Reflect back on a time when you were feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and alone. A time when you had nowhere to turn and no one to turn to. Situations like these are often our realities. When I myself have been faced with them, I was searching for a meaning and a purpose in my life.
While I was going through a loss of a loved in my teen years, I began to engage in some good reading as a manner of coping. I particularly came to enjoy inspirational and motivational books and quotes. One in particular by Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, were the words that changed my life. Before reading such quotes, I had nowhere to turn, and unexplainable feelings of depression along with grief. I needed to know that I still had a choice, a chance.
I have found comfort in inspirational quotes ever since the day I read Frankl’s words below. The following quotes have shaped and defined me as I entered and endured my twenties. In particular, these quotes are from some of the great minds of our time; some authors you may already recognize. I believe these will help you find fulfillment and peace in even the darkest of times, just as I have.
“The last of human freedoms—the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl
Lesson: Everyone has trials and tribulations. When you are stripped of everything and you’re vulnerable, there is only one more choice left: your attitude. Regardless of the situation, your response is what is important. Your greatest truth is just that.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” ~ Thomas A. Edison
Lesson: We can be so close to the finish line and not realize it. Frustration hits and sadly we give up. This is a lesson we all have to learn on our own time: persistence to fight against the odds. We may have failed but each failure is a lesson. Failure is what leads to success.
“I am thankful for all of those who said no to me. It’s because of them I’m doing it myself.” ~ Albert Einstein
Lesson: All of the rejection in life can lead us to find a greater independence. The more someone says something can’t be done, the more we should fight to prove them wrong. Not just for them but for ourselves. We can overcome our obstacles with persistence.
“Leap, and the net will appear.” ~ John Burroughs
Lesson: There are many times when we are afraid to step outside our comfort zones. We fear failure, defeat, rejection, and ruin. The greatest thing to learn is that life starts outside our comfort zones.
“Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom.” ~ George S. Patton
Lesson: We all fall down. We all hit rock bottom. It’s about how we climb out of the circumstances, or in this case, bounce back. Our struggles can be our motivation for success. Use them to bounce up and out of the darkness. They will give us the wings we need to fly.
“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” ~ Jim Morrison
Lesson: This quote discusses the meaning and nature of fear—it should never hold power over us. It’s meant to guide us to greater self discovery. Fear can be an illusion. Fear can be an excuse. Fear can be fleeting. Fear cannot end us, but it can cause us a lot of suffering. When we stop feeding the fear, it is then that we become free and alive. We become who we are meant to be, ourselves.
“Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace.” ~ Jonathan Hule
Lesson: Forgiveness is one of the hardest things one can do. It takes strength and courage to forgive someone who made us feel weak and vulnerable. When we forgive, it is not about freeing that person from accountability. It is about freeing ourselves from hate. The shackles of hate can dilute perception. We start to become the very thing we hate. Hate is what started the events that caused the pain in the first place. But we can be a light. A light that says, yes I am worth this level of peace and freedom from hate. I am worth loving and letting go. I am worth a second chance. I am worth healing.
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” ~ Karen Lamb
Lesson: We all procrastinate from time to time. When we look at our goals, we must stay focused on where we want to be. Don’t see it as the lack of progress after one day or even many days. Start at the endpoint. Imagine where you would like to be. Stay focused. Today is the only day that we have. Use it wisely.
We can all find ourselves in difficult situations feeling the struggle of defeat, negativity, and pain. Some of these feelings have stemmed from situations or people in our lives who have caused personal pain, stress, and damage. However, we have a choice, a power, and a freedom to decide how we are going to respond to any given situation. We have the strength and courage to choose the attitude that will serve the greater good and optimize success on our healing journey. We can choose to forgive those people and situations of our past for greater freedom and peace. These are the choices we have been given.
Most importantly, we hold the power to react to yesterday’s pain and to create tomorrow’s future.
Author: Sarah Jeanne Browne
Image: Flickr/Hartwig HKD
Editor: Travis May