Five Quotes for Living in Troubling Times

by Belinda Munoz on August 8, 2011

As a civilization, we’re living in exciting yet terrifying times. The words tenuous, fragile and unpredictable come to mind when we consider what the future holds. On any given day, we’re faced with serious questions regarding our well-being, progress and survival and if we’re not careful, we may find ourselves settling on the wrong answers.

Some days, like today, the words of others, though may not necessarily be the answers to our most pressing questions, do provide guidance and much-needed comfort.

CONVICTION
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. ~ attribution undetermined

Conviction need not be a dividing force that leaves no room for common ground. It may not be the main ingredient for getting along with those who espouse opposite views, but some things are much too important to give up on.

THE HALFWAY POINT
The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway. ~Henry Boye, publisher of Harvard Business Review

This is not just a blatant plug for the name of my blog. Some call it compromise, others call it getting along. The key is to find the balance between, to paraphrase the Rolling Stones, not getting what you want and getting what you need.

PARTICIPATION
We are the ones we have been waiting for. ~ June Jordan, poet

When something is broken, it’s all too easy to blame someone who broke it, or someone who was tasked to fix it even if (s)he didn’t break it. What’s not as easy to do is to accept that 1) the mess is bigger and more complex than one person can fix, and 2) no one person or entity is going to come for us to fix our own mess. We are it and each of us is invited to play a part, no matter how seemingly small, in the solution.

KINDNESS
Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. ~Samuel Johnson, poet, author, etc.

Kindness is not a reward, and meanness is not the standard by which any of us need to adhere. We don’t have to want to have a beer with those we work with or those who are in positions of power. It is, however, possible to choose to treat them with kindness.

THOUGHT/ACTION
Think globally, act locally. ~ David Brower, noted environmentalist

It applies to more than just the earth. If our thoughts are to have meaning, it is impossible to think of ourselves without also considering others. And if we want efficacy in our actions, starting small, locally, is the best way to do it.

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What and whose words of wisdom guide you?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Talon August 8, 2011 at 10:57 am

Belinda, such wise and wonderful quotes and wisdom about how to live a life responsibly and honorably.

Two quotes always stick in my head about life and wisdom:

“Worry is but rust on the brain” ~~ Albert Einstein (it always reminds me it’s better to do something – anything – than to sit and worry fruitlessly)

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, but the way you carry it” ~~ author unknown. (I read that in a doctor’s office years ago and I always remember that it is possible to change how you view situations and how you process them)

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2 Belinda August 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I love both of these quotes, Talon. I’m as prone to worry as anybody, but it really is so damaging to our psyche. We always have the option to get busy (possibly mobilize others) instead of sitting in a corner alone thinking the world is about to end. Though being alone with one’s thoughts is natural, spending too much time in there with no outside influences or opposing views just sounds so unhealthy.

And the second quote is so true literally and figuratively. (And now I’ll be checking for quotes at my doctor’s office!)

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3 BigLittleWolf August 8, 2011 at 11:34 am

These are wonderful, Belinda.

Here’s one (from Bruce at Privilege of Parenting) that I might add:

Giving is the best cure for not having.

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4 Belinda August 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm

BLW, this is such liberating attitude that forces us to consider how much we have and what we have to be grateful for. Thanks.

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5 Sara August 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Belinda,

I loved all of the quotes and your thoughts about the words. My favorites were “participation” and “kindness.”

I also liked the one that BigLittleWolf added. That’s a good one, too. And Talon’s was good.

Two of my favorite quotes are:
“You grow up the day you have your first real laugh – at yourself.” ~ Ethel Barrymore
“What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” ~Yiddish Proverb

I think laughter and humor are powerful forces at joining people together. It’s hard to hate someone when both of you are really laughing:~)

This was a good post to remind me of what’s really important. Thanks.

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6 Belinda August 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Thanks for adding these great quotes, Sara. I love the thought of laughter as a cleansing agent, or detergent of sorts, for the soul, because it’s true that laughter and humor allow us to face what’s in front of us with a sense of readiness. Laughter feels great, it’s free (so far), and it isn’t against the law (not yet anyway)!

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7 ayala August 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm

These are wonderful quotes. Thank you, Belinda.

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8 Meg August 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Love the quotes, and the ones everybody else added, too. Right now I am in the middle of a situation for which the Samuel Johnson quote is most apt. I am compelled to act in kindness toward family members who have totally pummeled my fondness for them. Perhaps in time the fondness will be restored, but in the meantime the kindness is essential for me as well as for them.

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9 Belinda August 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Meg, that quote is probably what I struggle with the most in practice especially when it concerns family. I have a tendency to favor confrontation (which some consider unkind) in order to achieve peace/understanding, over attempts at inauthentic kindness (inauthentic as in I’m unable to act as though nothing’s wrong). Family situations to me always seem doubly more complex, I’m not exactly sure why.

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10 Marci | Liberating Choices August 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm

My guidance comes from learning and observing family systems, interactions, patterns. Families are so important but can be just as challenging. Understanding myself among my relationships has literally improved my health. It reminds me of your quote about conviction – know when to hold onto your convictions and when to be flexible. Both are important and necessary – must know self first.

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11 Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri August 10, 2011 at 10:48 am

Great quotes Belinda. Here are some of my favorites:

“Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.” – Goethe
“Every wall is a door.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

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12 Cathy August 11, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I have a magnet on my wall that says, “Believe in yourself and the magic will happen.” I have no idea if it is attributed to anyone but it helps to keep me steady, recognize that I have power within myself to achieve that which I set out to do.

All great quotes even throughout the comments.

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