25 Quotes to Foster Emotional Resilience

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“I ask not for a lighter burden, but broader shoulders,” says a Jewish proverb. That is the essence of emotional resilience … broader shoulders. We can’t control what illness we are diagnosed with, what tragedies come our way, or how many disappointments we will run into in our day.

However, we can control how we face adversity of all kind: the big whoppers that feel as though they are sealing our fate and that we will never ever breathe fresh air again, and the inconveniences and frustrations that can easily put us in a bad mood every day.

Here are some pieces of wisdom from sage philosophers, authors, and shrewd people from different time periods on how to handle difficulty with grace, to recognize specks of light in the dark, and to develop the emotional resilience that will make for broad shoulders.

1. Search for the seed of good in every adversity. Master that principle and you will own a precious shield that will guard you well through all the darkest valleys you must traverse. Stars may be seen from the bottom of a deep well, when they cannot be discerned from the mountaintop. So will you learn things in adversity that you would never have discovered without trouble. There is always a seed of good. Find it and prosper. – Og Mandino

2. If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high. Look it squarely in the eye, and say, “I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.” Then, repeat to yourself the most comforting words of all, “This too will pass.” – Ann Landers

3. Live to the point of tears. – Albert Camus

4. There is no coming to consciousness without pain. – C. G. Jung

5. Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us. – Meister Eckhart

6. Life can only be understood backwards, it has to be lived forwards. – Soren Kierkegaard

7. A man can only do what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day. – Albert Schweitzer

8. We are healed from suffering only by experiencing it to the full. – Marcel Proust

9. Everything that happens to you is your teacher. The secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it. Everything that happens is either a blessing which is also a lesson, or a lesson which is also a blessing. – Polly Berrien Berends

10. You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief. But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound. – Khalil Gibran

11.  A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain. – Mildred Witte Stouven

12. Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. – Maori Proverb

13. Instead of seeing the rug being pulled from under us, we can learn to dance on the shifting carpet. – Thomas Crum

14. It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives. Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds. – Black Elk

15. Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. – M. Scott Peck

16. Never measure the height of the mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was. – Dag Hammarskjold

17. The weariest night, the longest day, sooner or later must perforce come to an end. – Baroness Orczy

18. We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world. – Helen Keller

19. Nothing we ever imagined is beyond our powers, only beyond our present self-knowledge. – Theodore Roszak

20. Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself, and never mind the rest. – Beatrix Potter

21. All we are asked to bear we can bear. That is a law of the spiritual life. The only hindrance to the working of this law, as of all benign laws, is fear. – Elizabeth Goudge

22. I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing. – Herman Melville

23. I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my ship. – Louisa May Alcott

24. He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. – Friedrich Nietzsche

25. Fall seven times; stand up eight. – Japanese proverb

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