of you – work, love, opportunity. The life you’re meant to live, however scary it may be to imagine doing so. All too often, we get in our own way – and it might be cleverly disguised as a need to control or as inherent impatience, but it’s always, always, ALWAYS rooted in fear. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of success and what it might demand of us – and whether we’re up for the task.
When I feel afraid and feel myself getting in my way, I comb through the quotes. And they help steer me back to center. These are some of my favorites. I hope they help you find your way back to center as well.
We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. – Joseph Campbell
One of the greatest feelings in life is the conviction that you have lived the life you wanted to live – with the rough and the smooth, the good and the bad – but yours, shaped by your own choices, and not someone else’s. – Michael Ignatieff
Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets. – Clark Moustakan
To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. – e.e. cummings
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
”Now” is the operative word. Everything you put in your way is just a method of putting off the hour when you could actually be doing your dream. You don’t need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating. – Barbara Sher
I’ve been married twice. I’m now single. I don’t mind it. People say: “You have to date. It’s good for you.” But it’s not good for me if I don’t like the men. – Isabella Rossellini
The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark. – Barbara Hall
Once again we face a paradox, for it appears that softening your heart and gently tending its wounds will protect you from evil. Building a fortress and defending yourself behind it will only make you more vulnerable. Healing your own heart is the single most powerful thing you can do to change the world. – Deepak Chopra
It might be very easy to find sexual satisfaction, but getting someone to love you for a long time or loving someone might be more interesting. – Hanif Kureishi
There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin
I’m running a business. And sometimes being the boss of your own empire and creation, you have to be assertive. Being a female, that comes with being labeled a “bitch” and given titles that men wouldn’t receive. But if that’s what I’m going to be called by being assertive and knowing who I am and what I want out of life, so be it. I wear that label proudly. – Christina Aguilera (yes, Christina said this!)
Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk everything, you risk even more. – Erica Jong
You have touched me more profoundly than I thought even you could have touched me – my heart was full when you came here today. Henceforward I am yours for everything. – Elizabeth Barrett Browning (to Robert Browning)
What is more mortifying than to feel you’ve missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree? – Logan Pearsall Smith
Bill pushed us really hard and he pushed himself really hard…I have a bunch of influences in my life, and that was definitely one that made me brave, or foolish, or whatever the word is for not overthinking things and for just jumping in and deciding that if you work hard and you’re smart about it, everything will turn out OK. So far, so good. – Liz Dunn, former Microsoft software developer and principal of Dunn and Hobbes, on her biggest influences: Bill Gates and Microsoft
Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred‑and‑first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before. – Jacob A. Riis
I’m willing to receive a smaller percentage and relinquish control, as long as the idea goes into the minds of a brilliant company. I’m not going to run out of creativity or ideas, so I don’t hang on to stuff for dear life. If you’re terrified to release control, nothing gets made. – Dave Stewart
To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying “Amen” to what the world tells you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. – Robert Louis Stevenson
They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. – Andy Warhol
We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live. – Nicolas de Chamfort
Freedom lies at the heart of my willingness to lose everything. – Alanis Morissette
Learning to trust life is like learning to swim. First you flail, convinced you’re going to drown. Then you notice that if you calm down, it’s possible to tread water. Finally, as your movements slow, you realize something much more profound. When you let go completely and just relax, you find you’re magically held up by the water. It was ready to support you all the time. – James Baraz
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. – Mark Twain
The life you are meant to find will wring your heart to the point of breaking and then douse you with buckets of joy when you’re not looking. – Linford Detweiler