Words offer perfect doses of hope, determination, laughter, wisdom

I watch for great quotes the way kids hunt Easter eggs, eagerly peering around every corner in case a good one is nestled nearby. It’s one of my favorite parts about reading — the way some sentences jump off the page and into the core of who you are or who you want to be.

In a recent podcast, author Susan Cain said that the point of writing is “to tell the truth about what it’s like to be alive.” Yes, I thought. That’s it! I love it when a single line rings true in every cell of my body.

You don’t have to be an avid reader or a writer to love great quotes. In fact, the best quotes are like medicine because they offer a dose of hope, determination, a good laugh, or even a reminder to be kind to yourself in what can often be an overwhelming world.

So, in the spirit of new growth, here are 10 quotes I’m loving lately. When I find one, I write it on a notecard and keep it on my desk or screen shot it with my phone so I can keep discovering it over and over again — encouraging its truth to soak through my stubbornness until it mingles with marrow.

Here’s hoping these words help all of us bloom into spring with a renewed sense of what it’s really like to be alive.

When you’re afraid to try:

“Don’t be too timid or squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.” — Essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you’re feeling whiny:

“The true joy in life is to be a force of fortune instead of a feverish, selfish little cloud of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” — Playwright George Bernard Shaw

When you need to keep pushing:

“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” — Psychology professor and author Angela Duckworth

When you need to remember the upside of feeling down:

“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” — Robin Williams’ character Sean in the movie “Good Will Hunting”

When you need to take a risk:

“There are too many people in the world today who decide to live disappointed rather than risk feeling disappointed.” — Brene Brown, research professor and author of “Atlas of the Heart”

When your work is hard:

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard … is what makes it great.” — Tom Hanks’ character Jimmy Dugan in the movie “A League of Their Own”

When you’d rather avoid hard things:

“It is not fear that stops you from doing the brave and true thing in your daily life. Rather, the problem is avoidance. You want to feel comfortable, so you avoid doing or saying the thing that will evoke fear and other difficult emotions. Avoidance will make you feel less vulnerable in the short run, but it will never make you less afraid.” — Dr. Harriet Lerner in the book “The Dance of Fear”

When you need to light up:

“Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive.” –Bugs Bunny

When you underestimate simple kindness:

“Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life.” — Actor and martial artist Jackie Chan

When you doubt the power of love:

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” — Poet Maya Angelou

Gwen Rockwood is a syndicated freelance columnist. Email her at [email protected] Her book is available on Amazon.

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