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November 8, 2016

20 Quotes to Inspire & Remind Us of Our Strength.

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I feel like I’ve spent years of my life trying to smooth out my sharp edges.

Oftentimes as a woman, I feel like I’ve lived my life apologizing for those edges. But I’ve also lived with the sharpness of others cutting deeply into me.

I’ve come to a place where I’ve begun to look kindly upon my own sharp corners. I’ve come to believe that perhaps I need them. I take those edges and hone my words against them. I use them to protect myself and to push myself forward, and I’m tired of apologizing for being less refined than others think I should be.

So here’s where we stop trying to soften all those rough edges that make us who we are. This is when we begin to sharpen them, and we don’t do it with the intention of harming others. We just reach this place of peace where we realize that we need to sharpen ourselves to be able to face the challenges that come our way. Those sharp edges are just as much a part of us as our softer side and just as important.

It seems that a primary issue of feminism is that men are told not to be soft and women are told not to be hardso we have all of these voices telling us not to be human. If we can get past those voices, we can embrace ourselves as we are—even our rough edges and sharp places.

The world around us may shout that we need to smooth ourselves out and learn to blend in. We need to follow these rules and color inside the lines. But when I think of strong women, I think of women who have lived lives that made them stand out. Maybe they were a little louder or a little wilder or just a little more colorful than the others.

Here are quotes from 20 powerful women who have modeled lives of sharp edges and incredible brilliance to remind us that we are perfect as we are and aren’t meant to live color-by-number lives. We can be bold, embrace all that we are and stand out.

1. Elizabeth Taylor

“I’m a survivor—a living example of what people can go through and survive.”
“I’ve been through it all, baby, I’m mother courage.”
“I’ve always admitted that I’m ruled by my passions.”

2. Marilyn Monroe

“I restore myself when I’m alone.”

“I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful.
Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

3. Mae West

“A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.”
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
“When I’m good I’m very, very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.”

4. Katherine Hepburn

“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”
“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”
“Never complain. Never explain.”
“Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around.”

5. Eleanor Roosevelt

“Women are like teabags. You don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.”
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right—for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

6. Edna St. Vincent Millay

“My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—it gives a lovely light!”

7. Harriet Tubman

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”

8. Sojourner Truth

“Truth is powerful and it prevails.”

9. Susan B. Anthony

“The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball—the further I am rolled the more I gain.”

10. Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“Self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice.”
“The best protection any woman can have…is courage.”

11. Emma Watson

“I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself.”
“I feel like young girls are told they have to be a princess, and be delicate and fragile, and that’s bulls**t. I identify much more with the idea of being a warrior, being a fighter. If I was going to be a princess, I’d be a warrior princess, definitely. I think women are scared of feeling powerful and strong and brave sometimes. I think you’ve got to embrace it.”
“I don’t want the fear of failure to stop me from doing what I really care about.”

12. Alice Walker

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”

13. Bette Davis

“This has always been a motto of mine: Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work.”

14. Gloria Steinem

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

15. Maya Angelou

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
“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.”
“Nothing will work unless you do.”

16. Ruth Bader Ginsberg

“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”

17. Anais Nin

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

18. Frida Kahlo

“I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.”
“I am that clumsy human, always loving, loving, loving. And loving. And never leaving.”

19. Margaret Thatcher

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
“If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”

20. bell hooks

“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.”

 

Author: Crystal Jackson 

Image: Flickr / Franco Folini 

Editor: Travis May

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