I’m about to make the case for inspirational quotes.
Yes, quotes on cards or memes on social media have become ubiquitous, and many times, they are trite.
But wise, funny or thought-provoking maxims can also be grounding.
They can take us out of our own messy minds.
They highlight our commonalities and act as a mirror that shows us who we are or who we might be.
For me, focusing on a quote also reminds me that whatever I’m struggling with is common; otherwise, why would someone else be speaking or writing about it?
There are countless other ways to bring yourself back to the present moment, jerk yourself outside your ego and practice mindfulness daily.
Click here for more ideas, and check out the quotes below that I use when I need to reset my mood or to be reminded of the values I’m striving to live out.
“Fear is a useless emotion. Don’t ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility.” —Michelle Obama
This Entpreneur.com article highlights quotes from former First Lady Michelle Obama.
The idea that fear is pointless is something I grew up learning. My mom and aunt reminded me of this often, and I can never hear it enough.
As someone with generalized anxiety disorder, irrational fear is something I deal with constantly. But fear isn’t usually logical, and if we are afraid, we are usually operating outside the present moment and worrying that something bad might happen.
While fear does have some evolutionary value, in daily, modern life, it is mostly useless.
And operating out of fear instead of hope can create self-fulfilling prophecies.
If we are going to spend our time thinking about things that haven’t happened yet, why not do as Obama suggests and come at it all from a positive place?
“Don’t start chasing applause and acclaim. That way lies madness.” —Ron Swanson
As I’ve written before, “Parks and Recreation” character Ron Swanson is wonderfully wise. Props to the show’s writers for all his nuggets of straightforward enlightenment.
This quote reminds us to do good work for the sake of good work. It reminds us to live authentically.
We’ve likely all met someone who is constantly chasing approval and recognition, which most often comes off as insecurity or vanity.
It’s a natural reaction to want to be acknowledged when we work hard or are successful, but we need to temper that with the trust that our positive actions speak for themselves and eventually will bring something good back to us.
“If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected. Decide what to be and go be it.” —The Avett Brothers
Some of the best quotes come from songs. They can stand alone like this, but we can also get swept up in the music.
The Avett Brothers is one of my favorite bands, and accompanying their banjo-picking beats and longing ballads are lyrics that strike at my core. It was nearly impossible for me to narrow my favorite lyrics down.
But I like this one, particularly for its declarative nature.
The first part reminds us of a deep truth we easily forget, and the second part challenges us to overcome obstacles and just do the damn thing—whatever that may be at the moment.
“I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” ―Rainer Maria Rilke, I read and think of this quote whenever an existential crisis is looming. It speaks for itself.
May we all strive to be fearless; may we all remember to be humble; may we be thankful for the love we have; may we be patient with life’s endless questions.
The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.