Pain And Struggle Quotes

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Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
George Orwell
You need to spend time crawling alone through shadows to truly appreciate what it is to stand in the sun.
Shaun Hick
Stop fighting me!" he said, trying to pull on the arm he held. He was in a precarious position himself, straddling the rail as he tried to lean over far enough to get me and actually hold onto me. “Let go of me!” I yelled back. But he was too strong and managed to haul most of me over the rail, enough so that I wasn’t in total danger of falling again. See, here’s the thing. In that moment before I let go, I really had been contemplating my death. I’d come to terms with it and accepted it. I also, however, had known Dimitri might do something exactly like this. He was just that fast and that good. That was why I was holding my stake in the hand that was dangling free. I looked him in the eye. "I will always love you." Then I plunged the stake into his chest. It wasn’t as precise a blow as I would have liked, not with the skilled way he was dodging. I struggled to get the stake in deep enough to his heart, unsure if I could do it from this angle. Then, his struggles stopped. His eyes stared at me, stunned, and his lips parted, almost into a smile, albeit a grisly and pained one. "That’s what I was supposed to say. . .” he gasped out. Those were his last words.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
Women should be respected as well! Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn't women have their share? Soldiers and war heroes are honored and commemorated, explorers are granted immortal fame, martyrs are revered, but how many people look upon women too as soldiers?...Women, who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed freedom-fighting heroes put together!
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.
Thomas Paine
Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Matthew Arnold (Dover Beach and Other Poems)
Oh, the terrible struggle that I have had against sleep so often of late; the pain of the sleeplessness, or the pain of the fear of sleep, and with such unknown horror as it has for me! How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.
Bram Stoker (Dracula)
pain, pleasure and death are no more than a process for existence. The revolutionary struggle in this process is a doorway open to intelligence
Frida Kahlo (The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait)
Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires. The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame. Pain is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life, and to tear it out is not only impossible, but destructive: attempting to tear it out unravels everything else with it. To try to avoid pain is to give too many fucks about pain. In contrast, if you’re able to not give a fuck about the pain, you become unstoppable." ~~~~ Mark Manson
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
The days aren't discarded or collected, they are bees that burned with sweetness or maddened the sting: the struggle continues, the journeys go and come between honey and pain. No, the net of years doesn't unweave: there is no net. They don't fall drop by drop from a river: there is no river. Sleep doesn't divide life into halves, or action, or silence, or honor: life is like a stone, a single motion, a lonesome bonfire reflected on the leaves, an arrow, only one, slow or swift, a metal that climbs or descends burning in your bones.
Pablo Neruda (Still Another Day)
Never underestimate the pain of a person, because in all honesty, everyone is struggling. Some people are just better at hiding it than others.
Will Smith
Some of the most beautiful things we have in life comes from our mistakes.
Surgeo Bell
Don't think of them now. Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them. You're here. It's our time and our life, not theirs. Don't struggle not to be happy. You are." - John Gault
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
Then, his struggles stopped. His eyes stared at me, stunned, and his lips parted, almost into a smile, albeit a grisly and pained one. "That’s what I was supposed to say..." he gasped out. Those were his last words.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
George Orwell
Kindness eases change. Love quiets fear. And a sweet and powerful Positive obsession Blunts pain, Diverts rage, And engages each of us In the greatest, The most intense Of our chosen struggles.
Octavia E. Butler (Parable of the Talents (Earthseed, #2))
I thank the Lord that, even though things were so wrong in my life here, I finally was brought to the realization of what all those struggles were about. There are some wonderful things from your painful past, things with a beauty you may not have realized at the time.
Ravi Zacharias (Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows)
I was scarred but I was not broken. Beneath my wounds I was still whole. Beneath my insecurities, beneath my pain, beneath my struggle, beneath it all, I was still whole.
Amy Harmon (A Different Blue)
It struck him that in moments of crisis one is never fighting against an external enemy, but always against one’s own body... On the battlefield, in the torture chamber, on a sinking ship, the issues that you are fighting for are always forgotten, because the body swells up until it fills the universe, and even when you are not paralysed by fright or screaming with pain, life is a moment-to-moment struggle against hunger or cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth.
George Orwell (1984)
His eyes were still closed and his body rocked gently to the music, but his face was almost...desolate. His words matched his face, as he sang about how each day was a struggle, and never seeing my face caused him physical pain. He sang that "my face was his light, and he felt drenched in darkness without it." Tears fell freely after I heard that line.
S.C. Stephens (Thoughtless (Thoughtless, #1))
When you think this pain is all you deserve, you are right. You are the only one that can decide how long you will walk in hell.
Shannon L. Alder
I was guilty and irritated and full of love and pain. I wanted to kick him and I wanted to take him in my arms.
James Baldwin (Giovanni's Room)
The greatest challenge of my life has been to see and accept the actual truth without great pain and struggle against it.
M.C. Halliday (I Came Up Stairs: A Victorian Courtesan's Memoirs, 1867 to 1871)
The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain
Padre Pio
Those who love, friends and lovers, know that love is not only a blinding flash, but also a long and painful struggle in the darkness for the realization of definitive recognition and reconciliation.
Albert Camus (The Rebel)
It's ok to be a fool once or twice but never let it be a third time. Be smart and pretend to be a fool and at the end of the hunt make sure you're the one that has the gun.
Surgeo Bell
I am but a poor struggling soul yearning to be wholly good, wholly truthful and wholly non-violent in thought, word and deed, but ever failing to reach the ideal which I know to be true. It is a painful climb, but each step upwards makes me feel stronger and fit for the next.
Mahatma Gandhi
So what is it in a human life that creates bravery, kindness, wisdom, and reilience? What if it's pain? What if it's the struggle?
Glennon Doyle Melton (Love Warrior)
We love being mentally strong, but we hate situations that allow us to put our mental strength to good use.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
I know it may be impossible to believe now, when everything is dark and broken, but you will survive this pain, little one. Pain is a memory. You will live and you will struggle and you will find joy. And you will remember your family from this breath to your dying days, because love does not fade. Love is the stars, and its light carries on long after death.
Pierce Brown (Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga, #4))
It is a sad thing to think of, but there is no doubt that genius lasts longer than beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves. In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place. The thoroughly well-informed man--that is the modern ideal. And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
he saw that all the struggles of life were incessant, laborious, painful, that nothing was done quickly, without labor, that it had to undergo a thousand fondlings, revisings, moldings, addings, removings, graftings, tearings, correctings, smoothings, rebuildings, reconsiderings, nailings, tackings, chippings, hammerings, hoistings, connectings — all the poor fumbling uncertain incompletions of human endeavor. They went on forever and were forever incomplete, far from perfect, refined, or smooth, full of terrible memories of failure and fears of failure, yet, in the way of things, somehow noble, complete, and shining in the end.
Jack Kerouac
A choice of pains. That's what living was all about.
Audre Lorde (Zami: A New Spelling of My Name)
God whispered, "You endured a lot. For that I am truly sorry, but grateful. I needed you to struggle to help so many. Through that process you would grow into who you have now become. Didn't you know that I gave all my struggles to my favorite children? One only needs to look at the struggles given to your older brother Jesus to know how important you have been to me.
Shannon L. Alder
Those who overcome great challenges will be changed, and often in unexpected ways. For our struggles enter our lives as unwelcome guests, but they bring valuable gifts. And once the pain subsides, the gifts remain. These gifts are life's true treasures, bought at great price, but cannot be acquired in any other way.
Steve Goodier
In the book Soldiers on the Home Front, I was greatly struck by the fact that in childbirth alone, women commonly suffer more pain, illness and misery than any war hero ever does. An what's her reward for enduring all that pain? She gets pushed aside when she's disfigured by birth, her children soon leave, hear beauty is gone. Women, who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed freedom-fighting heroes put together.
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane.
George Orwell (Why I Write)
The struggle to emerge out of the past, clean of memories; the inadequacy of our hearts to cut life into separate and final portions; the pain of this constant ambivalence and interrelation of emotions; the hunger for frontiers against which we might learn as upon closed doors before we proceed forward; the struggle against diffusion, new beginnings, against finality in acts without finality or end, in our cursedly repercussive being..
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934)
I used to think struggle was what aged you, but if that were the case, Julian should have been a hundred years old. Now I wonder if the opposite is true. Maybe instead of accelerating your age, pain won't let you grow.
Robin Roe (A List of Cages)
God built lighthouses to see people through storms. Then he built storms to remind people to find lighthouses.
Shannon L. Alder
Why?" I asked softly. The word was carried away on the wind, but he heard. "Because I want you." I gave him a sad smile, wondering if we'd meet again in the land of the dead. "Wrong answer," I told him. I let go. [...] I looked him in the eye. "I will always love you." Then I plunged the stake into his chest. It wasn't as precise a blow as I would have liked, not with the skilled way he was dodging. I struggled to get the stake in deep enough to his heart, unsure if I could do it from this angle. Then, his struggles stopped. His eyes stared at me, stunned, and his lips parted, almost into a smile, albeit a grisly and pained one. "That's what I was supposed to say..." he gasped out.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
REMEMBER YOUR GREATNESS Before you were born, And were still too tiny for The human eye to see, You won the race for life From among 250 million competitors. And yet, How fast you have forgotten Your strength, When your very existence Is proof of your greatness. You were born a winner, A warrior, One who defied the odds By surviving the most gruesome Battle of them all. And now that you are a giant, Why do you even doubt victory Against smaller numbers, And wider margins? The only walls that exist, Are those you have placed in your mind. And whatever obstacles you conceive, Exist only because you have forgotten What you have already Achieved. Poetry by Suzy Kassem
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
This kiss is worth all the tears, all the heartache, all the pain, all the struggles, all the waiting. She's worth it all. She's worth more.
Colleen Hoover (Maybe Someday (Maybe, #1))
Some of our struggles involve making decisions, while others are a result of the decisions we have made. Some of our struggles result from choices others make that affect our lives. We cannot always control everything that happens to us in this life, but we can control how we respond. Many struggles come as problems and pressures that sometimes cause pain. Others come as temptations, trials, and tribulations.
L. Lionel Kendrick
Life is mostly pain and struggle; the rest is love and deep dish pizza.
Benedict Smith
As your perspective of the world increases not only is the pain it inflicts on you less but also its meaning. Understanding the world requires you to take a certain distance from it.
Karl Ove Knausgård (My Struggle: Book 1)
There comes a time in some relationships when no matter how sincere the attempt to reconcile the differences or how strong the wish to recreate a part of the past once shared, the struggle becomes so painful that nothing else is felt and the world and all its beauty only add to the discomfort by providing cruel contrast.
Leo F. Buscaglia (Loving Each Other)
Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future. Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground.
Sara Ahmed
Broken wings are a sign of struggle. And strength.
Najwa Zebian (The Nectar of Pain)
Living is a process of developing oneself. Without experiencing pain from disconcerting periods of our lives, we would be different person, perhaps a lesser person.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Whenever you feel a little stricken down in pain, think about this. The knife has to be sharpened by striking and rubbing it against something strong before it can become useful! You are going to be great after the struggles.
Israelmore Ayivor (The Great Hand Book of Quotes)
The more we try to avoid the basic reality that all human life involves pain, the more we are likely to struggle with that pain when it arises, thereby creating even more suffering.
Russ Harris (The Happiness Trap: How To Stop Struggling And Start Living)
I find pain, rather beautiful. It has a chaotic way of shaking up Everything we once ignored, To empower us to move past Anything that doesn't serve the best of us anymore.
Nikki Rowe
I waited for him to say something more, but he was quiet. "Was there something you wanted?" I asked. He didn't answer right away, but I could feel him struggling, so I waited. "If I asked you something, would you tell me the truth?" It was my turn to hesitate. "I don't know everything," I hedged. "You would know this. When we were walking... me and Jeb... he was telling me some things. Things he thought, but I don't know if he's right." Melanie was suddenly very in my head. Jamie's whisper was hard to hear, quieter than my breathing. "Uncle Jeb thinks that Melanie might still be alive. Inside there with you, I mean." Melanie sighed. I said nothing to either of them. "I didn't know that could happen. Does that happen?" His voice broke and I could hear that he was fighting tears. He was not a boy to cry, and here I'd grieved him this deeply twice in one day. A pain pierced through the general region of my chest. "Does it, Wanda?" "Why won't you answer me?" Jamie was really crying now but trying to muffle the sound. I crawled off the bed, squeezing into the hard space between the mattress and the mat, and threw my arm over his shaking chest. I leaned my head against his hair and felt his tears, warm on my neck. "Is Melanie still alive, Wanda? Please?" He was probably a tool. The old man could have sent him just for this, Jeb was smart enough to see how easily Jamie broke through my defenses. Jamie's body shook beside me. Melanie cried. She battered ineffectually at my control. But I couldn't blame this on Melanie if it turned out to be a huge mistake. I knew who was speaking now. "She promised she would come back, didn't she?" I murmured. "Would Melanie break a promise to you?" Jamie slid his arms around my waist and clung to me for a long time. After a few minutes, he whispered. "Love you, Mel." "She loves you, too. She's so happy that you're here and safe." He was silent long enough for the tears on my skin to dry, leaving a fine, salty dust behind.
Stephenie Meyer (The Host (The Host, #1))
There are no mistakes in life, only lessons. There is no such thing as a negative experience, only opportunities to grow, learn and advance along the road of selfmastery. From struggle comes strength. Even pain can be a wonderful teacher
Robin S. Sharma
Hiding my pain and acting strong, afraid to cry and show my tears, I struggle with all this years later.
Erin Merryn (Living for Today: From Incest and Molestation to Fearlessness and Forgiveness)
Everybody enjoys what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy, and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when they walk into the room. Everybody wants that. It’s easy to want that. A more interesting question, a question that most people never consider, is, “What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?” Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out. For
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
There was no God in his heart, he knew; his ideas were still in riot; there was ever the pain of memory; the regret for his lost youth-yet the waters of disillusion had left a deposit on his soul, responsibility and a love of life, the faint stirring of old ambitions and unrealized dreams...... And he could not tell why the struggle was worth while, why he had determined to use to the utmost himself and his heritage from the personalities he had passed... He stretched out his arms to the crystalline, radiant sky. I know myself," he cried, "but that is all.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (This Side of Paradise)
Your brain can do amazing stuff to protect itself from pain," Mo tells me. "But it'll struggle to keep secrets from the rest of you for long.
Beth O'Leary (The Flatshare (The Flatshare, #1))
I’m dirty,” I refute, hot tears brimming. “You don’t want me.” His face twists in pain. “I don’t think that. Neither should you.” His lips graze my neck and then find my ear. “Lil, I want you to ask me. I need you to.” He presses his forehead to my temple, gently edging me closer to the mattress, his hands tight on my hips. I continue to struggle for breath. I know what he wants now. He wants this to be real. So do I. “Help me,” I say, breathlessly.
Krista Ritchie (Addicted to You (Addicted, #1))
I fall upon the thorns of life, I bleed. And then? I fall upon the thorns of life, I bleed. And what next? I get laid, I take a short holiday, but very soon after I fall upon those same thorns with gratification in pain, or suffering in joy - who knows what the mixture is! What good, what lasting good is there in me? Is there nothing else between birth and death but what I can get out of this perversity - only a favorable balance of disorderly emotions? No freedom? Only impulses? And what about all the good I have in my heart - does it mean anything? Is it simply a joke? A false hope that makes a man feel the illusion of worth? And so he goes on with his struggles. But this good is no phony. I know it isn't. I swear it.
Saul Bellow (Herzog)
Does the open wound in another's breast soften the pain of the gaping wound in our own? Or does the blood which is welling from another man's side staunch that which is pouring from our own? Does the general anguish of our fellow creatures lessen our own private and particular anguish? No, no, each suffers on his own account, each struggles with his own grief, each sheds his own tears.
Alexandre Dumas (The Man in the Iron Mask (The D'Artagnan Romances, #3.4))
As I write, I am struggling with the ghost of someone I loved and lost. I now understand more fully the difficulties you were going through, and I realize how painful it must have been for you to move on.
Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle)
A more interesting question, a question that most people never consider, is, 'What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?' Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
Never Expect Loyalty From A Person That Can't Give You Honesty.
Surgeo Bell
It is painful for the plant which is myself to live in the atmosphere and light of this world. Somewhere an element is lacking which would permit me to continue.
Osamu Dazai (The Setting Sun)
There comes a turning point in intense physical struggle where one abandons oneself to a profligate usage of strength and bodily resources, ignoring the cost until the struggle is over. Women find this point in childbirth; Men in Battle. Past a certain point, you lose all fear of pain or injury. Life becomes very simple at that point; you will do what you are trying to do, or die in the attempt...
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
The point is, Jenna, no one is normal or perfect like that house you see across the street. Everyone suffers from their own struggles, whether they’re big or small.
E.L. Montes (Perfectly Damaged)
I looked him in the eye, "I will always love you." Then plunged the stake into his chest. It wasn't as precise a blow as I would have liked, not with the skilled way he was dodging. I struggled to get the stake in deep enough to his heart, unsure if I could do it from this angle. Then, his struggles stopped. His eyes stared at me, stunned, and his lips parted, almost into a smile, albeit a grisly and pained one. "That's what I was supposed to say..." he gasped out.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
Over the years, I learned to smile or laugh when I was supposed to. I kept my true self hidden; I did not need to unleash my pain on the world around me. Instead, I taught myself to ignore it. I did not realize that the pain was eating away at my soul.
J.D. Stroube
Our lack of community is intensely painful. A TV talk show is not community. A couple of hours in a church pew each Sabbath is not community. A multinational corporation is neither a human nor a community, and in the sweatshops, defiled agribusiness fields, genetic mutation labs, ecological dead zones, the inhumanity is showing. Without genuine spiritual community, life becomes a struggle so lonely and grim that even Hillary Clinton has admitted "it takes a village".
David James Duncan
Love is tricky. It is never mundane or daily. You can never get used to it. You have to walk with it, then let it walk with you. You can never balk. It moves you like the tide. It takes you out to sea, then lays you on the beach again. Today's struggling pain is the foundation for a certain stride through the heavens. You can run from it but you can never say no. It includes everyone.
Amy Tan (The Hundred Secret Senses)
To be of the Earth is to know the restlessness of being a seed the darkness of being planted the struggle toward the light the pain of growth into the light the joy of bursting and bearing fruit the love of being food for someone the scattering of your seeds the decay of the seasons the mystery of death and the miracle of birth.
John Soos
He clamped a large hand down on mine as I moved to lift the diaries. I glanced up at him and he shook his head with a small smile. "It's painful to read how my stupidity hurt you at the time, but I like being inside you head. I like knowing that while I was struggling with the fact that I had fallen in love with my best friend's little sister, she loved me back more than I could ever hope to deserve.
Samantha Young (Until Fountain Bridge (On Dublin Street, #1.5))
Everything, including our pain, is His. I am thankful He will meet me in it.
Mary Beth Chapman (Choosing to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope)
Kid, when will you learn.” “You’d be amazed the things I know.” “You might be able thrash your way out of a spider-web, but thrashing in quicksand doesn’t work. The harder you fight, the more ground you lose. Struggling merely expedites your inevitable defeat.” “Never been defeated. Never will be.” “Rowena was a spider web.” He touches my cheek with the hand holding the knife. The silver glints an inch from my eye. “Do you know what I am.” “A great big pain in my ass.” “Quicksand. And you’re dancing on it.” “Dude, what’s with the knife?” “I’m not interested in ink anymore. You’re going to sign my contract in blood.” “Thought you said it was an application,” I say pissily. “It is, Dani. To a very exclusive club. What’s Mine.” “Ain’t nobody’s. “ “Sign.” “You can’t—“ “Or Jo dies. Slowly and painfully.” “Dude, why you still talking? Unchain me and give me the fecking contract already.
Karen Marie Moning (Iced (Fever, #6))
The past does not define me, it ignites me. The past is not a piece of me, it has placed me
Ricky Maye
God didn't give man wings; He gave him the brains and the spirit to give himself wings. Just as He gave us the capacity to laugh when we hurt, or to struggle on when we feel like giving up. I've come to believe that how we choose to live with pain, or injustice, or death...is the true measure of the Divine within us.
Alan Brennert
Duty bound, Aeneas, though he struggled with desire to calm and comfort her in all her pain, to speak to her and turn her mind from grief, and though he sighed his heart out, shaken still with love if her, yet took the course heaven gave him and turned back to the fleet.
Virgil (The Aeneid)
If she suddenly threw herself in a river or off a building or into traffic, there would be plenty of warning signs to point to. Did she seem depressed? She was distant. She didn’t make many friends. She was struggling in her classes. All true. But would it have mattered if she’d been someone else? If she’d been a social butterfly, they would have said she liked to drink away her pain. If she’d been a straight-A student, they would have said she’d been eaten alive by her perfectionism. There were always excuses for why girls died.
Leigh Bardugo (Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1))
We all struggle to find meaning in a sometimes painful world.
Scott Jurek (Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness)
Even when the horizon seems to be bleak and full of pain, we must learn to fight and persevere because the rewards of those tears of struggle mean that you get to live your life once more.
Mia Asher (Arsen: A Broken Love Story)
Life is hard and unfair. It is cruel and heartless, painful, trying, disappointing, unapologetic, and frequently downright awful. But that's not important. What's important is that through it all you learn how much you need your Heavenly Father and how much your friends need you.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
Solar Eclipse Each morning I wake invisible. I make a needle from a porcupine quill, sew feet to legs, lift spine onto my thighs. I put on my rib and collarbone. I pin an ear to my head, hear the waxwing's yellow cry. I open my mouth for purple berries, stick on periwinkle eyes. I almost know what it is to be seen. My throat enlarges from anger. I make a hand to hold my pain. My heart a hole the size of the sun's eclipse. I push through the dark circle's tattered edge of light. All day I struggle with one hair after another until the moon moves from the face of the sun and there is a strange light as though from a kerosene lamp in a cabin. I pun on a dress, a shawl over my shoulders. My threads knotted and scissors gleaming. Now I know I am seen. I have a shadow. I extend my arms, dance and chant in the sun's new light. I put a hat and coat on my shadow, another larger dress. I put on more shawls and blouses and underskirts until even the shadow has substance
Diane Glancy
It's faith that got me here. So it's faith that will get me through.
Jonathan Anthony Burkett (Neglected But Undefeated: The Life Of A Boy Who Never Knew A Mother's Love)
The world we live in might not be free from pain, but you have the ability to create for yourself a world free from struggle.
Sheila Applegate (Enchanted One: The Portal to Love)
We have begun a fight that it may be will take many a generation to complete...but you know that men are not put into this world to go the path of ease; they are put into this world to go the path of pain and struggle...We have given our lives to the enterprise, and that is richer and the moral is greater.
Woodrow Wilson
When somebody asks you to “check your privilege” they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing and may in fact be contributing to those struggles. It is a big ask, to check your privilege. It is hard and often painful, but it’s not nearly as painful as living with the pain caused by the unexamined privilege of others. You may right now be saying “but it’s not my privilege that is hurting someone, it’s their lack of privilege. Don’t blame me, blame the people telling them that what they have isn’t as good as what I have.” And in a way, that is true, but know this, a privilege has to come with somebody else’s disadvantage—otherwise, it’s not a privilege.
Ijeoma Oluo (So You Want to Talk About Race)
Aesthetic value emanates from the struggle between texts: in the reader, in language, in the classroom, in arguments within a society. Aesthetic value rises out of memory, and so (as Nietzsche saw) out of pain, the pain of surrendering easier pleasures in favour of much more difficult ones ... successful literary works are achieved anxieties, not releases from anxieties.
Harold Bloom (The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages)
Pain is inevitable; lives come with pain. Suffering is not inevitable. If suffering is what happens when we struggle with our experience because of our inability to accept it, then suffering is an optional extra [p. 19].
Sylvia Boorstein (It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness)
What is my life for and what am I going to do with it? I don't know and I'm afraid. I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited. Yet I am not a cretin: lame, blind and stupid. I am not a veteran, passing my legless, armless days in a wheelchair. I am not that mongoloidish old man shuffling out of the gates of the mental hospital. I have much to live for, yet unaccountably I am sick and sad. Perhaps you could trace my feeling back to my distaste at having to choose between alternatives. Perhaps that's why I want to be everyone - so no one can blame me for being I. So I won't have to take the responsibility for my own character development and philosophy. People are happy - - - if that means being content with your lot: feeling comfortable as the complacent round peg struggling in a round hole, with no awkward or painful edges - no space to wonder or question in. I am not content, because my lot is limiting, as are all others. People specialize; people become devoted to an idea; people "find themselves." But the very content that comes from finding yourself is overshadowed by the knowledge that by doing so you are admitting you are not only a grotesque, but a special kind of grotesque.
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
We are the centuries... We have your eoliths and your mesoliths and your neoliths. We have your Babylons and your Pompeiis, your Caesars and your chromium-plated (vital-ingredient impregnated) artifacts. We have your bloody hatchets and your Hiroshimas. We march in spite of Hell, we do – Atrophy, Entropy, and Proteus vulgaris, telling bawdy jokes about a farm girl name of Eve and a traveling salesman called Lucifer. We bury your dead and their reputations. We bury you. We are the centuries. Be born then, gasp wind, screech at the surgeon’s slap, seek manhood, taste a little godhood, feel pain, give birth, struggle a little while, succumb: (Dying, leave quietly by the rear exit, please.) Generation, regeneration, again, again, as in a ritual, with blood-stained vestments and nail-torn hands, children of Merlin, chasing a gleam. Children, too, of Eve, forever building Edens – and kicking them apart in berserk fury because somehow it isn’t the same. (AGH! AGH! AGH! – an idiot screams his mindless anguish amid the rubble. But quickly! let it be inundated by the choir, chanting Alleluias at ninety decibels.)
Walter M. Miller Jr. (A Canticle for Leibowitz (St. Leibowitz, #1))
Many survivors struggle to believe the abuse happened. They don’t want to believe it. It’s too painful to think about. They don’t want to accuse family members or face the terrible loss involved in realizing “a loved one” hurt them; they don’t want to rock the boat.
Laura Davis (Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Is a Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse)
Calliope grabbed the loose end of his fog-infused chains and whipped it across his face. I gasped and struggled against her, but she held on to me with inhuman strength. A bright red pattern blossomed across Henry’s cheek, and at last he shook his head and came to. He touched his face and winced, and I exhaled. He was in there after all. Instead of looking at me, however, his gaze focused on something behind me, and his jaw went slack. “Persephone?” I would have rather been sliced open by Cronus than experience the gut-wrenching pain that came with hearing her name before mine.
Aimee Carter (Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test, #2))
I darted away from Geir and jmped through the gaping hole in the wall Will's body had made. The settling dust choked me, but I made it through and ran to Will. He was struggling to his feet, leaning heavily on his sword as the point dug into the cold ground. When I reached him, I dropped my swords and wrapped my arms around his chest. "I've got you," I said, helping him lift his torso the rest of the way up. I heard a sickening snap in his chest as he groaned, and I knew something was broken. He buried his face into my shoulder and growled in pain.
Courtney Allison Moulton (Angelfire (Angelfire, #1))
A man in love is cautious with the decisions he makes, words he says and actions he takes, so he never purposefully causes her pain. He believes in her when she struggles believing in herself. He is her foundation, where she feels safe to be her true self.
Elizabeth Bourgeret
Surrender is the ultimate sign of strength and the foundation for a spiritual life. Surrendering affirms that we are no longer willing to live in pain. It expresses a deep desire to transcend our struggles and transform our negative emotions. It commands a life beyond our egos, beyond that part of ourselves that is continually reminding us that we are separate, different and alone. Surrendering allows us to return to our true nature and move effortlessly through the cosmic dance called life. It's a powerful statement that proclaims the perfect order of the universe. When you surrender your will, you are saying, "Even though things are not exactly how I'd like them to be, I will face my reality. I will look it directly in the eye and allow it to be here." Surrender and serenity are synonymous; you can't experience one without the other. So if it's serenity you're searching for, it's close by. All you have to do is resign as General Manager of the Universe. Choose to trust that there is a greater plan for you and that if you surrender, it will be unfolded in time. Surrender is a gift that you can give yourself. It's an act of faith. It's saying that even though I can't see where this river is flowing, I trust it will take me in the right direction.
Debbie Ford (Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life)
Tragedy cleans the windows of the soul by washing away the bias of our lives in the detergent of pain.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
So what is it in a human life that creates bravery, kindness, wisdom, and resilience? What if it's pain? What if it's the struggle?... The bravest people I know are those who've walked through the fire and come out on the other side. They are those who've overcome, not those who've had nothing to overcome. .. (P)eople who are hurting don't need Avoiders, Protectors, or Fixers. What we need are patient, loving witnesses. People to sit quietly and hold space for us. People to stand in helpless vigil to our pain.
Glennon Doyle Melton (Love Warrior)
Much of magic as I understand it in the Western occult tradition is the search for the Self, with a capital S. This is understood as being the Great Work, as being the gold the alchemists sought, as being the Will, the Soul, the thing we have inside us that is behind the intellect, the body, the dreams. The inner dynamo of us, if you like. Now this is the single most important thing that we can ever attain, the knowledge of our own Self. And yet there are a frightening amount of people who seem to have the urge not just to ignore the Self, but actually seem to have the urge to obliterate themselves. This is horrific, but you can almost understand the desire to simply wipe out that awareness, because it’s too much of a responsibility to actually posses such a thing as a soul, such a precious thing. What if you break it? What if you lose it? Mightn’t it be best to anesthetize it, to deaden it, to destroy it, to not have to live with the pain of struggling towards it and trying to keep it pure? I think that the way that people immerse themselves in alcohol, in drugs, in television, in any of the addictions that our culture throws up, can be seen as a deliberate attempt to destroy any connection between themselves and the responsibility of accepting and owning a higher Self and then having to maintain it.
Alan Moore
But when one does not complain, and when one wants to master oneself with a tyrant’s grip — one’s faculties rise in revolt — and one pays for outward calm with an almost unbearable inner struggle.
Charlotte Brontë
Sometimes life just hits you, right in the face. And it’s alright. Because I, for one, think it’s kinda cool to have a black eye every now and then. And I think it’s definitely okay to have scars, and it’s definitely okay to hurt, and be in pain and show it. And that’s why we have friends in this life. And it’s why we have music.
Hayley Williams
If we look for ways to get rid of necessary pain, we'll be disillusioned or misled. For people who define real change as the elimination of inevitable struggle, the final chapters will be terribly disappointing.
Larry Crabb (Inside Out: Real Change Is Possible If You're Willing to Start from The...)
If you want to have peace of soul, learn to forgive. Jesus' secret was His ability to see into people's hearts. Seeing their anguish and pain helped Him to understand their nastiness. So He could pity them rather than become angry with them. That is what we have to do: try to understand the pain in people's lives...and not take personally what they do to us.
Joseph F. Girzone (My Struggle with Faith)
But we are stronger for what's happened to us. I am stronger, even if I couldn't see it at first. We have been given the gift of understanding that we can come through struggle and pain. We have built new families in place of the ones that cast us out. We have learned that life is one journey, and the purpose is not to reach some treasure at the end of it, but to find the courage to decide which paths to take, who to travel with, and to let things fall into place as they should and will.
Alexandra Bracken (Through the Dark (The Darkest Minds, #1.5, #2.5, #3.5))
Heroes and scholars represent the opposite extremes... The scholar struggles for the benefit of all humanity, sometimes to reduce physical effort, sometimes to reduce pain, and sometimes to postpone death, or at least render it more bearable. In contrast, the patriot sacrifices a rather substantial part of humanity for the sake of his own prestige. His statue is always erected on a pedestal of ruins and corpses... In contrast, all humanity crowns a scholar, love forms the pedestal of his statues, and his triumphs defy the desecration of time and the judgment of history.
Santiago Ramón y Cajal (Advice for a Young Investigator)
My father used to say that opression isn't a finite state. It's a weight that is carried until it becomes too heavy, and then it is thrown off. Not without struggle, not without pain, but he believed the weight would always, always be fought and overcome.
Tracy Banghart (Grace and Fury (Grace and Fury, #1))
I do not think God makes bad things happen just so that people can grow spiritually. Bad parents do that, my mother said. Bad parents make things hard and painful for their children and then say it was to help them grow. Growing and living are hard enough already; children do not need things to be harder. I think this is true even for normal children. I have watched little children learning to walk; they all struggle and fall down many times. Their faces show that it is not easy. It would be stupid to tie bricks on them to make it harder. If that is true for learning to walk, then I think it is true for other growing and learning as well. God is suppose to be the good parent, the Father. So I think God would not make things harder than they are. I do not think I am autistic because God thought my parents needed a challenge or I needed a challenge. I think it is like if I were a baby and a rock fell on me and broke my leg. Whatever caused it was an accident. God did not prevent the accident, but He did not cause it, either.... I think my autism is an accident, but what I do with it is me.
Elizabeth Moon (The Speed of Dark)
No man is as wise as Mother Earth. She has witnessed every human day, every human struggle, every human pain, and every human joy. For maladies of both body and spirit, the wise ones of old pointed man to the hills. For man too is of the dust and Mother Earth stands ready to nurture and heal her children.
Anasazi Foundation (The Seven Paths: Changing One's Way of Walking in the World)
It’s okay that you have flaws. How could our lives be as clean and white as a blank sheet of paper? Life naturally takes its toll on our bodies, our minds, and our relationships. rather than choosing a life in which you do nothing for fear of making a mistake, choose a life that improves through failure and pain. And shout out loud to your struggling self, I love you so much
Haemin Sunim (Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection)
Since the dawn of existence, you mortals have feared dying, feared the unknown and the pain of it, and yet, pain is a part of life, not death. And I—I am the first moment after pain ceases,” he [Death] pronounced. “It is life that fights and struggles and rages; life, that tears at you in its last agonizing throes to hold on, even if but for one futile instant longer... Whereas I, I come softly when it is all done. Pain and death are an ordered sequence, not a parallel pair. So easy to confuse the correlations, not realizing that one does not bring the other.
Vera Nazarian (Cobweb Bride (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, #1))
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who condescended to come into this world of misery, struggle, and pain to touch men's hearts for good, to teach the way of eternal life, and to give Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. How different, how empty our lives would be without Him. How infinite is our opportunity for exaltation made possible through His redeeming love.
Gordon B. Hinckley (Stand a Little Taller)
It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, a former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there – the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie's pain-blanched face. He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein.” He said. “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!” His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side. Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I tried to smile, I struggles to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I prayed, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness. As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.
Corrie ten Boom
At the core of every addiction is an emptiness based in abject fear. The addict dreads and abhors the present moment; she bends feverishly only toward the next time, the moment when her brain, infused with her drug of choice, will briefly experience itself as liberated from the burden of the past and the fear of the future—the two elements that make the present intolerable. Many of us resemble the drug addict in our ineffectual efforts to fill in the spiritual black hole, the void at the center, where we have lost touch with our souls, our spirit—with those sources of meaning and value that are not contingent or fleeting. Our consumerist, acquisition-, action-, and image-mad culture only serves to deepen the hole, leaving us emptier than before. The constant, intrusive, and meaningless mind-whirl that characterizes the way so many of us experience our silent moments is, itself, a form of addiction—and it serves the same purpose. “One of the main tasks of the mind is to fight or remove the emotional pain, which is one of the reasons for its incessant activity, but all it can ever achieve is to cover it up temporarily. In fact, the harder the mind struggles to get rid of the pain, the greater the pain.”14 So writes Eckhart Tolle. Even our 24/7 self-exposure to noise, e-mails, cell phones, TV, Internet chats, media outlets, music downloads, videogames, and nonstop internal and external chatter cannot succeed in drowning out the fearful voices within.
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
I'm fine," Nick snarled, and shut his eyes. "Mae, he is not fine!" Jamie almost yelled, and Mae scrambled to her feet. "Oh God," she said. "Alan's down. Alan's down.--I can't see him. I think he could be--" "What?" Nick rasped. Mae looked down and saw Nick struggle up on one knee. He glared up at her and then got painfully to his feet, a knife in either hand. There was blood running down his arm, his shoulder was a mess, and his mouth was set in a grim, determined line. "Where's Alan?" "Oh, Alan's fine," Mae said, nodding to where Alan was throwing himself at the magicians again. Sin was beside him now, and the rest of the Goblin Market was behind her. "I was lying so you'd get up. Sorry about that." Nick laughed, spun, and stabbed something. "Don't be sorry. I've just decided that lying's kind of sexy.
Sarah Rees Brennan (The Demon's Covenant)
Loss of someone we love cannot be adequately expressed with words. Grappling with loss, struggling with disconnection and despair, fills us with a sense of anguish and actual pain. Indeed, the parts of our brain that process physical pain overlap with the neural centers that record social ruptures and rejection. Loss rips us apart.
Daniel J. Siegel (Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation)
I learned that I was never alone, that there was Someone always very close by and, indeed, within me, giving me strength in times of weakness and desolation, light in times of darkness, joy in times of great sorrow and pain, and the will to struggle on when continuing seemed futile.
Joseph F. Girzone (My Struggle with Faith)
Pain is good. Heartache is good. These things will provide you with knowledge that will help you grow and deal with future struggles. To waste a painful moment and let emption overwhelm you so much that you gain absolutely no insight is to get hurt inefficiently.
Lilly Singh (How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life)
We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent. I desperately wanted mercy for Jimmy Dill and would have done anything to create justice for him, but I couldn’t pretend that his struggle was disconnected from my own. The ways in which I have been hurt—and have hurt others—are different from the ways Jimmy Dill suffered and caused suffering. But our shared brokenness connected us. Paul Farmer, the renowned physician who has spent his life trying to cure the world’s sickest and poorest people, once quoted me something that the writer Thomas Merton said: We are bodies of broken bones. I guess I’d always known but never fully considered that being broken is what makes us human. We all have our reasons. Sometimes we’re fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we’re shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion. We have a choice. We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing our broken natures and the compassion that remains our best hope for healing. Or we can deny our brokenness, forswear compassion, and, as a result, deny our own humanity. I thought of the guards strapping Jimmy Dill to the gurney that very hour. I thought of the people who would cheer his death and see it as some kind of victory. I realized they were broken people, too, even if they would never admit it. So many of us have become afraid and angry. We’ve become so fearful and vengeful that we’ve thrown away children, discarded the disabled, and sanctioned the imprisonment of the sick and the weak—not because they are a threat to public safety or beyond rehabilitation but because we think it makes us seem tough, less broken. I thought of the victims of violent crime and the survivors of murdered loved ones, and how we’ve pressured them to recycle their pain and anguish and give it back to the offenders we prosecute. I thought of the many ways we’ve legalized vengeful and cruel punishments, how we’ve allowed our victimization to justify the victimization of others. We’ve submitted to the harsh instinct to crush those among us whose brokenness is most visible. But simply punishing the broken—walking away from them or hiding them from sight—only ensures that they remain broken and we do, too. There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)
[Hitler] has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security, and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flag and loyalty-parades ... Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet
George Orwell
In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned. It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could feel gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot–I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation.” Mr. Darcy, who was leaning against the mantelpiece with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words with no less resentment than surprise. His complexion became pale with anger, and the disturbance of his mind was visible in every feature. He was struggling for the appearance of composure, and would not open his lips till he believed himself to have attained it. The pause was to Elizabeth’s feelings dreadful. At length, with a voice of forced calmness, he said: And this is all the reply which I am to have the honour of expecting! I might, perhaps, wish to be informed why, with so little endeavour at civility, I am thus rejected. But it is of small importance.” I might as well inquire,” replied she, “why with so evident a desire of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character? Was not this some excuse for incivility, if I was uncivil?
Jane Austen
We often move away from pain, which is helpful only before being hurt. Once in pain, it seems the only way out is through. Like someone falling off a boat, struggling to stay above the water only makes things worse. We must accept we are there and settle enough so we can be carried by the deep. The willingness to do this is the genesis of faith, the giving over to currents larger than us. Even fallen leaves float in lakes, demonstrating how surrender can hold us up.
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have)
Purple is such a twisted, complex color - it conveys the passion of red, the sadness of blue, the depravity of black. Purple is neither happy nor sad. It is pain and despair but longing, too - fiery desire, beaten and bruised but struggling onward, determined to overcome, to move forward rather than retreat.
James Patterson (Invisible (Invisible, #1))
In fact, the harder the mind struggles to get rid of the pain, the greater the pain. The mind can never find the solution, nor can it afford to allow you to find the solution, because it is itself an intrinsic part of the “problem.” Imagine a chief of police trying to find an arsonist when the arsonist is the chief of police. You will not be free of that pain until you cease to derive your sense of self from identification with the mind, which is to say from ego. The mind is then toppled from its place
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
Find people who can handle your darkest truths, who don’t change the subject when you share your pain, or try to make you feel bad for feeling bad. Find people who understand we all struggle, some of us more than others, and that there’s no weakness in admitting it. Find people who want to be real, however that looks and feels, and who want you to be real, too. Find people who get that life is hard, and who get that life is also beautiful, and who aren’t afraid to honor both of those realities. Find people who help you feel more at home in your heart, mind and body, and who take joy in your joy. Find people who love you, for real, and who accept you, for real. Just as you are. They’re out there, these people. Your tribe is waiting for you. Don’t stop searching until you find them.
Scott Stabile
People will react to you as a result of their own mindset, rather than as a reflection of your worth. Most people use others as mirrors for their own darkness. If you have been hurt by such people, perhaps you can use these experiences to become a different kind of person—one who reflects the light within others instead of using them as mirrors. Maybe your experiences of pain can lead you to being a great leader, someone who lights up the world. Your most painful struggle is ripe with opportunity.
Vironika Tugaleva
Teachers dread nothing so much as unusual characteristics in precocious boys during the initial stages of their adolescence. A certain streak of genius makes an ominous impression on them, for there exists a deep gulf between genius and the teaching profession. Anyone with a touch of genius seems to his teachers a freak from the very first. As far as teachers are concerned, they define young geniuses as those who are bad, disrespectful, smoke at fourteen, fall in love at fifteen, can be found at sixteen hanging out in bars, read forbidden books, write scandalous essays, occasionally stare down a teacher in class, are marked in the attendance book as rebels, and are budding candidates for room-arrest. A schoolmaster will prefer to have a couple of dumbheads in his class than a single genius, and if you regard it objectively, he is of course right. His task is not to produce extravagant intellects but good Latinists, arithmeticians and sober decent folk. The question of who suffers more acutely at the other's hands - the teacher at the boy's, or vice versa - who is more of a tyrant, more of a tormentor, and who profanes parts of the other's soul, student or teacher, is something you cannot examine without remembering your own youth in anger and shame. yet that's not what concerns us here. We have the consolation that among true geniuses the wounds almost always heal. As their personalities develop, they create their art in spite of school. Once dead, and enveloped by the comfortable nimbus of remoteness, they are paraded by the schoolmasters before other generations of students as showpieces and noble examples. Thus the struggle between rule and spirit repeats itself year after year from school to school. The authorities go to infinite pains to nip the few profound or more valuable intellects in the bud. And time and again the ones who are detested by their teachers are frequently punished, the runaways and those expelled, are the ones who afterwards add to society's treasure. But some - and who knows how many? - waste away quiet obstinacy and finally go under.
Hermann Hesse (Beneath the Wheel)
I believe in the pursuit of happiness. Not its attainment, nor its final definition, but its pursuit. I believe in the journey, not the arrival; in conversation, not monologues; in multiple questions rather than any single answer. I believe in the struggle to remake ourselves and challenge each other in the spirit of eternal forgiveness, in the awareness that none of us knows for sure what happiness truly is, but each of us knows the imperative to keep searching. I believe in the possibility of surprising joy, of serenity through pain, of homecoming through exile.
Andrew Sullivan
I looked him in the eye."I will always love you." Then I plunged the stake into his chest. It wasn't as precise a blow as I would have liked, not with the skilled way he was dodging. I struggled to get the stake in deep enough to his heart, unsure if I could do it from this angle. Then, his struggles stopped. His eyes stared at me, stunned, and his lips parted, almost into a smile,albeit a grisly and pained one. "That's what I was supposed to say..."he gasped out. Those were his last words. His failed attempt to dodge the stake had made him lose his balance on the edge. The stake's magic made the rest easy, stunning him and his reflexes. Dimitri fell.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
Do you know that feeling? When everything you do seems like a struggle. Where you dont wanna leave the house because you know everyone is judging you. Where you cant even ask for directions in fear that they critise you. Where everyone always seems to be picking out your flaws. That feeling where you feel so damn sick for no reason. Do you know that feeling where you look in the mirror and completly hate what you see. When you grab handfuls and handfuls of fat and just want to cut it all off. That feeling when you see other beautiful girls and just wish you looked like them. When you compare yourself to everyone you meet. When you realise why no one ever showed intrest in you. That feeling where you become so self conscious you dont even turn up at school. That feeling when you feel so disappointed in who you are and everything you have become. That feeling when every bite makes you wanna be sick. When hunger is more satifying that food. The feeling of failure when you eat a meal. Do you know that feeling when you cant run as far as your class. Fear knowing that everyone thinks of you as the"Unfit FAT BITCH" That feeling when you just wanna let it all out but you dont wanna look weak. The fear you have in class when you dont understand something but your too afraid to ask for help. The feeling of being to ashamed to stand up for yourself. Do you know the feeling when your deepest fear becomes a reality. Fear that you will NEVER be good enough. When you feel as if you deserve all the pain you give yourself. When you finally understand why everyone hates you. FINALLY realising the harsh truth. Understanding that every cut, every burn, every bruise you have even given yourself, you deserved. In fact you deserved worse. That feeling when you believe you deserve constant and brutal pain. Do you know what it feels like to just want to give up. When you just want all the pain to end but you want it to continue? Or am i just insane
Anonymous.
As an undergraduate student in psychology, I was taught that multiple personalities were a very rare and bizarre disorder. That is all that I was taught on ... It soon became apparent that what I had been taught was simply not true. Not only was I meeting people with multiplicity; these individuals entering my life were normal human beings with much to offer. They were simply people who had endured more than their share of pain in this life and were struggling to make sense of it.
Deborah Bray Haddock (The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook)
Life is a balance. We tend to forget that as we go blithely from day to day. We eat and drink and sleep and assume that we will always rise up the next day, that meals and rest will always replenish us. Injuries we expect to heal, and pain to lessen as times goes by. Even when we are faced with wounds that heal more slowly, with pain that lessens by day only to return in full force at nightfall, even when sleep does not leave us rested, we still expect that somehow tomorrow all will come back into balance and that we will go on. At some point, the exquisite balance has tipped, and despite all our flailing efforts, we begin the slow fall from the body that maintains itself to the body that struggles, nails clawing, to cling to what it used to be.
Robin Hobb (Fool's Errand (Tawny Man, #1))
In the time you will live, there will be heroes around. Simple men, honest men who work two jobs, go to school, raise a family, and serve our God. An older couple who have the courage to seek out the truth while enduring the scorn and ridicule of their children and friends. A young man, a special spirit, who will take on a body that is deformed- and yet you will never see hime unhappy or without a smile on his face. A young mother who will care for a daughter while she suffers a painful death, and yet never doubt or loose faith that her Father loves them both. In your worl famous people will be hard to find. But you will be surrounded by heroes, you will meet them everyday. They will be the simple people who struggle but never give up, those who strive to be happy despite the cares of the physical world, those who dream of the day when they will find the truth, those who search for understanding as to why they were born, why there is pain, or what it all means, and yet continure to endure, knowing in their soul, somewhere deep inside, that there has to be an answer. These are the heroes that our Father needs down on earth. And you will be a hero. We already know that.
Chris Stewart
I kiss her every way I can possibly kiss her, because I plan on loving her every way I can possibly love her. Every single time we refused to cave in to our feelings in the past makes this kiss completely worth the sacrifices. This kiss is worth all the tears, all the heartache, all the pain, all the struggles, all the waiting. She’s worth it all. She’s worth more.
Colleen Hoover (Maybe Someday (Maybe, #1))
My wings," the faerie whispered. "You'll get them back." The Faerie struggled to open his eyes. "You swear?" "Yes," I breathed. The faerie managed a slight smile and closed his eyes again. My mouth trembled. I wished for something else to say, something more to offer him than my empty promises. The first false vow I'd ever sworn. But Tamlin began speaking, and I glanced up to see him take the faerie's other hand. "Cauldron save you," he said, reciting the words of a prayer that was probably older than the moral realm. "Mother hold you. Pass through the gates, and smell that immortal land of milk and honey. Fear no evil. Feel no pain." Tamlin's voice wavered, but he finished. "Go, and enter eternity.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
When I heard the apartment door open everything felt lethargic, like we were moving underwater, struggling slowly against the weight. The sitting room door opened and Braden walked in, his face so pale and eyes so glazed, that I knew before I even looked at tear-streaked Ellie. I knew what fear felt like when it was pulsing from a person, I knew how grief could thicken the air, how it could slam into your chest and cause pain through your whole body. Your eyes, your head, your arms, your legs, even your gums.
Samantha Young (On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1))
Relief is a great feeling. It’s the emotional and physical reward we receive from our bodies upon alleviation of pain, pressure and struggle. A time to bask in the lack of the negative. And yet, think about it—relief is really the status quo, a negation of the suffering, a nothing in itself. It is the way things were before the pressure and struggle began. So, is it a step back? A regression? Or is it an opportunity to regroup, start over, and move in a different direction? Use your moment of relief well.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
The horror of profound depression, and the hopelessness that usually accompanies it, are hard to imagine for those who have not experienced them. Because the despair is private, it is resistant to clear and compelling description. Novelist William Styron, however, in recounting his struggle with suicidal depression, captures vividly the heavy, inescapable pain that can lead to suicide: What I had begun to discover is that, mysteriously and in ways that are totally remote from normal experience, the gray drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the quality of physical pain. But it is not an immediately identifiable pain, like that of a broken limb. It may be more accurate to say that despair, owing to some evil trick played upon the sick brain by the inhabiting psyche, comes to resemble the diabolical discomfort of being imprisoned in a fiercely overheated room. And because no breeze stirs this cauldron, because there is no escape from this smothering confinement, it is entirely natural that the victim begins to think ceaselessly of oblivion. (105)
Kay Redfield Jamison (Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide)
Many individuals are so constituted that their only thought is to obtain pleasure and shun responsibility. They would like, butterfly-like, to wing forever in a summer garden, flitting from flower to flower, and sipping honey for their sole delight. They have no feeling that any result which might flow from their action should concern them. They have no conception of the necessity of a well-organized society wherein all shall accept a certain quota of responsibility and all realize a reasonable amount of happiness. They think only of themselves because they have not yet been taught to think of society. For them pain and necessity are the great taskmasters. Laws are but the fences which circumscribe the sphere of their operations. When, after error, pain falls as a lash, they do not comprehend that their suffering is due to misbehavior. Many such an individual is so lashed by necessity and law that he falls fainting to the ground, dies hungry in the gutter or rotting in the jail and it never once flashes across his mind that he has been lashed only in so far as he has persisted in attempting to trespass the boundaries which necessity sets. A prisoner of fate, held enchained for his own delight, he does not know that the walls are tall, that the sentinels of life are forever pacing, musket in hand. He cannot perceive that all joy is within and not without. He must be for scaling the bounds of society, for overpowering the sentinel. When we hear the cries of the individual strung up by the thumbs, when we hear the ominous shot which marks the end of another victim who has thought to break loose, we may be sure that in another instance life has been misunderstood--we may be sure that society has been struggled against until death alone would stop the individual from contention and evil.
Theodore Dreiser (Sister Carrie)
We couldn't bear to be apart. So if Kizuki had lived, I'm sure we would have been together, loving each other, and gradually growing unhappy." Unhappy? Why's that?" With her fingers, Naoko combed her hair back several times. She had taken her barrette off, which made the hair fall over her face when she dropped her head forward. Because we would have had to pay the world back what we owed it," she said, raising her eyes to mine. "The pain of growing up. We didn't pay when we should have, so now the bills are due. Which is why Kizuki did what he did, and why I'm here. We were like kids who grew up naked on a desert island. If we got hungry, we'd just pick a banana; if we got lonely, we'd go to sleep in each other's arms. But that kind of thing doesn't last forever. We grew up fast and had to enter society. Which is why you were so important to us. You were the link connecting us with the outside world. We were struggling through you to fit in with the outside world as best we could. In the end, it didn't work, of course." I nodded. I wouldn't want you to think that we were using you, though. Kizuki really loved you. It just so happened that our connection with you was our first connection with anyone else. And it still is. Kizuki may be dead, but you are still my only link with the outside world. And just as Kizuki loved you, I love you. We never meant to hurt you, but we probably did; we probably ended up making a deep wound in your heart. It never occurred to us that anything like that might happen.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
It is always now. This might sound trite, but it is the truth. It’s not quite true as a matter of neurology, because our minds are built upon layers of inputs whose timing we know must be different. But it is true as a matter of conscious experience. The reality of your life is always now. And to realize this, we will see, is liberating. In fact, I think there is nothing more important to understand if you want to be happy in this world. But we spend most of our lives forgetting this truth—overlooking it, fleeing it, repudiating it. And the horror is that we succeed. We manage to avoid being happy while struggling to become happy, fulfilling one desire after the next, banishing our fears, grasping at pleasure, recoiling from pain—and thinking, interminably, about how best to keep the whole works up and running.
Sam Harris
What first truly stirred my soul was not fear or pain, nor was it pleasure or games; it was the yearning for freedom. I had to gain freedom - but from what, from whom? Little by little, in the course of time, I mounted freedom's rough unaccommodating ascent. To gain freedom first of all from the Turk, that was the initial step; after that, later, this new struggle began: to gain freedom from the inner Turk - from ignorance, malice and envy, from fear and laziness, from dazzling false ideas; and finally from idols, all of them, even the most revered and beloved.
Nikos Kazantzakis (Report to Greco)
AN INVITATION I don’t want to hear what you believe I’m not at all interested in your certainty I couldn’t care less about your unexcelled perfection Share with me your doubts Open up your tender heart Let me in to your struggles I’ll meet you in that place Where your spiritual conclusions Are starting to crack open That’s where the creativity lies That’s where the newness shines That’s where we can truly meet: Beyond the image Your imperfections Are so perfect In this light I don’t want you to be perfect I want you to be real
Jeff Foster (Falling in Love with Where You Are: A Year of Prose and Poetry on Radically Opening Up to the Pain and Joy of Life)
Most people living in rich, stable developed countries have no idea how Denmark itself got to be Denmark—something that is true for many Danes as well. The struggle to create modern political institutions was so long and so painful that people living in industrialized countries now suffer from a historical amnesia regarding how their societies came to that point in the first place.
Francis Fukuyama (The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution)
She struggled with her sadness, but tried to conceal it, to divide it into smaller and smaller parts and scatter these in places she thought no one would find them. But often I did - with time I learned where to look - and tried to fit them together. It pained me that she felt she couldn't come to me with it, but I knew it would hurt her more to know that I'd uncovered what she hadn't intended for me to find. In some fundamental way I think she objected to being known. Or resented it even as she longed for it. It offended her sense of freedom. But it isn't possible to simply look upon a person one loves in tranquility, content to regard her in bafflement.
Nicole Krauss (Great House)
I have always been interested in this man. My father had a set of Tom Paine's books on the shelf at home. I must have opened the covers about the time I was 13. And I can still remember the flash of enlightenment which shone from his pages. It was a revelation, indeed, to encounter his views on political and religious matters, so different from the views of many people around us. Of course I did not understand him very well, but his sincerity and ardor made an impression upon me that nothing has ever served to lessen. I have heard it said that Paine borrowed from Montesquieu and Rousseau. Maybe he had read them both and learned something from each. I do not know. But I doubt that Paine ever borrowed a line from any man... Many a person who could not comprehend Rousseau, and would be puzzled by Montesquieu, could understand Paine as an open book. He wrote with a clarity, a sharpness of outline and exactness of speech that even a schoolboy should be able to grasp. There is nothing false, little that is subtle, and an impressive lack of the negative in Paine. He literally cried to his reader for a comprehending hour, and then filled that hour with such sagacious reasoning as we find surpassed nowhere else in American letters - seldom in any school of writing. Paine would have been the last to look upon himself as a man of letters. Liberty was the dear companion of his heart; truth in all things his object. ...we, perhaps, remember him best for his declaration: 'The world is my country; to do good my religion.' Again we see the spontaneous genius at work in 'The Rights of Man', and that genius busy at his favorite task - liberty. Written hurriedly and in the heat of controversy, 'The Rights of Man' yet compares favorably with classical models, and in some places rises to vaulting heights. Its appearance outmatched events attending Burke's effort in his 'Reflections'. Instantly the English public caught hold of this new contribution. It was more than a defense of liberty; it was a world declaration of what Paine had declared before in the Colonies. His reasoning was so cogent, his command of the subject so broad, that his legion of enemies found it hard to answer him. 'Tom Paine is quite right,' said Pitt, the Prime Minister, 'but if I were to encourage his views we should have a bloody revolution.' Here we see the progressive quality of Paine's genius at its best. 'The Rights of Man' amplified and reasserted what already had been said in 'Common Sense', with now a greater force and the power of a maturing mind. Just when Paine was at the height of his renown, an indictment for treason confronted him. About the same time he was elected a member of the Revolutionary Assembly and escaped to France. So little did he know of the French tongue that addresses to his constituents had to be translated by an interpreter. But he sat in the assembly. Shrinking from the guillotine, he encountered Robespierre's enmity, and presently found himself in prison, facing that dread instrument. But his imprisonment was fertile. Already he had written the first part of 'The Age of Reason' and now turned his time to the latter part. Presently his second escape cheated Robespierre of vengeance, and in the course of events 'The Age of Reason' appeared. Instantly it became a source of contention which still endures. Paine returned to the United States a little broken, and went to live at his home in New Rochelle - a public gift. Many of his old companions in the struggle for liberty avoided him, and he was publicly condemned by the unthinking. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
The problem is, it's just not enough to live according to the rules. Sure, you manage to live according to the rules. Sometimes it's tight, extremely tight, but on the whole you manage it. Your tax papers are up to date. Your bills paid on time. You never go out without your identity card (and the special little wallet for your Visa!). Yet you haven’t any friends. The rules are complex, multiform. There’s the shopping that needs doing out of working hours, the automatic dispensers where money has to be got (and where you so often have to wait). Above all there are the different payments you must make to the organizations that run different aspects of your life. You can fall ill into the bargain, which involves costs, and more formalities. Nevertheless, some free time remains. What’s to be done? How do you use your time? In dedicating yourself to helping people? But basically other people don’t interest you. Listening to records? That used to be a solution, but as the years go by you have to say that music moves you less and less. Taken in its widest sense, a spot of do-it-yourself can be a way out. But the fact is that nothing can halt the ever-increasing recurrence of those moments when your total isolation, the sensation of an all-consuming emptiness, the foreboding that your existence is nearing a painful and definitive end all combine to plunge you into a state of real suffering. And yet you haven’t always wanted to die. You have had a life. There have been moments when you were having a life. Of course you don't remember too much about it; but there are photographs to prove it. This was probably happening round about the time of your adolescence, or just after. How great your appetite for life was, then! Existence seemed so rich in new possibilities. You might become a pop singer, go off to Venezuela. More surprising still, you have had a childhood. Observe, now, a child of seven, playing with his little soldiers on the living room carpet. I want you to observe him closely. Since the divorce he no longer has a father. Only rarely does he see his mother, who occupies an important post in a cosmetics firm. And yet he plays with his little soldiers and the interest he takes in these representations of the world and of war seems very keen. He already lacks a bit of affection, that's for sure, but what an air he has of being interested in the world! You too, you took an interest in the world. That was long ago. I want you to cast your mind back to then. The domain of the rules was no longer enough for you; you were unable to live any longer in the domain of the rules; so you had to enter into the domain of the struggle. I ask you to go back to that precise moment. It was long ago, no? Cast your mind back: the water was cold.
Michel Houellebecq (Whatever)
It will always be difficult for an old soul to satisfy the expectations of the new culture; because as an old soul you will always prefer to fall in love with everything that has a soul too, you will understand and feel the pain of others, you will be generous, giving nonstop no matter what, you won’t ever follow the crowd but you’ll choose to follow your own path instead, you will value a deep conversation and a loving halo, you always be thankful for the simplest pleasures in life. And I am a vintage soul my love; that’s trapped in a young body. An old soul that struggles to fit in this plastic world …
Samiha Totanji
In the long run, completing a marathon makes us happier than eating a chocolate cake. Raising a child makes us happier than beating a video game. Starting a small business with friends while struggling to make ends meet makes us happier than buying a new computer. These activities are stressful, arduous, and often unpleasant. They also require withstanding problem after problem. Yet they are some of the most meaningful moments and joyous things we’ll ever do. They involve pain, struggle, even anger and despair—yet once they’re accomplished, we look back and get all misty-eyed telling our grandkids about them.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
From their midst a broad-shouldered man stepped forth, past Longwick, who tried vainly to motion him back. He ran three strides toward me, and I took a deep, unbelieving breath of his scent just before he enfolded me in a bear hug. Despite the pain to my shoulder, I didn't struggle. I dropped my head on his shoulder, and let him support me, feeling safer than I had in years. Suddenly, it seemed as if everything would be all right, as if everything could be mended. Heart of the Pack was here and he never let us come to harm.
Robin Hobb (Fool's Fate (Tawny Man, #3))
No. Grief and anger doesn’t shock me.” Catherine paused. “Rachel, do you remember that day at the convent when we saw the old biplane? Remember what I said?” Rachel laughed without amusement. “I don’t even remember what I said.” “’Who can doubt the presence of God in the sight of men whom He has given wings.’ I recall that so precisely because I’ve had time to consider my error.” She smiled. “God didn’t give man wings; He gave him the brain and the spirit to give himself wings. Just as He gave us the capacity to laugh when we hurt, or to struggle on when we feel like giving up. I’ve come to believe that how we choose to live with pain, or injustice, or death…is the true measure of the Divine within us. Some, like Crossen, choose to do harm to themselves and others. Others, like Kenji, bear up under their pain and help others to bear it. I used to wonder, why did God give children leprosy? Now I believe: God doesn’t give anyone leprosy. He gives us, if we choose to use it, the spirit to live with leprosy, and with the imminence of death. Because it is in our own mortality that we are most Divine.
Alan Brennert (Moloka'i (Moloka'i, #1))
We all take such pains to over-educate ourselves. In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place. The thoroughly well-informed man - that is the modern ideal. And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
There are two things that may happen to a person: the first is that you become so soft that no one and nothing can break you, and the second is that you become so hard that nothing and no one can break you. Either way you go, the path will be very painful. But herein is the great sadness of it all: that anyone must try to become something that cannot be broken (whether the soft or the hard). Why must we be born into a world where we must spend our lives struggling to become unbreakable?
C. JoyBell C.
So often, we're told that women's stories are unimportant. After all, what does it matter what happens in the main room, in the kitchen, or in the bedroom? Who cares about the relationships between mother, daughter, and sister? A baby's illness, the sorrows and pains of childbirth, keeping the family together during war, poverty, or even in the best of days are considered small and insignificant compared with the stories of men, who fight against nature to grow their crops, who wage battles to secure their homelands, who struggle to look inward in search of the perfect man. We're told that men are strong and brave, but I think women know how to endure, accept defeat, and bear physical and mental agony much better than men. The men in my life—my father, Z.G., my husband, my father-in-law, my brother-in-law, and my son—faced, to one degree or another, those great male battles, but their hearts—so fragile—wilted, buckled, crippled, corrupted, broke, or shattered when confronted with the losses women face every day...Our men try to act strong, but it is May, Yen-yen, Joy, and I who must steady them and help them bear their pain, anguish, and shame.
Lisa See (Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls, #1))
People who enjoy the struggles of a gym are the ones who run triathlons and have chiseled abs and can bench-press a small house. People who enjoy long workweeks and the politics of the corporate ladder are the ones who fly to the top of it. People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainties of the starving artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it. This is not about willpower or grit. This is not another admonishment of “no pain, no gain.” This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
Silence Never Silence never healed the lonely. Silence never comforted the broken hearted. Silence never saved a life. Silence never won an argument with kindness. Silence never healed the poor. Silence never learned compassion. Silence never saw the pain in another. Silence never asked for forgiveness. Silence never felt remorse. Silence never felt empathy. Silence never grew up. Silence never listened to promptings. Silence never resolved a problem. Silence never had closure. Silence never had a conscience. Silence never developed integrity. Silence never knew manners. Silence never learned respect. Silence never matured. Silence never understood that the bible and its stories was God’s way of saying, “Stop being silent and start healing one another.” Silence never realized that Christ was an activist for communication.
Shannon L. Alder
It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope and pride. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
Patrick Henry
What we encounter in works of art and philosophy are objective versions of our own pains and struggles, evoked and defined in sound, language or image. Artists and philosophers not only show us what we have felt, they present our experiences more poignantly and intelligently than we have been able; they give shape to aspects of our lives that we recognise as our own, yet could never have understood so clearly on our own. They explain our condition to us, and thereby help us to be less lonely with, and confused by it.
Alain de Botton (The Consolations of Philosophy)
Who can doubt the presence of God in the sight of men whom He has given wings? I recall that so precisely because I've had time to consider my error. God didn't give man wings; He gave him the brain and the spirit to give himself wings. Just as He gave us the capacity to laugh when we hurt, or to struggle on when we feel like giving up. I've come to believe that how we choose to live with pain, or injustice, or death...is the true measure of the Divine within us. Some choose to do harm to others. Others bear up under their pain and help others to bear it.
Alan Brennert (Moloka'i (Moloka'i, #1))
It was not the sorrowful, lovely piece she had once played for Dorian, and it was not the light, dancing melodies she'd played for sport; it was not the complex and clever pieces she had played for Nehemia and Chaol. This piece was a celebration—a reaffirmation of life, of glory, of the pain and beauty in breathing. Perhaps that was why she'd gone to hear it performed every year, after so much killing and torture and punishment: as a reminder of that she was, of what she struggled to keep. Up and up it built, the sound breaking from the pianoforte like the heart-song of a god, until Rowan drifted over to stand beside the instrument, until she whispered to him, “Now,” and the crescendo shattered into the world, note after note after note. The music crashed around them, roaring through the emptiness of the theater. The hollow silence that had been inside her for so many months now overflowed with sound. She brought the piece home to its final explosive, triumphant chord. When she looked up, panting slightly, Rowan's eyes were lined with silver, his throat bobbing. Somehow, after all this time, her warrior-prince still managed to surprise her. He seemed to struggle for words, but he finally breathed, “Show me—show me how you did that.” So she obliged him.
Sarah J. Maas (Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4))
Pain is part of life. That much I knew. If I could just teach her how to be resilient, how to love big, how to fear less. How to weather hurt, either at the hands of others or even the hurts she might unknowingly inflict on herself. I wanted her to know that love can come in many forms. That sometimes it can look like letting go, but it can also look like never letting go. That one day she might have to love someone in ways the world wasn’t ready for. That reaching for that kind of love would bring with it struggle, but in the end, it could be grander than her wildest imaginings.
Tembi Locke (From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home)
A Rock, A River, A Tree Hosts to species long since departed, Mark the mastodon. The dinosaur, who left dry tokens Of their sojourn here On our planet floor, Any broad alarm of their of their hastening doom Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages. But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully, Come, you may stand upon my Back and face your distant destiny, But seek no haven in my shadow. I will give you no hiding place down here. You, created only a little lower than The angels, have crouched too long in The bruising darkness, Have lain too long Face down in ignorance. Your mouths spelling words Armed for slaughter. The rock cries out today, you may stand on me, But do not hide your face. Across the wall of the world, A river sings a beautiful song, Come rest here by my side. Each of you a bordered country, Delicate and strangely made proud, Yet thrusting perpetually under siege. Your armed struggles for profit Have left collars of waste upon My shore, currents of debris upon my breast. Yet, today I call you to my riverside, If you will study war no more. Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs The Creator gave to me when I And the tree and stone were one. Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow And when you yet knew you still knew nothing. The river sings and sings on. There is a true yearning to respond to The singing river and the wise rock. So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew, The African and Native American, the Sioux, The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek, The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh, The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher, The privileged, the homeless, the teacher. They hear. They all hear The speaking of the tree. Today, the first and last of every tree Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the river. Plant yourself beside me, here beside the river. Each of you, descendant of some passed on Traveller, has been paid for. You, who gave me my first name, You Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, You Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, Then forced on bloody feet, Left me to the employment of other seekers-- Desperate for gain, starving for gold. You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot... You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, Bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare Praying for a dream. Here, root yourselves beside me. I am the tree planted by the river, Which will not be moved. I, the rock, I the river, I the tree I am yours--your passages have been paid. Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need For this bright morning dawning for you. History, despite its wrenching pain, Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage, Need not be lived again. Lift up your eyes upon The day breaking for you. Give birth again To the dream. Women, children, men, Take it into the palms of your hands. Mold it into the shape of your most Private need. Sculpt it into The image of your most public self. Lift up your hearts. Each new hour holds new chances For new beginnings. Do not be wedded forever To fear, yoked eternally To brutishness. The horizon leans forward, Offering you space to place new steps of change. Here, on the pulse of this fine day You may have the courage To look up and out upon me, The rock, the river, the tree, your country. No less to Midas than the mendicant. No less to you now than the mastodon then. Here on the pulse of this new day You may have the grace to look up and out And into your sister's eyes, Into your brother's face, your country And say simply Very simply With hope Good morning.
Maya Angelou
Healing was a terrifying and painful experience and my life was as full of struggle and heartache as it had always been. Several years after I started therapy, I began to feel happy. I was stunned. I hadn't realized that the point of all this work on myself was to feel good. I thought it was just one more struggle in a long line of struggles. It took a while before I got used to the idea that my life had changed, that I felt happy, that I was actually content. Learning to tolerate feeling good is one of the nicest parts of healing.
Ellen Bass (The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse)
There were nights when I left the sessions physically and emotionally drained after hearing the anguish pour out like blood from a gaping wound. Don’t let anyone ever tell you different – psychotherapy is one of the most taxing endeavors known to mankind; I’ve done all sorts of work, from picking carrots in the scorching sun to sitting on national committees in paneled board rooms, and there’s nothing that compares to confronting human misery hour after hour and bearing the responsibility for easing that misery using only one’s mind and mouth. At its best it’s tremendously uplifting as you watch the patient open up, breathe, let go of the pain. At its worst is like surfing in a cesspool struggling for balance while being slapped with wave after putrid wave.
Jonathan Kellerman (When the Bough Breaks (Alex Delaware, #1))
I love you, your courage and your stubbornness and your fire and your utter ruthlessness. How much do I love you? So much that a moment ago I would have outraged the hospitality of the house which has sheltered me and my family, forgotten the best wife any man ever had — enough to take you here in the mud like a —” She struggled with a chaos of thoughts and there was a cold pain in her heart as if an icicle had pierced it. She said haltingly: “If you felt like that — and didn't take me — then you don’t love me.” “I can never make you understand.
Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind)
Instead of thinking gigantic thoughts, I tried to focus on something small, the smallest thing I could think of. Someone once made this pew I’m sitting on, I thought. Someone sanded the wood and varnished it. Someone carried it into the church. Someone laid the tiles on the floor, someone fitted the windows. Each brick was placed by human hands, each hinge fitted on each door, every road surface outside, every bulb in every streetlight. And even things built by machines were really built by human beings, who built the machines initially. And human beings themselves, made by other humans, struggling to create happy children and families. Me, all the clothing I wear, all the language I know. Who put me here in this church, thinking these thoughts? Other people, some I know very well and others I have never met. Am I myself, or am I them? Is this me, Frances? No, it is not me. It is the others. Do I sometimes hurt and harm myself, do I abuse the unearned cultural privilege of whiteness, do I take the labor of others for granted, have I sometimes exploited a reductive iteration of gender theory to avoid serious moral engagement, do I have a troubled relationship with my body, yes. Do I want to be free of pain and therefore demand that others also live free of pain, the pain that is mine and therefore also theirs, yes, yes.
Sally Rooney (Conversations with Friends)
When I met Wittgenstein, I saw that Schlick's warnings were fully justified. But his behavior was not caused by any arrogance. In general, he was of a sympathetic temperament and very kind; but he was hypersensitive and easily irritated. Whatever he said was always interesting and stimulating and the way in which he expressed it was often fascinating. His point of view and his attitude toward people and problems, even theoretical problems, were much more similar to those of a creative artist than to those of a scientist; one might almost say, similar to those of a religious prophet or a seer. When he started to formulate his view on some specific problem, we often felt the internal struggle that occurred in him at that very moment, a struggle by which he tried to penetrate from darkness to light under an intense and painful strain, which was even visible on his most expressive face. When finally, sometimes after a prolonged arduous effort, his answers came forth, his statement stood before us like a newly created piece of art or a divine revelation. Not that he asserted his views dogmatically ... But the impression he made on us was as if insight came to him as through divine inspiration, so that we could not help feeling that any sober rational comment of analysis of it would be a profanation.
Rudolf Carnap (The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap, Volume 11)
What is my life for and what am I going to do with it? I don't know and I'm afraid. I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited. Yet I am not a cretin: lame, blind and stupid. I am not a veteran, passing my legless, armless days in a wheelchair. I am not that mongoloidish old man shuffling out of the gates of the mental hospital. I have much to live for, yet unaccountably I am sick and sad. Perhaps you could trace my feeling back to my distaste at having to choose between alternatives. Perhaps that's why I want to be everyone - so no one can blame me for being I. So I won't have to take the responsibility for my own character development and philosophy. People are happy - - - if that means being content with your lot: feeling comfortable as the complacent round peg struggling in a round hole, with no awkward or painful edges - no space to wonder or question in. I am not content, because my lot is limiting, as are all others. People specialize; people become devoted to an idea; people "find themselves.
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
My mother's suffering grew into a symbol in my mind, gathering to itself all the poverty, the ignorance, the helplessness; the painful, baffling, hunger-ridden days and hours; the restless moving, the futile seeking, the uncertainty, the fear, the dread; the meaningless pain and the endless suffering. Her life set the emotional tone of my life, colored the men and women I was to meet in the future, conditioned my relation to events that had not yet happened, determined my attitude to situations and circumstances I had yet to face. A somberness of spirit that I was never to lose settled over me during the slow years of my mother's unrelieved suffering, a somberness that was to make me stand apart and look upon excessive joy with suspicion, that was to make me keep forever on the move, as though to escape a nameless fate seeking to overtake me. At the age of twelve, before I had one year of formal schooling, I had a conception of life that no experience would ever erase, a predilection for what was real that no argument could ever gainsay, a sense of the world that was mine and mine alone, a notion as to what life meant that no education could ever alter, a conviction that the meaning of living came only when one was struggling to wring a meaning out of meaningless suffering. At the age of twelve I had an attitude toward life that was to endure, that was to make me seek those areas of living that would keep it alive, that was to make me skeptical of everything while seeking everything, tolerant of all and yet critical. The spirit I had caught gave me insight into the sufferings of others, made me gravitate toward those whose feelings were like my own, made me sit for hours while others told me of their lives, made me strangely tender and cruel, violent and peaceful. It made me want to drive coldly to the heart of every question and it open to the core of suffering I knew I would find there. It made me love burrowing into psychology, into realistic and naturalistic fiction and art, into those whirlpools of politics that had the power to claim the whole of men's souls. It directed my loyalties to the side of men in rebellion; it made me love talk that sought answers to questions that could help nobody, that could only keep alive in me that enthralling sense of wonder and awe in the face of the drama of human feeling which is hidden by the external drama of life.
Richard Wright (Black Boy (American Hunger))
Where my soul went during that swoon I cannot tell. Whatever she saw, or wherever she travelled in her trance on that strange night she kept her own secret; never whispering a word to Memory, and baffling imagination by an indissoluble silence. She may have gone upward, and come in sight of her eternal home, hoping for leave to rest now, and deeming that her painful union with matter was at last dissolved. While she so deemed, an angel may have warned her away from heaven's threshold, and, guiding her weeping down, have bound her, once more, all shuddering and unwilling, to that poor frame, cold and wasted, of whose companionship she was grown more than weary. I know she re-entered her prison with pain, with reluctance, with a moan and a long shiver. The divorced mates, Spirit and Substance, were hard to re-unite: they greeted each other, not in an embrace, but a racking sort of struggle.
Charlotte Brontë
He thought with a kind of astonishment of the biological uselessness of pain and fear, the treachery of the human body which always freezes into inertia at exactly the moment when a special effort is needed. He might have silenced the dark-haired girl if only he had acted quickly enough; but precisely because of the extremity of danger he had lost the power to act. It struck him that in moments of crisis one is never fighting against an external enemy but always against one's own body. Even now, in spite of the gin, the dull ache in his belly made consecutive thought impossible. And it is the same, he percieved, in all seemingly heroic or tragic situatuions. On the battlefield, in the torture chamber, on a sinking ship, the issues that you are fighting for are always forgotten, because the body swells up until it fills the universe, and even when you are not paralyzed by fright or screaming with pain, life is a moment-to-moment struggle against hunger or cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth.
George Orwell (1984)
You still think I’m too optimistic, don’t you?” Shallan said. “It’s not your fault,” Kaladin said. “I’d rather be like you. I’d rather not have lived the life I have. I would that the world was only full of people like you, Shallan Davar.” “People who don’t understand pain.” “Oh, all people understand pain,” Kaladin said. “That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s . . .” “The sorrow,” Shallan said softly, “of watching a life crumble? Of struggling to grab it and hold on, but feeling hope become stringy sinew and blood beneath your fingers as everything collapses?” “Yes.” “The sensation—it’s not sorrow, but something deeper—of being broken. Of being crushed so often, and so hatefully, that emotion becomes something you can only wish for. If only you could cry, because then you’d feel something. Instead, you feel nothing. Just . . . haze and smoke inside. Like you’re already dead.” He stopped in the chasm. She turned and looked to him. “The crushing guilt,” she said, “of being powerless. Of wishing they’d hurt you instead of those around you. Of screaming and scrambling and hating as those you love are ruined, popped like a boil. And you have to watch their joy seeping away while you can’t do anything. They break the ones you love, and not you. And you plead. Can’t you just beat me instead?” “Yes,” he whispered. Shallan nodded, holding his eyes. “Yes. It would be nice if nobody in the world knew of those things, Kaladin Stormblessed. I agree. With everything I have.” He saw it in her eyes. The anguish, the frustration. The terrible nothing that clawed inside and sought to smother her. She knew. It was there, inside. She had been broken. Then she smiled. Oh, storms. She smiled anyway. It was the single most beautiful thing he’d seen in his entire life. “How?” he asked.
Brandon Sanderson (Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2))
All human beings are alone. No other person will completely feel like we do, think like we do, act like we do. Each of us is unique, and our aloneness is the other side of our uniqueness. The question is whether we let our aloneness become loneliness or whether we allow it to lead us into solitude. Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful. Loneliness makes us cling to others in desperation; solitude allows us to respect others in their uniqueness and create community. Letting our aloneness grow into solitude and not into loneliness is a lifelong struggle. It requires conscious choices about whom to be with, what to study, how to pray, and when we ask for counsel. But wise choices will help us to find the solitude where our hearts can grow in love.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith)
And from right to left along the lighted shore moved a wild and gorgeous apparition of a woman. She walked with measured steps, draped in striped and fringed cloths, treading the earth proudly, with a slight jingle and flash of barbarous ornaments. She carried her head high; her hair was done in the shape of a helmet; she had brass leggings to the knee, brass wire gauntlets to the elbow, a crimson spot on her tawny cheek, innumerable necklaces of glass beads on her neck; bizarre things, charms, gifts of witchmen, that hung about her, glittered and trembled at every step. She must have had the value of several elephant tusks upon her. She was savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent; there was something ominous and stately in her deliberate progress. And in the hush that had fallen suddenly upon the whole sorrowful land, the immense wilderness, the colossal body of the fecund and mysterious life seemed to look at her, pensive, as though it had been looking at the image of its own tenebrous and passionate soul. Her face had a tragic and fierce aspect of wild sorrow and of dumb pain mingled with the fear of some struggling, halt-shaped resolve. She stood looking at us without a stir, and like the wilderness itself, with an air of brooding over an inscoutable purpose. A whole minute passed, and then she made a step forward. There was a low jingle, a glint of yellow metal, a sway of fringed draperies, and she stopped as if her heart had failed her. She looked at us all as if her life had depended upon the unswerving steadiness of her glance
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
Tristan?” He turned his face to me, and it was streaked with tears. I wanted to wipe them away, tell him that everything would be all right, but my body was locked stiff with pain. “Promise me you’ll get better,” he whispered. “Tell me you’ll grow strong again. That you’ll gallop on horseback through summer meadows. Dance in spring rains and let snowflakes melt on your tongue in winter. That you’ll travel wherever the wind takes you. That you’ll live.” He stroked my hair. “Promise me.” Confusion crept over me. “You’ll be with me, though. You’ll do those things too?” He kissed my lips, silencing my questions. “Promise me.” “No,” I said, struggling against him.. “No, you said you were coming with me. You said. You promised.” He had to be coming with me - he said he was and Tristan couldn’t lie. Wouldn’t lie. He got to his feet and stepped into the water. I tried to struggle, but he was too strong. “Tristian, no, no, no!” I tried to scream, but I couldn’t. I tried to hold on to him, but my fingers wouldn’t work. The cold of the water bit into my skin and I sobbed, terrified. “You said you would never leave me!” He stopped, the weight of his sorrow greater than any mountain. “And if I had the choice, I never would. I love you, Cécile. I will love you until the day I take my last breath and that is the truth. “ He kissed me hard. “Forgive me.
Danielle L. Jensen (Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, #1))
A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle for bread; they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other. Age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; shames and humiliations bring down their prides and their vanities. Those they love are taken from them and the joy of life is turned to aching grief. The burden of pain, care, misery, grows heavier year by year. At length ambition is dead; pride is dead; vanity is dead; longing for release is in their place. It comes at last - the only unpoisoned gift ever had for them - and they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence; where they achieved nothing; where they were a mistake and a failure and a foolishness; where they have left no sign that they have existed – a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever. Then another myriad takes their place and copies all they did and goes along the same profitless road and vanishes as they vanished - to make room for another and another and a million other myriads to follow the same arid path through the same desert and accomplish what the first myriad and all the myriads that came after it accomplished - nothing!
Mark Twain (The Autobiography of Mark Twain)
Burying and Planting The culmination of one love, one dream, one self, is the anonymous seed of the next. There is very little difference between burying and planting. For often, we need to put dead things to rest, so that new life can grow. And further, the thing put to rest—whether it be a loved one, a dream, or a false way of seeing—becomes the fertilizer for the life about to form. As the well-used thing joins with the earth, the old love fertilizes the new; the broken dream fertilizes the dream yet conceived; the painful way of being that strapped us to the world fertilizes the freer inner stance about to unfold. This is very helpful when considering the many forms of self we inhabit over a lifetime. One self carries us to the extent of its usefulness and dies. We are then forced to put that once beloved skin to rest, to join it with the ground of spirit from which it came, so it may fertilize the next skin of self that will carry us into tomorrow. There is always grief for what is lost and always surprise at what is to be born. But much of our pain in living comes from wearing a dead and useless skin, refusing to put it to rest, or from burying such things with the intent of hiding them rather than relinquishing them. For every new way of being, there is a failed attempt mulching beneath the tongue. For every sprig that breaks surface, there is an old stick stirring underground. For every moment of joy sprouting, there is a new moment of struggle taking root. We live, embrace, and put to rest our dearest things, including how we see ourselves, so we can resurrect our lives anew.
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have)
Should I, too, prefer the title of 'non-Jewish Jew'? For some time, I would have identified myself strongly with the attitude expressed by Rosa Luxemburg, writing from prison in 1917 to her anguished friend Mathilde Wurm: What do you want with these special Jewish pains? I feel as close to the wretched victims of the rubber plantations in Putamayo and the blacks of Africa with whose bodies the Europeans play ball… I have no special corner in my heart for the ghetto: I am at home in the entire world, where there are clouds and birds and human tears. An inordinate proportion of the Marxists I have known would probably have formulated their own views in much the same way. It was almost a point of honor not to engage in 'thinking with the blood,' to borrow a notable phrase from D.H. Lawrence, and to immerse Jewishness in other and wider struggles. Indeed, the old canard about 'rootless cosmopolitanism' finds a perverse sort of endorsement in Jewish internationalism: the more emphatically somebody stresses that sort of rhetoric about the suffering of others, the more likely I would be to assume that the speaker was a Jew. Does this mean that I think there are Jewish 'characteristics'? Yes, I think it must mean that.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
My trip to the former Yugoslavia had opened the world for me, and my hunger for the world. In doing so, it undid the contained, safe borders of my existence. Suddenly a woman weeping over her lost son in an image on the front page of The New York Times was no longer a theoretical entity. She was real, a woman I might have met, might have known. I was connected to her. I could no longer divorce myself from her pain, her suffering. Initially this was overwhelming. I had nightmares. I felt restless and wrong in my comforting life in America. Everything seemed absurd and pointless. I came to understand why we block out the pain and atrocities of others. That pain, if we allow it to enter us, makes our lives impossible. It forces us to examine our own values and reality. It insists that we be responsible for others. It thrusts us into the messy world where there are no easy solutions or reasons, only struggles and questions. It creates great fissures in the landscape of our insulated, so-called safe reality. Fissures that, once split open, can never close again. It compels us to act.
Eve Ensler
The history of man is simply the history of slavery, of injustice and brutality, together with the means by which he has, through the dead and desolate years, slowly and painfully advanced. He has been the sport and prey of priest and king, the food of superstition and cruel might. Crowned force has governed ignorance through fear. Hypocrisy and tyranny—two vultures—have fed upon the liberties of man. From all these there has been, and is, but one means of escape—intellectual development. Upon the back of industry has been the whip. Upon the brain have been the fetters of superstition. Nothing has been left undone by the enemies of freedom. Every art and artifice, every cruelty and outrage has been practiced and perpetrated to destroy the rights of man. In this great struggle every crime has been rewarded and every virtue has been punished. Reading, writing, thinking and investigating have all been crimes. Every science has been an outcast. All the altars and all the thrones united to arrest the forward march of the human race. The king said that mankind must not work for themselves. The priest said that mankind must not think for themselves. One forged chains for the hands, the other for the soul. Under this infamous regime the eagle of the human intellect was for ages a slimy serpent of hypocrisy. The human race was imprisoned. Through some of the prison bars came a few struggling rays of light. Against these bars Science pressed its pale and thoughtful face, wooed by the holy dawn of human advancement. Bar after bar was broken away. A few grand men escaped and devoted their lives to the liberation of their fellows.
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Liberty Of Man, Woman And Child)
My Sadness is Deeper than Yours My sadness is deeper than yours. My interior life is richer than yours. I am more interesting than you. I don’t care about anybody else’s problems. They are not as serious as mine. Nobody knows the weight I carry, the trouble I’ve seen. There are worlds in my head that nobody has access to: fortunately for them, fortunately for me. I have seen things that you will never see, and I have feelings that you are incapable of feeling, that you would never allow yourself to feel, because you lack the capacity and the curiosity. Once you felt the hint of such a feeling, you would stamp it out. I am a martyr to futility and I don’t expect to be shut down by a pretender. Mothballs are an aphrodisiac to me, beauty depresses me. You could never hope to fathom the depth of my feelings, deeper than death. I look down upon you all from my lofty height of lowliness. The fullness of your satisfaction lacks the cadaverous purity of my pain. Don’t talk to me about failure. You don’t know the meaning of the word. When it comes to failure, you’re strictly an amateur. Bush league stuff. I’m ten times the failure you’ll ever be. I have more to complain about than you, and regrets: more than a few, too many to mention. I am a fully-qualified failure, I have proven it over and over again. My credentials are impeccable, my resume flawless. I have worked hard to put myself in a position of unassailable wretchedness, and I demand to be respected for it. I expect to be rewarded for a struggle that produced nothing. I want the neglect, the lack of acknowledgment. And I want the bitterness that comes with it too.
John Tottenham
However, the struggle with that sentinel is, as a rule, not so hard as it may seem from a long way off, mainly in consequence of the antagonism between the ills of the body and the ills of the mind. If we are in great bodily pain, or the pain lasts a long time, we become indifferent to other troubles; all we think about is to get well. In the same way great mental suffering makes us insensible to bodily pain; we despise it; nay, if it should outweigh the other, it distracts our thoughts, and we welcome it as a pause in mental suffering. It is this feeling that makes suicide easy; for the bodily pain that accompanies it loses all significance in the eyes of one who is tortured by an excess of mental suffering. This is especially evident in the case of those who are driven to suicide by some purely morbid and exaggerated ill-humor. No special effort to overcome their feelings is necessary, nor do such people require to be worked up in order to take the step; but as soon as the keeper into whose charge they are given leaves them for a couple of minutes, they quickly bring their life to an end. When, in some dreadful and ghastly dream, we reach the moment of greatest horror, it awakes us; thereby banishing all the hideous shapes that were born of the night. And life is a dream: when the moment of greatest horror compels us to break it off, the same thing happens.
Arthur Schopenhauer (Studies in Pessimism: The Essays)
As a journalist, I have seen things that have scarred me. I have interacted with people who have haunted me. I have heard things that have pained me. As a result, I have long struggled with the notion of faith. I have said more times than I can count, "If there is a God, how can he allow this to happen? How can he let so many people suffer?" Several years ago, I married a man of strong faith. One day he sent an email to me that said this: "On a street corner I saw a cold, shivering girl in a thin dress, with no hope of a decent meal. I got angry and said to God, 'Why did you permit this? Why don't you do something about it?' God replied, 'I certainly did something about it. I made you." Whenever I start to blame God for what I encounter in the world, I stop and remind myself that maybe it is I who should be doing more. We get so hung up on the notion of success that we can easily forget about being of service to others. I have actually found that giving of oneself is far more fulfilling than gifting oneself.
Lisa Ling
The relations one has with a woman one loves (and that can apply also to love for a youth) can remain platonic for other reasons than the chastity of the woman or the unsensual nature of the love she inspires. The reason may be that the lover is too impatient and by the very excess of his love is unable to await the moment when he will obtain his desires by sufficient pretence of indifference. Continually, he returns to the charge, he never ceases writing to her whom he loves, he is always trying to see her, she refuses herself, he becomes desperate. From that time she knows, if she grants him her company, her friendship, that these benefits will seem so considerable to one who believed he was going to be deprived of them, that she need grant nothing more and that she can take advantage of the moment when he can no longer bear being unable to see her and when, at all costs, he must put an end to the struggle by accepting a truce which will impose upon him a platonic relationship as its preliminary condition. Moreover, during all the time that preceded this truce, the lover, in a constant state of anxiety, ceaselessly hoping for a letter, a glance, has long ceased thinking of the physical desire which at first tormented him but which has been exhausted by waiting and has been replaced by another order of longings more painful still if left unsatisfied. The pleasure formerly anticipated from caresses will later be accorded but transmuted into friendly words and promises of intercourse which brings delicious moments after the strain of uncertainty or after a look impregnated with such coldness that it seemed to remove the loved one beyond hope of his ever seeing her again. Women divine all this and know they can afford the luxury of never yielding to those who, from the first, have betrayed their inextinguishable desire. A woman is enchanted if, without giving anything, she can receive more than she generally gets when she does give herself.
Marcel Proust (In Search of Lost Time [volumes 1 to 7])
I’m not sure what to say about struggle except that it feels like a long, dark tunnel with no light at the end. You never notice until it’s over the ways it has changed you, and there is no going back. We struggled a lot this year. For everyone who picked a fight with life and got the shit kicked out of them: I’m proud of you for surviving. This year I learned that cities are beautiful from rooftops even when you’re sad and that swimming in rivers while the sun sets in July will make you feel hopeful, no matter what’s going on at home. I found out my best friend is strong enough to swing me over his shoulder like I’m weightless and run down the street while I’m squealing and kicking against his chest. I found out vegan rice milk whipped cream is delicious, especially when it’s licked off the stomach of a boy you love. This year I kissed too many people with broken hearts and hands like mousetraps. If I could go back and unhurt them I would. If I could go back even farther and never meet them I would do that too. I turned 21. There’s no getting around it. I’m an adult now. Navigating the world has proved harder than I expected. There were times I was reckless. In my struggle to survive I hurt others. Apologies do not make good bandages. I’m not sure what to say about change except that it reminds me of the Bible story with the lions’ den. But you are not named Daniel and you have not been praying, so God lets the beasts get a few deep, painful swipes at you before the morning comes and you’re pulled into the light, exhausted and cut to shit. The good news is you survived. The bad news is you’re hurt and no one can heal you but yourself. You just have to find a stiff drink and a clean needle before you bleed out. And then you get up. And start over.
Clementine von Radics (Mouthful of Forevers)
She hardly knew what to do, it had been so long since such strong feelings had borne down on her. It was like carrying another creature inside her, and nothing so benign and natural as a baby. Undamped, untamed, the pain and exultation of her attachment to them blew through Liga like a storm-wind carrying sharp leaves and struggling birds. How long she had known her daughters, and how well, and in what extraordinary vividness and detail! How blithely she had done the work of rearing them - it seemed to her now that she had had cause for towering, disabling anxieties about them; that what had seemed little plaints and sorrows in their childhoods were in fact off-drawings from much greater tragedies, from which she had tried to keep them but could not. And the joys she had had of them, too, their embraces and laughter - it was all too intense to be endured, this connection with them, which was a miniature of the connection with the forces that drove planet and season - the relentlessness of them, the randomness, the susceptibility to glory, to accident, to disaster. How soft had been her life in that other place, how safe and mild! And here she was, back where terrors could immobilize her, and wonders too; where life might become gulps of strong ale rather than sips of bloom-tea. She did not know whether she was capable of lifting the cup, let alone drinking the contents.
Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels)
One day in my pharmacology class, we were discussing the possibility of legalizing marijuana. The class was pretty evenly divided between those that advocated legalizing marijuana and those that did not. The professor said he wanted to hear from a few people on both sides of the argument. A couple students had the opportunity to stand in front of the class and present their arguments. One student got up and spoke about how any kind of marijuana use was morally wrong and how nobody in the class could give him any example of someone who needed marijuana. A small girl in the back of the classroom raised her hand and said that she didn’t want to get up, but just wanted to comment that there are SOME situations in which people might need marijuana. The same boy from before spoke up and said that she needed to back up her statements and that he still stood by the fact that there wasn’t anyone who truly needed marijuana. The same girl in the back of the classroom slowly stood up. As she raised her head to look at the boy, I could physically see her calling on every drop of confidence in her body. She told us that her husband had cancer. She started to tear up, as she related how he couldn’t take any of the painkillers to deal with the radiation and chemotherapy treatments. His body was allergic and would have violent reactions to them. She told us how he had finally given in and tried marijuana. Not only did it help him to feel better, but it allowed him to have enough of an appetite to get the nutrients he so desperately needed. She started to sob as she told us that for the past month she had to meet with drug dealers to buy her husband the only medicine that would take the pain away. She struggled every day because according to society, she was a criminal, but she was willing to do anything she could to help her sick husband. Sobbing uncontrollably now, she ran out of the classroom. The whole classroom sat there in silence for a few minutes. Eventually, my professor asked, “Is there anyone that thinks this girl is doing something wrong?” Not one person raised their hand.
Daniel Willey
Perhaps the reader is astonished by the frankness with which I expose and emphasize my mediocrity; let him remember that frankness is the virtue most appropriate to a defunct. In life, the watchful eye of public opinion, the conflict of interests, the struggle of greed against greed oblige a man to hide his old rags, to conceal the rips and patches, to withhold from the world the revelations that he makes to his own conscience; and the greatest reward comes when a man, in so deceiving others, manages at the same time to deceive himself, for in such case he spares himself shame, which is a painful experience, and hypocrisy, which is a hideous vice. But in death, what a difference! what relief! what freedom! How glorious to throw away your cloak, to dump your spangles in a ditch, to unfold yourself, to strip off all your paint and ornaments, to confess plainly what you were and what you failed to be! For, after all, you have no neighbors, no friends, no enemies, no acquaintances, no strangers, no audience at all. The sharp and judicial eye of public opinion loses its power as soon as we enter the territory of death. I do not deny that it sometimes glances this way and examines and judges us, but we dead folk are not concerned about its judgment. You who still live, believe me, there is nothing in the world so monstrously vast as our indifference.
Machado de Assis (Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas)
The light was crude. It made Artaud's eyes shrink into darkness, as they are deep-set. This brought into relief the intensity of his gestures. He looked tormented. His hair, rather long, fell at times over his forehead. He has the actor's nimbleness and quickness of gestures. His face is lean, as if ravaged by fevers. His eyes do not seem to see the people. They are the eyes of a visionary. His hands are long, long-fingered. Beside him Allendy looks earthy, heavy, gray. He sits at the desk, massive, brooding. Artaud steps out on the platform, and begins to talk about " The Theatre and the Plague." He asked me to sit in the front row. It seems to me that all he is asking for is intensity, a more heightened form of feeling and living. Is he trying to remind us that it was during the Plague that so many marvelous works of art and theater came to be, because, whipped by the fear of death, man seeks immortality, or to escape, or to surpass himself? But then, imperceptibly almost, he let go of the thread we were following and began to act out dying by plague. No one quite knew when it began. To illustrate his conference, he was acting out an agony. "La Peste" in French is so much more terrible than "The Plague" in English. But no word could describe what Artaud acted out on the platform of the Sorbonne. He forgot about his conference, the theatre, his ideas, Dr. Allendy sitting there, the public, the young students, his wife, professors, and directors. His face was contorted with anguish, one could see the perspiration dampening his hair. His eyes dilated, his muscles became cramped, his fingers struggled to retain their flexibility. He made one feel the parched and burning throat, the pains, the fever, the fire in the guts. He was in agony. He was screaming. He was delirious. He was enacting his own death, his own crucifixion. At first people gasped. And then they began to laugh. Everyone was laughing! They hissed. Then, one by one, they began to leave, noisily, talking, protesting. They banged the door as they left. The only ones who did not move were Allendy, his wife, the Lalous, Marguerite. More protestations. More jeering. But Artaud went on, until the last gasp. And stayed on the floor. Then when the hall had emptied of all but his small group of friends, he walked straight up to me and kissed my hand. He asked me to go to the cafe with him.
Anaïs Nin
The metaphysical mutation that gave rise to materialism and modern science in turn spawned two great trends: rationalism and individualism. Huxley’s mistake was in having poorly evaluated the balance of power between these two. Specifically, he underestimated the growth of individualism brought about by an increased consciousness of death. Individualism gives rise to freedom, the sense of self, the need to distinguish oneself and to be superior to others. A rational society like the one he describes in Brave New World can defuse the struggle. Economic rivalry—a metaphor for mastery over space—has no more reason to exist in a society of plenty, where the economy is strictly regulated. Sexual rivalry—a metaphor for mastery over time through reproduction—has no more reason to exist in a society where the connection between sex and procreation has been broken. But Huxley forgets about individualism. He doesn’t understand that sex, even stripped of its link with reproduction, still exists—not as a pleasure principle, but as a form of narcissistic differentiation. The same is true of the desire for wealth. Why has the Swedish model of social democracy never triumphed over liberalism? Why has it never been applied to sexual satisfaction? Because the metaphysical mutation brought about by modern science leads to individuation, vanity, malice and desire. Any philosopher, not just Buddhist or Christian, but any philosopher worthy of the name, knows that, in itself, desire—unlike pleasure—is a source of suffering, pain and hatred.
Michel Houellebecq (The Elementary Particles)
Not long after, and while it was still twilight, the grandfather also went to bed, for he was up every morning at sunrise, and the sun came climbing up over the mountains at a very early hour during these summer months. The wind grew so tempestuous during the night, and blew in such gusts against the walls, that the hut trembled and the old beams groaned and creaked. It came howling and wailing down the chimney like voices of those in pain, and it raged with such fury among the old fir trees that here and there a branch was snapped and fell. In the middle of the night the old man got up. "The child will be frightened," he murmured half aloud. He mounted the ladder and went and stood by the child's bed. Outside the moon was struggling with the dark, fast-driving clouds, which at one moment left it clear and shining, and the next swept over it, and all again was dark. Just now the moonlight was falling through the round window straight on to Heidi's bed. She lay under the heavy coverlid, her cheeks rosy with sleep, her head peacefully resting on her little round arm, and with a happy expression on her baby face as if dreaming of something pleasant. The old man stood looking down on the sleeping child until the moon again disappeared behind the clouds and he could see no more, then he went back to bed.
Johanna Spyri (Heidi)
The rain set early in tonight, The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm-tops down for spite, And did its worst to vex the lake: I listened with heart fit to break. When glided in Porphyria; straight She shut the cold out and the storm, And kneeled and made the cheerless grate Blaze up, and all the cottage warm; Which done, she rose, and from her form Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl, And laid her soiled gloves by, untied Her hat and let the damp hair fall, And, last, she sat down by my side And called me. When no voice replied, She put my arm about her waist, And made her smooth white shoulder bare, And all her yellow hair displaced, And, stooping, made my cheek lie there, And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair, Murmuring how she loved me — she Too weak, for all her heart's endeavor, To set its struggling passion free From pride, and vainer ties dissever, And give herself to me forever. But passion sometimes would prevail, Nor could tonight's gay feast restrain A sudden thought of one so pale For love of her, and all in vain: So, she was come through wind and rain. Be sure I looked up at her eyes Happy and proud; at last l knew Porphyria worshiped me: surprise Made my heart swell, and still it grew While I debated what to do. That moment she was mine, mine, fair, Perfectly pure and good: I found A thing to do, and all her hair In one long yellow string l wound Three times her little throat around, And strangled her. No pain felt she; I am quite sure she felt no pain. As a shut bud that holds a bee, I warily oped her lids: again Laughed the blue eyes without a stain. And l untightened next the tress About her neck; her cheek once more Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss: I propped her head up as before, Only, this time my shoulder bore Her head, which droops upon it still: The smiling rosy little head, So glad it has its utmost will, That all it scorned at once is fled, And I, its love, am gained instead! Porphyria's love: she guessed not how Her darling one wish would be heard. And thus we sit together now, And all night long we have not stirred, And yet God has not said aword!
Robert Browning (Robert Browning's Poetry)
My name is CRPS, or so they say But I actually go by; a few different names. I was once called causalgia, nearly 150 years ago And then I had a new name It was RSD, apparently so. I went by that name because the burn lived inside of me. Now I am called CRPS, because I have so much to say I struggle to be free. I don't have one symptom and this is where I change, I attack the home of where I live; with shooting/burning pains. Depression fills the mind of the body I belong, it starts to speak harsh to self, negativity growing strong. Then I start to annoy them; with the issues with sensitivity, You'd think the pain enough; but no, it wants to make you aware of its trembling disability. I silently make my move; but the screams are loud and clear, Because I enter your physical reality and you can't disappear. I confuse your thoughts; I contain apart of your memory, I cover your perspective, the fog makes it sometimes unbearable to see. I play with your temperature levels, I make you nervous all the time - I take away your independance and take away your pride. I stay with you by the day & I remind you by the night, I am an awful journey and you will struggle with this fight. Then there's a side to me; not many understand, I have the ability to heal and you can be my friend. Help yourself find the strength to fight me with all you have, because eventually I'll get tired of making you grow mad. It will take some time; remember I mainly live inside your brain, Curing me is hard work but I promise you, You can beat me if you feed love to my pain. Find the strength to carry on and feed the fears with light; hold on to the seat because, like I said, it's going to be a fight. But I hope to meet you, when your healthy and healed, & you will silenty say to me - I did this, I am cured is this real? That day could possibly come; closer than I want- After all I am a disease and im fighting for my spot. I won't deny from my medical angle, I am close to losing the " incurable " battle.
Nikki Rowe
Not caring about our own pain and the pain of others is not working. How much longer are we willing to keep pulling drowning people out of the river one by one, rather than walking to the headwaters of the river to find the source of the pain? What will it take for us to let go of that earned self-righteousness and travel together to the cradle of the pain that is throwing all of us in at such a rate that we couldn’t possibly save everyone? Pain is unrelenting. It will get our attention. Despite our attempts to drown it in addiction, to physically beat it out of one another, to suffocate it with success and material trappings, or to strangle it with our hate, pain will find a way to make itself known. Pain will subside only when we acknowledge it and care for it. Addressing it with love and compassion would take only a minuscule percentage of the energy it takes to fight it, but approaching pain head-on is terrifying. Most of us were not taught how to recognize pain, name it, and be with it. Our families and culture believed that the vulnerability that it takes to acknowledge pain was weakness, so we were taught anger, rage, and denial instead. But what we know now is that when we deny our emotion, it owns us. When we own our emotion, we can rebuild and find our way through the pain. Sometimes owning our pain and bearing witness to struggle means getting angry. When we deny ourselves the right to be angry, we deny our pain. There are a lot of coded shame messages in the rhetoric of “Why so hostile?” “Don’t get hysterical,” “I’m sensing so much anger!” and “Don’t take it so personally.” All of these responses are normally code for Your emotion or opinion is making me uncomfortable or Suck it up and stay quiet. One response to this is “Get angry and stay angry!” I haven’t seen that advice borne out in the research. What I’ve found is that, yes, we all have the right and need to feel and own our anger. It’s an important human experience.
Brené Brown (Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone)
Girls and women, in their new, particular unfolding, will only in passing imitate men's behavior and misbehavior and follow in male professions. Once the uncertainty of such transitions is over it will emerge that women have only passed through the spectrum and the variety of those (often laughable) disguises in order to purify their truest natures from the distorting influences of the other sex. Women, in whom life abides and dwells more immediately, more fruitfully and more trustingly, are bound to have ripened more thoroughly, become more human human beings, than a man, who is all too light and has not been pulled down beneath the surface of life by the weight of a bodily fruit and who, in his arrogance and impatience, undervalues what he thinks he loves. This humanity which inhabits woman, brought to term in pain and humiliation, will, once she has shrugged off the conventions of mere femininity through the transformations of her outward status, come clearly to light, and men, who today do not yet feel it approaching, will be taken by surprise and struck down by it. One day (there are already reliable signs which speak for it and which begin to spread their light, especially in the northern countries), one day there will be girls and women whose name will no longer just signify the opposite of the male but something in their own right, something which does not make one think of any supplement or limit but only of life and existence: the female human being. This step forward (at first right against the will of the men who are left behind) will transform the experience of love, which is now full of error, alter its root and branch, reshape it into a relation between two human beings and no longer between man and woman. And this more human form of love (which will be performed in infinitely gentle and considerate fashion, true and clear in its creating of bonds and dissolving of them) will resemble the one we are struggling and toiling to prepare the way for, the love that consists in two solitudes protecting, defining and welcoming one another.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
I wake with tears in my eyes. I wake to Jeanine’s scream of frustration. “What is it?” She grabs Peter’s gun out of his hand and stalks across the room, pressing the barrel to my forehead. My body stiffens, goes cold. She won’t shoot me. I am a problem she can’t solve. She won’t shoot me. “What is it that clues you in? Tell me. Tell me or I will kill you.” I slowly push myself up from the chair, coming to my feet, pushing my skin harder into the cold barrel. “You think I’m going to tell you?” I say. “You think I believe that you would kill me without figuring out the answer to this question?” “You stupid girl,” she says. “You think this is about you, and your abnormal brain? This is not about you. It is not about me. It is about keeping this city safe from the people who intend to plunge it into hell!” I summon the last of my strength and launch myself at her, clawing at whatever skin my fingernails find, digging in as hard as I can. She screams at the top of her lungs, a sound that turns my blood into fire. I punch her hard in the face. A pair of arms wrap around me, pulling me off her, and a fist meets my side. I groan, and lunge toward her, held at bay by Peter. “Pain can’t make me tell you. Truth serum can’t make me tell you. Simulations can’t make me tell you. I’m immune to all three.” Her nose is bleeding, and I see lines of fingernail scrapes in her cheeks, on the side of her throat, turning red with blossoming blood. She glares at me, pinching her nose closed, her hair disheveled, her free hand trembling. “You have failed. You can’t control me!” I scream, so loud it hurts my throat. I stop struggling and sag against Peter’s chest. “You will never be able to control me.” I laugh, mirthless, a mad laugh. I savor the scowl on her face, the hate in her eyes. She was like a machine; she was cold and emotionless, bound by logic alone. And I broke her. I broke her.
Veronica Roth
Tell me what to do." His warm breath tickled my ear. "Relax." "Please, Noah, I don't want to do this wrong. Tell me how to make you feel good." He shifted so that his body rested beside mine, his leg and arm still draped over me. I felt small under his warmth and strength. His chocolate-brown eyes softened. "Being with you feels good. Touching you-"he tucked a curl behind my ear"-feels good. I have never wanted anyone like I want you. There's nothing you can do wrong when just breathing makes everything right." His hand framed my face and his tone was edget with husky authority. "I want you, but only if you want me." I kissed him back, allowing my arms to wrap around him. His fingers gently massaged my neck, releasing the tension, erasing my unease. The kiss became a drug and i craved more with every touch. Our bodies twined so tightly to one another, i had no idea where i began and he ended. Noah felt strong and warm and muscular and safe and he smelled, oh, God, delicious. I couldn't stop kissing him if my life depend it upon it: his lips, his neck, his chest, and Noah seemed as hungry as me. We rolled and we touched and we shed unwanted clothes. I moaned and he moaned and my mind and soul and body stood on the edge of pure ecstasy. And i waited. I waited for that moment of pausing for protection and the burning pain my friends described, but Noah never stopped and the pain never came, not even when i whispered his name and praise God several times in a row. Both of us gasped for air while kissing each other softly and i struggled to comprehend i was still a virgin. He shifted off of me and tugged me close to him. My entire body became lazily warm, happy and sated. I listened to his heartbeat and closed my eyes, enjoying the relaxing pull of his hand in my hair. "Noah," i whispered. "I thought..." we were going to make love. He tipped my chin, forcing me to look at him. "We have forever to work up to that, Echo. Let's enjoy every step of the way." My mind drifted this way and that. Mostly between focusing on his heart, his touch and the sweetest word i had ever heard: forever. One clear thought forced my eyes open. "You 're putting me to sleep." "So?" he asked a little too innocently. I swallowed. "I'll have nightmares." "Then we 'll have an excuse to do this again.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
You struggle because you’re locating all of the magic in your life outside of yourself. When you are loved, then you are lovable. When you are left behind, you are unlovable. When you “arrive” at some point of success and fame as a writer, you will be worthy. Until then, you are worthless. As long as you imagine that the outside world will one day deliver to you the external rewards you need to feel happy, you will always perceive your survival as exhausting and perceive your life as a long slog to nowhere. Instead, you have to savor the tiny struggles of the day: The cold glass of water after a long run. The hot bath after hours of digging through the dirt. The satisfaction of writing a good sentence, a good paragraph. You MUST feel these things, because these aren’t small rewards on the path to some big reward; these tiny things are everything. Savoring these things requires tuning in to your feelings, and it requires loving yourself instead of shoving your nose into your own question marks hour after hour, day after day. You are not lost. You are here. Stop abandoning yourself. Stop repeating this myth about love and success that will land in your lap or evade you forever. Build a humble, flawed life from the rubble, and cherish that. There is nothing more glorious on the face of the earth than someone who refuses to give up, who refuses to give in to their most self-hating, discouraged, disillusioned self, and instead learns, slowly and painfully, how to relish the feeling of building a hut in the middle of the suffocating dust. If you can learn to be where you are, without fear, then sooner than you know it, your life will quite naturally be filled with more love and more wonder than you can possibly handle. When that happens, you’ll look back and see that this was the most romantic time of your whole life. These are those terrible days, those gorgeous days, when you first learned to breathe and stand alone without fear, to believe not in finish lines but in the race itself. Your legs are aching and your heart is pounding and the world is electric. You will have 30 years or 50 years, or maybe you’ll be gone tomorrow. All that matters is this moment, right now. This is the moment you learn to be here, to feel your limbs, to feel your full heart, to realize, for the first time, just how lucky you are.
Heather Havrilesky
My Darling, It is late at night and though the words are coming hard to me, I can’t escape the feeling that it’s time that I finally answer your question. Of course I forgive you. I forgive you now, and I forgave you the moment I read your letter. In my heart, I had no other choice. Leaving you once was hard enough; to have done it a second time would have been impossible. I loved you too much to have let you go again. Though I’m still grieving over what might have been, I find myself thankful that you came into my life for even a short period of time. In the beginning, I’d assumed that we were somehow brought together to help you through your time of grief. Yet now, one year later, I’ve come to believe that it was the other way around. Ironically, I am in the same position you were, the first time we met. As I write, I am struggling with the ghost of someone I loved and lost. I now understand more fully the difficulties you were going through, and I realize how painful it must have been for you to move on. Sometimes my grief is overwhelming, and even though I understand that we will never see each other again, there is a part of me that wants to hold on to you forever. It would be easy for me to do that because loving someone else might diminish my memories of you. Yet, this is the paradox: Even though I miss you greatly, it’s because of you that I don’t dread the future. Because you were able to fall in love with me, you have given me hope, my darling. You taught me that it’s possible to move forward in life, no matter how terrible your grief. And in your own way, you’ve made me believe that true love cannot be denied. Right now, I don’t think I’m ready, but this is my choice. Do not blame yourself. Because of you, I am hopeful that there will come a day when my sadness is replaced by something beautiful. Because of you, I have the strength to go on. I don’t know if spirits do indeed roam the world, but even if they do, I will sense your presence everywhere. When I listen to the ocean, it will be your whispers; when I see a dazzling sunset, it will be your image in the sky. You are not gone forever, no matter who comes into my life. you are standing with God, alongside my soul, helping to guide me toward a future that I cannot predict. This is not a good-bye, my darling, this is a thank-you. Thank you for coming into my life and giving me joy, thank you for loving me and receiving my love in return. Thank you for the memories I will cherish forever. But most of all, thank you for showing me that there will come a time when I can eventually let you go. I love you
Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle)
My years of struggling against inequality, abusive power, poverty, oppression, and injustice had finally revealed something to me about myself. Being close to suffering, death, executions, and cruel punishments didn't just illuminate the brokenness of others; in a moment of anguish and heartbreak, it also exposed my own brokenness. You can't effectively fight abusive power, poverty, inequality, illness, oppression, or injustice and not be broken by it. We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent. The ways in which I have been hurt - and have hurt others - are different from the ways Jimmy Dill suffered and caused suffering. But our shared brokenness connected us. Thomas Merton said: We are bodies of broken bones. I guess I'd always known but never fully considered that being broken is what makes us human. We all have our reasons. Sometimes we're fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we're shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion. We have a choice. We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing our broken natures and the compassion that remains our best hope for healing. Or we can deny our brokenness, forswear compassion, and, as a result, deny our own humanity. I thought of the guards strapping Jimmy Dill to the gurney that very hour. I thought of the people who would cheer his death and see it as some kind of victory. I realized they were broken people, too, even if they would never admit it. So many of us have become afraid and angry. We've become so fearful and vengeful that we've thrown away children, discarded the disabled, and sanctioned the imprisonment of the sick and the weak - not because they are a threat to public safety or beyond rehabilitation but because we think it makes us seem tough, less broken. I thought of the victims of violent crime and the survivors of murdered loved ones, and how we've pressured them to recycle their pain and anguish and give it back to the offenders we prosecute. I thought of the many ways we've legalized vengeful and cruel punishments, how we've allowed our victimization to justify the victimization of others. We've submitted to the harsh instinct to crush those among us whose brokenness is most visible. But simply punishing the broken - walking away from them or hiding them from sight - only ensures that they remain broken and we do, too. There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity. I frequently had difficult conversations with clients who were struggling and despairing over their situations - over the things they'd done, or had been done to them, that had led them to painful moments. Whenever things got really bad, and they were questioning the value of their lives, I would remind them that each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done. I told them that if someone tells a lie, that person is not just a liar. If you take something that doesn't belong to you, you are not just a thief. Even if you kill someone, you're not just a killer. I told myself that evening what I had been telling my clients for years. I am more than broken. In fact, there is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things that you can't otherwise see; you hear things you can't otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)