Put Yourself First Quotes

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Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
Ira Glass
I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.
Lao Tzu
Vladimir did great things—so could she. Besides, they come first, right?" "Not always." I stared. I'd had they come first drilled into me since I was a child. It was what all guardians believed. Only the dhampirs who'd run away from their duty didn't subscribe to that. What he said was almost like treason. "Sometimes, Rose, you have to know when to put yourself first.
Richelle Mead (Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3))
APPLY WITHIN You once told me You wanted to find Yourself in the world - And I told you to First apply within, To discover the world within you. You once told me You wanted to save The world from all its wars - And I told you to First save yourself From the world, And all the wars You put yourself Through. APPLY WITHIN by Suzy Kassem
Suzy Kassem
Give yourself permission to put yourself first.
Sarah Hogle (You Deserve Each Other)
Butterfly. What a beautiful word What a delicate creature. Delicate like the cruel words that flow right out of your mouths and the food that flies right out of your hands… Does it make you feel better? Does it make you feel good ? Does picking on a girl make you more of a man? Well, I’m standing up for myself Like I should have done before I’m not putting up with your Butterfly anymore." (Kiersten slides the sack off her wrist and opens it, pulling out a handful of hand-made butterflies. She takes the microphone out of the stand and begins walking down the stairs as she continues speaking.) “I’d like to extend to others what others have extended to me.” (She walks up to Mrs. Brill first and holds out a butterfly) “Butterfly you, Mrs. Brill.” (Mrs. Brill smiles at her and takes the butterfly out of her hands. Lake laughs out loud and I have to nudge her to get her to be quiet. Kiersten walks around the room, passing out butterflies to several of the students, including the three from the lunchroom.) “Butterfly you, Mark. Butterfly you, Brendan. Butterfly you, Colby.” (When she finishes passing out the butterflies, she walks back onto the stage and places the microphone back into the stand.) “I have one thing to say to you And I’m not referring to the bullies Or the ones they pursue. I’m referring to those of you that just stand by The ones who don’t take up for those of us that cry Those of you who just…turn a blind eye. After all it’s not you it’s happening to You aren’t the one being bullied And you aren’t the one being rude It isn’t your hand that’s throwing the food But…it is your mouth not speaking up It is your feet not taking a stand It is your arm not lending a hand It is your heart Not giving a damn. So take up for yourself Take up for your friends I challenge you to be someone Who doesn’t give in. Don’t give in. Don’t let them win.
Colleen Hoover (Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2))
Always choose yourself first. Women are very socialized to choose other people. If you put yourself first, it’s this incredible path you can forge for yourself.
Rebecca Traister (All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation)
It's way too easy to see the real face of a person. They're amiable and full of pretense when they want something from you, but the minute you don't give in, back away or put yourself first (like they do) is the minute they show you who they really are.
Donna Lynn Hope
You're nothing like your sister," he tells me. "She meant a lot to me, okay? It's true. But the things I like about you have nothing to do with her. You - you are so strong and stubborn it drives me crazy. You're the one going through all this and you still put Laney first every time, instead of throwing yourself the pity party we both know you deserve. You call me out on my shit, and I like that, because sometimes I need someone to call me out on my shit. And you get Johnny Cash, and you take these incredible photos, and everything about you makes me hurt, in a good way, and it blows my mind that someone can be so amazing and not even see it.
Hannah Harrington (Saving June)
The genius of the current caste system, and what most distinguishes it from its predecessors, is that it appears voluntary. People choose to commit crimes, and that's why they are locked up or locked out, we are told. This feature makes the politics of responsibility particularly tempting, as it appears the system can be avoided with good behavior. But herein lies the trap. All people make mistakes. All of us are sinners. All of us are criminals. All of us violate the law at some point in our lives. In fact, if the worst thing you have ever done is speed ten miles over the speed limit on the freeway, you have put yourself and others at more risk of harm than someone smoking marijuana in the privacy of his or her living room. Yet there are people in the United States serving life sentences for first-time drug offenses, something virtually unheard of anywhere else in the world.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
To gain self-respect, you need to put yourself first.
Lorii Myers (Make It Happen, A Healthy, Competitive Approach to Achieving Personal Success (3 Off the Tee, #2))
The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first - wanting to be the centre - wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake...what Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they 'could be like Gods' - could set up on their own as if they had created themselves - be their own masters - invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come...the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
But people need to put themselves first sometimes. If you aren’t living your best life for yourself, you can’t be your best self for those in your life.
Colleen Hoover (Maybe Now (Maybe, #2))
Suicide is a form of murder— premeditated murder. It isn’t something you do the first time you think of doing it. It takes some getting used to. And you need the means, the opportunity, the motive. A successful suicide demands good organization and a cool head, both of which are usually incompatible with the suicidal state of mind. It’s important to cultivate detachment. One way to do this is to practice imagining yourself dead, or in the process of dying. If there’s a window, you must imagine your body falling out the window. If there’s a knife, you must imagine the knife piercing your skin. If there’s a train coming, you must imagine your torso flattened under its wheels. These exercises are necessary to achieving the proper distance. The debate was wearing me out. Once you've posed that question, it won't go away. I think many people kill themselves simply to stop the debate about whether they will or they won't. Anything I thought or did was immediately drawn into the debate. Made a stupid remark—why not kill myself? Missed the bus—better put an end to it all. Even the good got in there. I liked that movie—maybe I shouldn’t kill myself. In reality, it was only part of myself I wanted to kill: the part that wanted to kill herself, that dragged me into the suicide debate and made every window, kitchen implement, and subway station a rehearsal for tragedy.
Susanna Kaysen
Sometimes, maybe even more often than just sometimes, you were better off alone. Sometimes you had to learn to be your own best friend. To put yourself first.
Mariana Zapata (All Rhodes Lead Here)
Listen closely. There’s a remote possibility that you might learn something: First, I don’t give a damn if my work is commercial or not…I’m the writer. If what I write is good, then people will read it. That’s why literature exists. An author puts his heart and guts on the page. For your information, a good novel can change the world. Keep that in mind before you attempt to sit down at a typewriter. Never waste time on something you don’t believe in yourself.
John Fante
Start by pulling him out of the fire and hoping that he will forget the smell. He was supposed to be an angel but they took him from that light and turned him into something hungry, something that forgets what his hands are for when they aren’t shaking. He will lose so much, and you will watch it all happen because you had him first, and you would let the world break its own neck if it means keeping him. Start by wiping the blood off of his chin and pretending to understand. Repeat to yourself “I won’t leave you, I won’t leave you” until you fall asleep and dream of the place where nothing is red. When is a monster not a monster? Oh, when you love it. Oh, when you used to sing it to sleep. Here are your upturned hands. Give them to him and watch how he prays like he is learning his first words. Start by pulling him out of another fire, and putting him back together with the pieces you find on the floor. There is so much to forgive, but you do not know how to forget. When is a monster not a monster? Oh, when you are the reason it has become so mangled. Here is your humble offering, obliterated and broken in the mouth of this abandoned church. He has come back to stop the world from turning itself inside out, and you love him, you do, so you won’t let him. Tell him that you will never know any better.
Caitlyn Siehl
I was aware that we were both silently making those inevitable comparisons, putting our relationship in context. She is more this and less that. He is better or worse in these ways. It is human nature to do this--unless its your first relationship, which might be the very reason that your first relationship feels special and remains forever sacred. But the older you get, the more cynical you become, and the more complicated and convoluted the exercise is. You begin to realize that nothing is perfect, that there are trade-offs and sacrifices. The worst is when someone in your past trumps the person in the present, and you think to yourself: if I'd known this, then maybe I wouldn't have let him go.
Emily Giffin (Baby Proof)
The best university in the world is neither Oxford nor Harvard. The best university is "youniversity". YOU got the lecture halls of thoughts in YOU! You got everything you need to graduate with first class accomplishments put in you! YOU can do it!
Israelmore Ayivor (The Great Hand Book of Quotes)
The bottom line in managing your emotions is that you should put others – not yourself – first in how you handle and process them. Whether you delay or display your emotions should not be for your own gratification. You should ask yourself, What does the team need? Not, What will make me feel better?
John C. Maxwell (The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization)
Don't put the material first, for you have to live with yourself a long, long while! Become acquainted with yourself. Know yourself and the relationship to the Creative Forces.
Edgar Evans Cayce
It’s not weak to stand by the person you love when they’re trying to fix a big mistake, and it’s not weak to decide to put yourself first.
Sylvia Day (Captivated by You (Crossfire, #4))
One might even argue that if an animal could choose with intelligence, it would opt for living in a zoo, since the major difference between a zoo and the wild is the absence of parasites and enemies and the abundance of food in the first, and their respective abundance and scarcity in the second. Think about it yourself. Would you rather be put up at the Ritz with free room service and unlimited access to a doctor or be homeless without a soul to care for you?... But I don't insist. I don't mean to defend zoos. Close them all down if you want (and let us hope that what wildlife remains can survive in what is left of the natural world). I know zoos are no longer in people's good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
So you wish to conquer in the Olympic Games, my friend? And I, too... But first mark the conditions and the consequences. You will have to put yourself under discipline; to eat by rule, to avoid cakes and sweetmeats; to take exercise at the appointed hour whether you like it or not, in cold and heat; to abstain from cold drinks and wine at your will. Then, in the conflict itself you are likely enough to dislocate your wrist or twist your ankle, to swallow a great deal of dust, to be severely thrashed, and after all of these things, to be defeated.
Epictetus (The Discourses with the Enchiridion and Fragments)
A woman has to change her nature if she is to be a wife. She has to learn to curb her tongue, to suppress her desires, to moderate her thoughts and to spend her days putting another first. She has to put him first even when she longs to serve herself or her children. She has to put him first even if she longs to judge for herself. She has to put him first even when she knows best. To be a good wife is to be a woman with a will of iron that you yourself have forged into a bridle to curb your own abilities. To be a good wife is to enslave yourself to a lesser person. To be a good wife is to amputate your own power as surely as the parents of beggars hack off their children's feet for the greater benefit of the family.
Philippa Gregory (The Other Queen (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #15))
In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven't Read, which were frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres the Books You Needn't Read, the Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written. And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of the Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered. With a rapid maneuver you bypass them and move into the phalanxes of the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You'll Wait Till They're Remaindered, the Books ditto When They Come Out In Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too. Eluding these assaults, you come up beneath the towers of the fortress, where other troops are holding out: the Books You've Been Planning To Read For Ages, the Books You've Been Hunting For Years Without Success, the Books Dealing With Something You're Working On At The Moment, the Books You Want To Own So They'll Be Handy Just In Case, the Books You Could Put Aside Maybe To Read This Summer, the Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves, the Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified, Now you have been able to reduce the countless embattled troops to an array that is, to be sure, very large but still calculable in a finite number; but this relative relief is then undermined by the ambush of the Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time To Reread and the Books You've Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It's Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them.
Italo Calvino (If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler)
The cosmic humor is that if you desire to move mountains and you continue to purify yourself, ultimately you will arrive at the place where you are able to move mountains. But in order to arrive at this position of power you will have had to give up being he-who-wanted-to-move-mountains so that you can be he-who-put-the-mountain-there-in-the-first-place. The humor is that finally when you have the power to move the mountain, you are the person who placed it there--so there the mountain stays.
Ram Dass (Be Here Now)
I think that making yourself available means putting the relationship you're in first. Not necessarily always, but often. It means making the decision that's best for the two of you, as a unit, even if it means compromising a little individually. It means sharing everything.
Jill Santopolo (The Light We Lost)
Ah," Gary said dreamily. " 'Free time.' I've heard about that. Don't fool yourself, Fire-Top. What with extra hours of lessons for punishments, and the extra work you get every day, free time is an illusion. It's what you get when you die and the gods reward you for a life spent working from dawn until midnight. We all face up to it sooner or later--the only real free time you get here is what my honored sire chooses to give you, when he thinks you have earned it." "And he doesn't give it to you at night," Alex put in. "He gives it to you when you've been here awhile, on Market Day and sometimes a morning or afternoon all to yourself. But never at night. At night you study. During the day you study. In your sleep--
Tamora Pierce (Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1))
You don't have to stop looking after yourself just to help the world. In fact, sometimes it's better for the world if you put yourself first. That's not being selfish, in fact looking after yourself is the greatest act of kindness you can give the world. Loving yourself first is the best way to spread love.
Holly Bourne (Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?)
After you give yourself the chance to get to know yourself, love on yourself, and finally put yourself first, you’ll be like a kid in the candy store, because your life is so sweet. This is because you’ve accepted your flaws, you’ve learned how to say no without regret, you’re giving yourself so much attention and are loving yourself to the moon and back. You are in your ‘Ahah’ moment, and goodness gracious, you are in the zone where nobody can interrupt your inner peace. As others’ houses of cards fall down, you press forward because that isn’t your problem. You are taking happy steps, your mind is on cruise control, and you’ve created a new and improved plan for your life. Life is good!
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
They left like you knew they would. They went away and you fell like a stone. All the way to the bottom of your room. I see you, yes I see you. Sitting in your chair, hating every minute of it. Falling like a stone without even moving. It hurt you to know that you were right about all the shit you wanted to be wrong about. They always leave you. You put yourself in the right place to get left.
Henry Rollins (The First Five (Henry Rollins))
When the side effects knock you down, find the strength to get up, because you are a soldier. You’ve paid your dues, and nobody can hurt you because your foundation is solid. You are not broken down anymore. The Grim Reaper cannot steal your joy. You are no longer its victim. You are victorious, feeling good and living free! The ‘treatment’ gave you a turbocharge to find a cure. The cure is to love yourself more and to put yourself first.
Charlena E. Jackson
A man who seeks only the light, while shirking his responsibilities, will never find illumination. And one who keep his eyes fixed upon the sun ends up blind..." "It doesn't matter what others think -because that's what they will think, in any case. So, relax. Let the universe move about. Discover the joy of surprising yourself." "The master says: “Make use of every blessing that God gave you today. A blessing cannot be saved. There is no bank where we can deposit blessings received, to use them when we see fit. If you do not use them, they will be irretrievably lost. God knows that we are creative artists when it comes to our lives. On one day, he gives us clay for sculpting, on another, brushes and canvas, or a pen. But we can never use clay on our canvas, nor pens in sculpture. Each day has its own miracle. Accept the blessings, work, and create your minor works of art today. Tomorrow you will receive others.” “You are together because a forest is always stronger than a solitary tree,” the master answered. "The forest conserves humidity, resists the hurricane and helps the soil to be fertile. But what makes a tree strong is its roots. And the roots of a plant cannot help another plant to grow. To be joined together in the same purpose is to allow each person to grow in his own fashion, and that is the path of those who wish to commune with God.” “If you must cry, cry like a child. You were once a child, and one of the first things you learned in life was to cry, because crying is a part of life. Never forget that you are free, and that to show your emotions is not shameful. Scream, sob loudly, make as much noise as you like. Because that is how children cry, and they know the fastest way to put their hearts at ease. Have you ever noticed how children stop crying? They stop because something distracts them. Something calls them to the next adventure. Children stop crying very quickly. And that's how it will be for you. But only if you can cry as children do.” “If you are traveling the road of your dreams, be committed to it. Do not leave an open door to be used as an excuse such as, 'Well, this isn't exactly what I wanted. ' Therein are contained the seeds of defeat. “Walk your path. Even if your steps have to be uncertain, even if you know that you could be doing it better. If you accept your possibilities in the present, there is no doubt that you will improve in the future. But if you deny that you have limitations, you will never be rid of them. “Confront your path with courage, and don't be afraid of the criticism of others. And, above all, don't allow yourself to become paralyzed by self-criticism. “God will be with you on your sleepless nights, and will dry your tears with His love. God is for the valiant.” "Certain things in life simply have to be experienced -and never explained. Love is such a thing." "There is a moment in every day when it is difficult to see clearly: evening time. Light and darkness blend, and nothing is completely clear nor completely dark." "But it's not important what we think, or what we do or what we believe in: each of us will die one day. Better to do as the old Yaqui Indians did: regard death as an advisor. Always ask: 'Since I'm going to die, what should I be doing now?'” "When we follow our dreams, we may give the impression to others that we are miserable and unhappy. But what others think is not important. What is important is the joy in our heart.” “There is a work of art each of us was destined to create. That is the central point of our life, and -no matter how we try to deceive ourselves -we know how important it is to our happiness. Usually, that work of art is covered by years of fears, guilt and indecision. But, if we decide to remove those things that do not belong, if we have no doubt as to our capability, we are capable of going forward with the mission that is our destiny. That is the only way to live with honor.
Paulo Coelho (Maktub)
You can have this, too. Don’t be another heartbreak story. Start putting yourself first—get where you want to be, and make your man be all that he can be. Remember this: the number one cause of failure in this country is the fear of failure. Fear paralyzes you from taking action. Don’t be afraid to lose him, because if a man truly loves you, he’s not going anywhere.
Steve Harvey (Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Expanded Edition: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment)
This state of affairs is known technically as the "double-bind." A person is put in a double-bind by a command or request which contains a concealed contradiction... This is a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't situation which arises constantly in human (and especially family) relations... The social doublebind game can be phrased in several ways:The first rule of this game is that it is not a game. Everyone must play. You must love us. You must go on living. Be yourself, but play a consistent and acceptable role. Control yourself and be natural. Try to be sincere. Essentially, this game is a demand for spontaneous behavior of certain kinds. Living, loving, being natural or sincere—all these are spontaneous forms of behavior: they happen "of themselves" like digesting food or growing hair. As soon as they are forced they acquire that unnatural, contrived, and phony atmosphere which everyone deplores—weak and scentless like forced flowers and tasteless like forced fruit. Life and love generate effort, but effort will not generate them. Faith—in life, in other people, and in oneself—is the attitude of allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time.
Alan W. Watts (The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)
We’ve got to put the fuel in before we can expect heat. Likewise, we’ve got to be of service first before we can expect money. Don’t concern yourself with the money. Be of service. Build. Work. Dream. Create. Do this and you’ll find that there is no limit to the prosperity and abundance that will come to you.
Earl Nightingale (The Strangest Secret)
He endeared himself to me forever the first night we met, when I was getting frustrated with my inability to find the words I wanted in Italian, and he put his hand on my arm and said, "Liz, you must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Make sure the seaweed lies flat.' 'Okay.' 'Leave an inch below the knee.' 'Okay.' 'It's got to be loose enough to put a finger in the top.' 'Sean Kendrick.' I say it emphatically enough that the stallion's ears prick toward me. (...) Sean doesn't appear to be at all apologetic. 'I think you'd better let me do that after all.' 'You're the one who had me in here in the first place.' I say. 'Now I think it's you who doesn't trust me.' 'It's not just you,' He replies. I glower at him. 'Well, I'll tell you what. I'll hold him and you wrap. That way, when it's done wrong, there's only yourself to slap. And take your jacket. I'm tired of holding it.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races)
When you make the decision to start something new, first figure out the jobs you want to do. Then position yourself to play where no one else is playing.
Whitney Johnson (Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work)
You once told me you wanted to find yourself in the world, and I told you to first apply within, to discover the world within you. You once told me you wanted to save the world from all its wars, and I told you to first save yourself from the world, and all the wars you put yourself through. APPLY WITHIN by Suzy Kassem
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.” ― Kevyn Aucoin
Gigi Flower (Dress Up Games: how to be a real princess at your first real prom)
Have you ever watched a baby learning to walk? He totters, arms stretched out to balance himself. He wobbles - and falls, perhaps bumps his nose. Then he puts the palms of his little hands flat on the floor, hikes his rear end up, looks around to see if anybody is watching him. If nobody is, usually he doesn't bother to cry, just precariously balances himself - and tries again. Well, the baby can teach us. What you've undertaken...isn't a state of perfection to be arrived at all of the sudden. It's a WALK, and a walk isn't static but ever-changing. We Friends say that all discouragement is from an evil source and can only end in more evil. Wallowing in self-condemnation or feeling sorry for yourself is worse than falling on your face in the first place. . . So thee is human.
Catherine Marshall (Christy)
We get to the front door and I lean back against it. "Thank you," I repeat. "You'd have done the same for me." Jase puts his thumb under my chin and tips it up. "It's nothing." "Well, except that I can't drive, and you never would have gotten yourself into that situation and---" "Shhh." He pulls on my lower lip gently with his teeth, then fits his mouth to mine. First so careful, and then so deep and deliberate, that I can't think of anything at all but his smooth back under my hands. My fingers travel to the springy-soft texture of his hair, and I lose myself in the movement of his lips and his tongue. I'm so glad I'm still alive to feel all those things.
Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door)
Instead of being groomed for her future husband and/or career, a young lady should be first taught to love herself. I am a firm believer that if you put yourself first and find out who you are as a person, everything else will fall into place. Sadly, that is not what a young lady is taught. We are taught to love others and to put everyone’s needs before our own. We are taught to make sacrifices at an early age to the point where we do not know any better as we age. The edges of our life are rough because we do not know who we are as a person.
Charlena E. Jackson (Unapologetic for My Flaws and All)
Here’s the dead end of social media: after you’ve created your own bubble that reflects only what you relate to or what you identify with, after you’ve blocked and unfollowed people whose opinions and worldview you judge and disagree with, after you’ve created your own little utopia based on your cherished values, then a kind of demented narcissism begins to warp this pretty picture. Not being able or willing to put yourself in someone else’s shoes—to view life differently from how you yourself experience it—is the first step toward being not empathic, and this is why so many progressive movements become as rigid and as authoritarian as the institutions they’re resisting.
Bret Easton Ellis (White)
So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you'd probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you... I don't see an intelligent, confident man... I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart. You're an orphan right? [Will nods] Sean: You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally... I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some fuckin' book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't want to do that do you sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
Robin Williams
1If it frightens you, do it.   2Don't settle. Every time you settle, you get exactly what you settled for.   3Put yourself first.   4No matter what happens, you will handle it.   5Whatever you do, do it 100%.   6If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got.   7You are the only person on this planet responsible for your needs, wants, and happiness.   8Ask for what you want.   9If what you are doing isn't working, try something different. 10Be clear and direct. 11Learn to say "no." 12Don't make excuses. 13If you are an adult, you are old enough to make your own rules. 14Let people help you. 15Be honest with yourself. 16Do not let anyone treat you badly. No one. Ever. 17Remove yourself from a bad situation instead of waiting for the situation to change. 18Don't tolerate the intolerable — ever. 19Stop blaming. Victims never succeed. 20Live with integrity. Decide what feels right to you, then do it. 21Accept the consequences of your actions. 22Be good to yourself. 23Think "abundance." 24Face difficult situations and conflict head on. 25Don't do anything in secret. 26Do it now. 27Be willing to let go of what you have so you can get what you want. 28Have fun. If you are not having fun, something is wrong. 29Give yourself room to fail. There are no mistakes, only learning experiences. 30Control is an illusion. Let go; let life happen. It
Robert A. Glover (No More Mr. Nice Guy)
Count up the almonds, Count what was bitter and kept you waking, Count me in too: I sought your eye when you glanced up and no one would see you, I spun that secret thread Where the dew you mused on Slid down to pitchers Tended by a word that reached no one’s heart. There you first fully entered the name that is yours, you stepped to yourself on steady feet, the hammers swung free in the belfry of your silence, things overheard thrust through to you, what’s dead put it’s arm around you too, and the three of you walked through the evening. Render me bitter. Number me among the almonds
Paul Celan
The idea tells you everything. Lots of times I get ideas, I fall in love with them. Those ones you fall in love with are really special ideas. And, in some ways, I always say, when something's abstract, the abstractions are hard to put into words unless you're a poet. These ideas you somehow know. And cinema is a language that can say abstractions. I love stories, but I love stories that hold abstractions--that can hold abstractions. And cinema can say these difficult-to-say-in-words things. A lot of times, I don't know the meaning of the idea, and it drives me crazy. I think we should know the meaning of the idea. I think about them, and I tell this story about my first feature Eraserhead. I did not know what these things meant to me--really meant. And on that particular film, I started reading the Bible. And I'm reading the Bible, going along, and suddenly--there was a sentence. And I said, forget it! That's it. That's this thing. And so, I should know the meaning for me, but when things get abstract, it does me no good to say what it is. All viewers on the surface are all different. And we see something, and that's another place where intuition kicks in: an inner-knowingness. And so, you see a thing, you think about it, and you feel it, and you go and you sort of know something inside. And you can rely on that. Another thing I say is, if you go--after a film, withholding abstractions--to a coffee place--having coffee with your friends, someone will say something, and immediately you'll say “No, no, no, no, that's not what that was about.” You know? “This is what it was about.” And so many things come out, it's surprising. So you do know. For yourself. And what you know is valid.
David Lynch
Elizabeth studied the blurry tabloid photo, which showed her cousin Mary Stuart leaving a Paris disco at dawn, drunkenly clinging to the arm of a French tennis pro. The message was very clear. Put passion first and you end up neither loved nor respected.
Barbara Taylor Bradford (Being Elizabeth (Ravenscar, #3))
Eat slowly," the blueblood said. "Don't cut your food with the fork. Cut it with the knife, and make the pieces small enough so you can answer a question without having to swallow first." Why me? "Right. Any other tips?" Her sarcasm whistled right over his head. "Yes. Look at me and not at your plate. If you have to look at your plate, glance at it occasionally." Rose put down her fork. "Lord Submarine..." "Camarine." "Whatever." "You can call me Declan." He said it as if granting her a knighthood. The nerve. "Declan, then. How did you spend your day?" He frowned. "It's a simple question: How did you spend your day? What did you do prior to the fight and the pancake making?" "I rested from my journey," he said with a sudden regal air. "You took a nap" "Possibly." "I spent my day scrubbing, vacuuming and dusting ten offices in the Broken. I got there at seven thirty in the morning and left at six. My back hurts, I can still smell bleach on my fingers, and my feet feel as flat as these pancakes. Tomorrow, I have to go back to work, and I want to eat my food in peace and quiet. I have good table manners. They may not be good enough for you, but they're definitely good enough for the Edge, and they are the height of social graces in this house. So please keep your critique to yourself." The look on his face was worth having him under her roof. As if he had gotten slapped. She smiled at him. "Oh and thank you for the pancakes. They are delicious.
Ilona Andrews (On the Edge (The Edge, #1))
I can not remember telling my parents that I was studying classics, they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all the subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard-put to name one less useful in Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys of an executive bathroom. Now I would like to make it clear in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date for blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction. The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I can not criticize my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor. And I quite agree with them, that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty, entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression, It means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is something by which to pride yourself, but poverty itself, is romanticized only by fools. But I feared at your age was not poverty, but failure... Now, I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted, and well educated, that you have never known heartbreak, hardship, or heartache. Talent and intelligence, never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the fates... ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure.
J.K. Rowling (Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination)
When there is no way out, there is still always a way through. So don’t turn away from the pain. Face it. Feel it fully. Feel it — don’t think about it! Express it if necessary, but don’t create a script in your mind around it. Give all your attention to the feeling, not to the person, event, or situation that seems to have caused it. Don’t let the mind use the pain to create a victim identity for yourself out of it. Feeling sorry for yourself and telling others your story will keep you stuck in suffering. Since it is impossible to get away from the feeling, the only possibility of change is to move into it; otherwise, nothing will shift. So give your complete attention to what you feel, and refrain from mentally labeling it. As you go into the feeling, be intensely alert. At first, it may seem like a dark and terrifying place, and when the urge to turn away from it comes, observe it but don’t act on it. Keep putting your attention on the pain, keep feeling the grief, the fear, the dread, the loneliness, whatever it is. Stay alert, stay present — present with your whole Being, with every cell of your body. As you do so, you are bringing a light into this darkness. This is the flame of your consciousness.
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
Anyone and everyone taking a writing class knows that the secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress... Actually, when you think about it, not many novels in the Spare tradition are terribly cheerful. Jokes you can usually pluck out whole, by the roots, so if you're doing some heavy-duty prose-weeding, they're the first to go. And there's some stuff about the whole winnowing process I just don't get. Why does it always stop when the work in question has been reduced to sixty or seventy thousand words--entirely coincidentally, I'm sure, the minimum length for a publishable novel? I'm sure you could get it down to twenty or thirty if you tried hard enough. In fact, why stop at twenty or thirty? Why write at all? Why not just jot the plot and a couple of themes down on the back of an envelope and leave it at that? The truth is, there's nothing very utilitarian about fiction or its creation, and I suspect that people are desperate to make it sound manly, back-breaking labor because it's such a wussy thing to do in the first place. The obsession with austerity is an attempt to compensate, to make writing resemble a real job, like farming, or logging. (It's also why people who work in advertising put in twenty-hour days.) Go on, young writers--treat yourself to a joke, or an adverb! Spoil yourself! Readers won't mind!
Nick Hornby (The Polysyllabic Spree)
In theory, taarof means putting others before yourself. In practice, it means when someone comes to your house, you have to offer them food; but since your guest is supposed to taarof, they have to refuse; and then you, the host, must taarof back, insisting that it's really no trouble at all, and that they absolutely must eat; and so on, until one party gets too bewildered and finally gives in... It's not an American Social Cue. When Mom met Dad's parents for the first time, they offered her a drink, which she politely declined- and that was that. She really did want something to drink, but she didn't know how to go about asking.
Adib Khorram (Darius the Great Is Not Okay (Darius The Great, #1))
Understand that in order for organized religion to succeed, it has to make people believe they need it. In order for people to put faith in something else, they must first lose faith in themselves. So the first task of organized religion is to make you lose faith in yourself. The second task is to make you see that it has the answers you do not. And the third and most important task is to make you accept its answers without question.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
You’re a survivor. Voron put you on the edge of that cliff again and again until he conditioned you to claw onto life. You’ll do whatever you have to do to survive, and I’m your only chance of getting out. At first you’ll balk, but with every passing hour my offer will look better and better. You’ll convince yourself that dying will accomplish nothing and you should at least go out with a bang. You’ll tell yourself that you’re accepting my offer just so you can stick that broken sword into my chest and feel it cut through my heart. Even if you die afterward, the fact that I’ll stop breathing makes your death mean something. So you’ll call me. And you’ll try to kill me. Except you’ve gone three days without food, and that body . . .” He tilted his head and looked me over slowly. “That body burns through calories like fire goes through gasoline. You’re running out of reserves. I can put you down with one hit.” “You’re right about the sword. You broke mine. I owe you one.” He tapped his naked chest over his heart. “This is the spot. Give it a shot, Kate. Let’s see what happens.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels, #7))
As we walked the streets together, cups of bitter coffee warming our hands, the present told its story all around us. The present has no need for us to do anything except exactly what we're doing. It's the past and future that needs our voices in order to live. So as we walked, as you spoke of yourself and your family, as you spoke of your past, I began to think of the future. I began to put us into a story. What happens after that first night is where I live sometimes, when I can gather enough of us together again, and this is how it goes.
Christopher Barzak (The Love We Share Without Knowing)
It is often attempted to palliate slavery by comparing the state of slaves with our poorer countrymen: if the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin; but how this bears on slavery, I cannot see; as well might the use of the thumb-screw be defended in one land, by showing that men in another land suffered from some dreadful disease. Those who look tenderly at the slave owner, and with a cold heart at the slave, never seem to put themselves into the position of the latter; what a cheerless prospect, with not even a hope of change! picture to yourself the chance, ever hanging over you, of your wife and your little children — those objects which nature urges even the slave to call his own — being torn from you and sold like beasts to the first bidder! And these deeds are done and palliated by men, who profess to love their neighbours as themselves, who believe in God, and pray that his Will be done on earth! It makes one's blood boil, yet heart tremble, to think that we Englishmen and our American descendants, with their boastful cry of liberty, have been and are so guilty...
Charles Darwin (Voyage of the Beagle)
Andrew put a thumb to the corner of his mouth and dragged it along his lips to erase his smile. "That sounds like an accusation, but I didn't lie to you." "Omission is the easiest way to lie," Neil said. "You could have corrected me." "Could have, didn't," Andrew said. "Figure it out for yourself." "I did," Neil said. He tapped two fingers to his temple, copying Andrew's mocking salute from their first meeting. "Better luck next time." "Oh," Andrew said. "Oh, you might actually turn out to be interesting. For a little while, at least. I don't think the amusement will last. It never does.
Nora Sakavic (The Foxhole Court (All for the Game, #1))
The purpose of college, to put this all another way, is to turn adolescents into adults. You needn't go to school for that, but if you're going to be there anyway, then that's the most important thing to get accomplished. That is the true education: accept no substitutes. The idea that we should take the first four years of young adulthood and devote them to career preparation alone, neglecting every other part of life, is nothing short of an obscenity. If that's what people had you do, then you were robbed. And if you find yourself to be the same person at the end of college as you were at the beginning - the same beliefs, the same values, the same desires, the same goals for the same reasons - then you did it wrong. Go back and do it again.
William Deresiewicz (Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life)
Incredible how so many people have no sense of honor. How does this happen? This happens by thriving on how one appears to the world around him rather than cultivating a person inside him that he knows is honorable and that he can be proud of. When all the focus is on what people think about you based upon your facebook profile or based upon the exterior that you put on everyday; you leave no room for looking at yourself and saying, "I want to look into the mirror every day and see someone that I can be proud of." And that's what a life of honor is based upon. It is based upon the knowledge that you know your own actions, your own self, and you can see the things that you do and know the things that you think. You answer to yourself, therefore, your standards need to come up to what you expect of yourself. It doesn't matter at all if anybody is looking. When such a sense of honor is present in a large group of people, that's when we see no crime rate or a very low crime rate, respect for other human life and personas, respect for the surroundings and really a respect for oneself. Because a respect for other people can only first be born from a true respect for oneself.
C. JoyBell C.
She reached across the table and squeezed my hand. 'The last time you were here, you were so lost. So . . . well, if you don't mind me saying —' 'Pathetic,' I blurted out. 'Whiny, entitled, selfish. I felt terribly sorry for myself.' Meg nodded along with my words as if listening to her favourite song. 'You still feel sorry for yourself.' 'But now,' Sally said, sitting back again, 'you're more . . . human, I suppose.' There was that word again: human, which not long ago I would have considered a terrible insult. Now, every time I heard it, I thought of Jason Grace's admonition: Remember what it's like to be human. He hadn't meant all the terrible things about being human, of which there were plenty. He'd meant the best things: standing up for a just cause, putting others first, having stubborn faith that you could make a difference, even if it meant you had to die to protect your friends and what you believed in. These were not the kind of feelings that gods had . . . well, ever.
Rick Riordan (The Tower of Nero (The Trials of Apollo, #5))
Tatiana fretted over him before he left as if he were a five-year-old on his first day of school. Shura, don't forget to wear your helmet wherever you go, even if it's just down the trail to the river. Don't forget to bring extra magazines. Look at this combat vest. You can fit more than five hundred rounds. It's unbelievable. Load yourself up with ammo. Bring a few extra cartridges. You don't want to run out. Don't forget to clean your M-16 every day. You don't want your rifle to jam." Tatia, this is the third generation of the M-16. It doesn't jam anymore. The gunpowder doesn't burn as much. The rifle is self-cleaning." When you attach the rocket bandolier, don't tighten it too close to your belt, the friction from bending will chafe you, and then irritation follows, and then infection... ...Bring at least two warning flares for the helicopters. Maybe a smoke bomb, too?" Gee, I hadn't thought of that." Bring your Colt - that's your lucky weapon - bring it, as well as the standard -issue Ruger. Oh, and I have personally organized your medical supplies: lots of bandages, four complete emergency kits, two QuickClots - no I decided three. They're light. I got Helena at PMH to write a prescription for morphine, for penicillin, for -" Alexander put his hand over her mouth. "Tania," he said, "do you want to just go yourself?" When he took the hand away, she said, "Yes." He kissed her. She said, "Spam. Three cans. And keep your canteen always filled with water, in case you can't get to the plasma. It'll help." Yes, Tania" And this cross, right around your neck. Do you remember the prayer of the heart?" Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Good. And the wedding band. Right around your finger. Do you remember the wedding prayer?" Gloria in Excelsis, please just a little more." Very good. Never take off the steel helmet, ever. Promise?" You said that already. But yes, Tania." Do you remember what the most important thing is?" To always wear a condom." She smacked his chest. To stop the bleeding," he said, hugging her. Yes. To stop the bleeding. Everything else they can fix." Yes, Tania.
Paullina Simons (The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3))
What I would say is this: writing poems doesn't make you a poet. … It is only with poetry, for some reason, that everyone wants to believe they can try their hand at it once in a while and be considered, can call themselves a poet. … . It's a craft. It's an art. It's a skill. It is not therapy, and it is not compensation for terrible things in one's life. It is a thing in itself. You devote yourself to being an instrument of it, or you wander forever in the belief that it is a form of "self-expression." … And I explained very clearly my opinion of what I think a poet, an artist is. Someone who puts this thing first.
Franz Wright
I suppose everybody wants to be recognized for what they’ve done; everybody wants to be praised. But doing something good or remarkable isn’t easy. It’s much easier to condemn people who do the wrong thing than it is to do the right thing yourself. But even then, it takes a certain amount of courage to be the first one to come out and blame someone else. What if no one else joins you? No one else stands up to condemn the wrongdoer? On the other hand, it’s easy to join in condemning someone once someone else has gotten the ball rolling. You don’t even have to put yourself out there; all you have to do is say, “Me, too!
Kanae Minato (Confessions)
Sean: …………And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you... I don't see an intelligent, confident man... I see a scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my life apart. You're an orphan right? [Will nods] Sean: You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally... I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't want to do that do you sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
Matt Damon
Dear Deborah, Words do not come easily for so many men. We are taught to be strong, to provide, to put away our emotions. A father can work his way through his days and never see that his years are going by. If I could go back in time, I would say some things to that young father as he holds, somewhat uncertainly, his daughter for the very first time. These are the things I would say: When you hear the first whimper in the night, go to the nursery leaving your wife sleeping. Rock in a chair, walk the floor, sing a lullaby so that she will know a man can be gentle. When Mother is away for the evening, come home from work, do the babysitting. Learn to cook a hotdog or a pot of spaghetti, so that your daughter will know a man can serve another's needs. When she performs in school plays or dances in recitals, arrive early, sit in the front seat, devote your full attention. Clap the loudest, so that she will know a man can have eyes only for her. When she asks for a tree house, don't just build it, but build it with her. Sit high among the branches and talk about clouds, and caterpillars, and leaves. Ask her about her dreams and wait for her answers, so that she will know a man can listen. When you pass by her door as she dresses for a date, tell her she is beautiful. Take her on a date yourself. Open doors, buy flowers, look her in the eye, so that she will know a man can respect her. When she moves away from home, send a card, write a note, call on the phone. If something reminds you of her, take a minute to tell her, so that she will know a man can think of her even when she is away. Tell her you love her, so that she will know a man can say the words. If you hurt her, apologize, so that she will know a man can admit that he's wrong. These seem like such small things, such a fraction of time in the course of two lives. But a thread does not require much space. It can be too fine for the eye to see, yet, it is the very thing that binds, that takes pieces and laces them into a whole. Without it, there are tatters. It is never too late for a man to learn to stitch, to begin mending. These are the things I would tell that young father, if I could. A daughter grown up quickly. There isn't time to waste. I love you, Dad
Lisa Wingate (Dandelion Summer (Blue Sky Hill #4))
Bianca, Since you keep running away from me at school, and, if I remember correctly, the sound of my voice causes you to have suicidal thoughts, I decided a letter might be the best way to tell you how I feel. Just hear me out. I’m not going to deny that you were right. Everything you said the other day was true. But my fear of being alone is not the reason I’m pursuing you. I know how cynical you are, and you’re probably going to come up with some snarky reply when you read this, but the truth is, I’m chasing you because I really think I am falling in love with you. You are the first girl who has ever seen right through me. You’re the only girl who has ever called me on my bullshit. You put me in my place, but, at the same time, you understand me better than anyone ever has. You are the only person brave enough to criticize me. Maybe the only person who looks close enough to find my faults—and, clearly, you’ve found many. I called my parents. They’re coming home this weekend to talk to Amy and me. I was afraid to do this at first, but you inspired me. Without you, I never could have done that. I think about you much more than any self-respecting man would like to admit, and I’m insanely jealous of Tucker—something I never thought I’d say. Moving on after you is impossible. No other girl can keep me on my toes the way you can. No one else makes me WANT to embarrass myself by writing sappy letters like this one. Only you. But I know that I’m right, too. I know you’re in love with me, even if you are dating Tucker. You can lie to yourself if you want, but reality is going to catch up with you. I’ll be waiting when it does… whether you like it or not. Love, Wesley p.s.: I know you’re rolling your eyes right now, but I don’t care. Honestly, it’s always been kind of a turn-on.
Kody Keplinger (The DUFF (Hamilton High, #1))
So you have chosen aloneness. You have chosen the security and the relative freedom of solitude, because there is no risk involved. You can stay up every night and watch your TV shows and eat ice cream out of the box and scroll through your Tumblr and never let your brain sit still, not even for a moment. You can fill your days up with books and coffees and trips to the store where you forget what you wanted the second you walk in the automatic sliding door. You can do so many little, pointless things throughout the day that all you can think of is how badly you want to sleep, how heavy your whole body is, how much your feet hurt. You can wear yourself out again and again on the pavement, and you do, and it feels good. No one will ever bridge that gap and point to your stomach or your hair or your eyes in the mirror and magically make you see the wonderful things about getting to be next to you. And maybe that’s it, after all, this fear that no one will ever truly feel about you the way you want to be felt about. Maybe what you want is someone to make you love yourself, to put sense into all that positive rhetoric, to make it so the aloneness of TV and blasting music in your ears at all times isn’t the most happy place you can think of. Maybe you want someone who makes you so sure of how wonderful things are that you cannot help but to tell them your feelings first, even at the risk of being humiliated. Because you will know that, when you’re telling them you love them, what you’re really saying is “I love who I become when I am with you.
Chelsea Fagan
The parental eye shed no tears when the time for leave-taking came; a half-rouble in copper coins was given to the boy by way of pocket-money and for sweets, and what is more important, the following admonition: "Mind now, Pavlusha, be diligent, don't fool or gad about, and above all please your teachers and superiors. If you please your superiors, then you will be popular and get ahead of everyone even if you lag behind in knowledge and talent. Don't be too friendly with the other boys, they will teach you no good; but if you do make friends, cultivate those who are better off and might be useful. Don't invite or treat anyone, but conduct yourself in such a way as to be treated yourself, and above all, take care of and save your pennies, that is the most reliable of all things. A comrade or friend will cheat you and be the first to put all the blame on you when in a fix, but the pennies won't betray you in any difficulty. With money you can do anything in the world." Having admonished his son thus, the father took leave of him and trundled off home on his 'magpie'. Though from that day the son never set eyes on him more, his words and admonitions had sunk deep into his soul.
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
In a devastating of example critical thinking gone bad, highly educated, deeply caring parents avoid the vaccinations that would protect their children from killer diseases. I love critical thinking and I admire scepticism, but only in a framework that respects evidence. So if you are sceptical about the measles vaccinations, I ask you to do two things. First, make sure you know what it looks like when a child dies of measles. Most children who catch measles recover, but there is still no cure and even with the best modern medicine, one or two in every thousand will die from it. Second, ask yourself, “What kind of evidence would convince me change my mind about vaccination. If the answer is ‘no evidence could ever change my mind about vaccination,” then you are putting yourself outside evidence-based rationality, outside the very critical thinking that first brought you to this point. In that case, to be consistent in your scepticism about science, next time you have an operation please ask your surgeon not to bother washing her hands.
Hans Rosling (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think)
We have time for everything: to sleep, to run from one place to another, to regret having mistaken and to mistake again, to judge the others and to forgive ourselves we have time for reading and writing, for making corrections to our texts, to regret ever having written we have time to make plans and time not to respect them, we have time for ambitions and sicknesses, time to blame the destiny and the details, we have time to watch the clouds, advertisements or some ordinary accident, we have time to chase our wonders away and to postpone the answers, we have time to break a dream to pieces and then to reinvent it, we have time to make friends, to lose friends, we have time to receive lessons and forget them afterwards, we have time to receive gifts and not to understand them. We have time for them all. There is no time for just a bit of tenderness. When we are aware about to do this we die. I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you; All you can do is to be a loved person. the rest … depends on the others. I’ve learned that as much as I care others might not care. I’ve learned that it takes years to earn trust and just a few seconds to lose it. I’ve learned that it does not matter WHAT you have in your life but WHO you have. I’ve learned that your charm is useful for about 15 minutes Afterwards, you should better know something. I’ve learned that no matter how you cut it, everything has two sides! I’ve learned that you should separate from your loved ones with warm words It might be the last time you see them! I’ve learned that you can still continue for a long time after saying you cannot continue anymore I’ve learned that heroes are those who do what they have to do, when they have to do it, regardless the consequences I’ve learned that there are people who love But do not know how to show it ! I’ve learned that when I am upset I have the RIGHT to be upset But not the right to be bad! I’ve learned that real friendship continues to exist despite the distance And this is true also for REAL LOVE !!! I’ve learned that if someone does not love you like you want them to It does not mean that they do not love you with all their heart. I’ve learned that no matter how good of a friend someone is for you that person will hurt you every now and then and that you have to forgive him. I’ve learned that it is not enough to be forgiven by others Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself. I’ve learned that no matter how much you suffer, The world will not stop for your pain. I’ve learned that the past and the circumstances might have an influence on your personality But that YOU are responsible for what you become !!! I’ve learned that if two people have an argument it does not mean that they do not love each other I’ve learned that sometimes you have to put on the first place the person, not the facts I’ve learned that two people can look at the same thing and can see something totally different I’ve learned that regardless the consequences those WHO ARE HONEST with themselves go further in life. I’ve learned that life can be changed in a few hours by people who do not even know you. I’ve learned that even when you think there is nothing more you can give when a friend calls you, you will find the strength to help him. I’ve learned that writing just like talking can ease the pains of the soul ! I’ve learned that those whom you love the most are taken away from you too soon … I’ve learned that it is too difficult to realise where to draw the line between being friendly, not hurting people and supporting your oppinions. I’ve learned to love to be loved.
Octavian Paler
It was unearthly, and the men were--No, they were not inhuman. Well, you know, that was the worst of it--this suspicion of their not being inhuman. It would come slowly to one. They howled, and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity--like yours--the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. Ugly. Yes, it was ugly enough; but if you were man enough you would admit to yourself that there was in you just the faintest trace of a response to the terrible frankness of that noise, a dim suspicion of there being a meaning in it which you--you so remote from the night of first ages--could comprehend. And why not? The mind of man is capable of anything--because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valor, rage--who can tell?--but truth--truth stripped of its cloak of time. Let the fool gape and shudder--the man knows, and can look on without a wink. But he must at least be as much of a man as these on the shore. He must meet that truth with his own true stuff--with his own inborn strength. Principles? Principles won't do. Acquisitions, clothes, pretty rags--rags that would fly off at the first good shake. No; you want a deliberate belief. An appeal to me in this fiendish row--is there? Very well; I hear; I admit, but I have a voice too, and for good or evil mine is the speech that cannot be silenced. Of course, a fool, what with sheer fright and fine sentiments, is always safe. Who's that grunting? You wonder I didn't go ashore for a howl and a dance? Well, no--I didn't. Fine sentiments, you say? Fine sentiments, be hanged! I had no time. I had to mess about with white-lead and strips of woolen blanket helping to put bandages on those leaky steam-pipes--I tell you.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
10 facts about abusive relationships (what i wish i'd known) 1. it's not always loud. it's not always obvious. the poison doesn't always hit you like a gunshot. sometimes, it seeps in quietly, slowly. sometimes, you don't even know it was ever there until months after. 2. love is not draining. love is not tiring. this is not how it is supposed to be. 3. apologies are like band-aids, when what you really need is stitches– they don't actually fix anything long-term. soon enough, you'll be bleeding again, but they will never give you what you really need. 4. this is not your fault. you did not turn them into this. this is how they are, how they've always been. you can't blame yourself. 5. there will be less good days than bad days but the good days will be so amazing that it will feel like everything is better than it actually is. your mind is playing tricks on itself and your heart is trying to convince itself that it made the right choice. 6. they do not love you. they can not love you. this is not love. 7. you're not wrong for wanting to run, so do it. listen to what your gut is telling you. 8. you will let them come back again and again before you realize that they only change long enough for you to let them in one more time. 9. it's okay to be selfish and leave. there is never any crime in putting yourself first. when they tell you otherwise, don't believe them. don't let them tear you down. they want to knock you off your feet so that they can keep you on the ground. 10. after, you will look back on this regretting all the chances given, all the time wasted. you will think about what you know now, and what you would do differently if given the chance. part of you will say that you would never have even given them the time of the day, but another part of you, the larger one, will say that even after everything, you wouldn't have changed a thing. and as much as it will bother you, eventually, you will realize that that is the part that is right. because as much as it hurts, as much as you wish you'd never felt that pain, it has taught you something. it has helped you grow. they brought you something that you would have never gotten from somebody else. at the end of the day, you will accept that even now, you wouldn't go about it differently at all.
Catarine Hancock (how the words come)
How does thought create the experiences of your life? The pineal is the seal of knowing into manifestation. Whatever knowingness you allow yourself to receive will become a reality first in your body, for the pineal is responsible for sending that thought as an electrical current throughout your body, to be registered as emotion. The more unlimited the thought, the greater and faster the frequency that is shot throughout your body; thus the greater the high or rush experienced in your body. That feeling is then recorded and stored in your soul as a given frequency. The feeling of every thought, recorded in your soul, is then put forth into your aura as an expectancy, and that expectancy activates the electromagnetic portion of your light-field to draw to you — much like a magnet — the likeness of whatever your collective-attitude thinking is.
Ramtha (Ramtha - The White Book)
Instructions for Dad. I don't want to go into a fridge at an undertaker's. I want you to keep me at home until the funeral. Please can someone sit with me in case I got lonely? I promise not to scare you. I want to be buried in my butterfly dress, my lilac bra and knicker set and my black zip boots (all still in the suitcase that I packed for Sicily). I also want to wear the bracelet Adam gave me. Don't put make-up on me. It looks stupid on dead people. I do NOT want to be cremated. Cremations pollute the atmosphere with dioxins,k hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. They also have those spooky curtains in crematoriums. I want a biodegradable willow coffin and a woodland burial. The people at the Natural Death Centre helped me pick a site not for from where we live, and they'll help you with all the arrangements. I want a native tree planted on or near my grave. I'd like an oak, but I don't mind a sweet chestnut or even a willow. I want a wooden plaque with my name on. I want wild plants and flowers growing on my grave. I want the service to be simple. Tell Zoey to bring Lauren (if she's born by then). Invite Philippa and her husband Andy (if he wants to come), also James from the hospital (though he might be busy). I don't want anyone who doesn't know my saying anything about me. THe Natural Death Centre people will stay with you, but should also stay out of it. I want the people I love to get up and speak about me, and even if you cry it'll be OK. I want you to say honest things. Say I was a monster if you like, say how I made you all run around after me. If you can think of anything good, say that too! Write it down first, because apparently people often forget what they mean to say at funerals. Don't under any circumstances read that poem by Auden. It's been done to death (ha, ha) and it's too sad. Get someone to read Sonnet 12 by Shakespeare. Music- "Blackbird" by the Beatles. "Plainsong" by The Cure. "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw. "All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands" by Sufian Stevens. There may not be time for all of them, but make sure you play the last one. Zoey helped me choose them and she's got them all on her iPod (it's got speakers if you need to borrow it). Afterwards, go to a pub for lunch. I've got £260 in my savings account and I really want you to use it for that. Really, I mean it-lunch is on me. Make sure you have pudding-sticky toffee, chocolate fudge cake, ice-cream sundae, something really bad for you. Get drunk too if you like (but don't scare Cal). Spend all the money. And after that, when days have gone by, keep an eye out for me. I might write on the steam in the mirror when you're having a bath, or play with the leaves on the apple tree when you're out in the garden. I might slip into a dream. Visit my grave when you can, but don't kick yourself if you can't, or if you move house and it's suddenly too far away. It looks pretty there in the summer (check out the website). You could bring a picnic and sit with me. I'd like that. OK. That's it. I love you. Tessa xxx
Jenny Downham
I’m also really sorry that I’ve been so rude to you. I’m not normally. I don’t know where all the sarcasm comes from.” Ren raised an eyebrow. “Okay. I have a cynical, evil side that is normally hidden. But when I’m under great stress or extremely desperate, it comes out.” He set down my foot, picked up the other one, and began massaging it with his thumbs. He didn’t say anything, so I continued, “Being cold-hearted and nasty was the only thing I could do to push you away. It was kind of a dense mechanism.” “So you admit you were trying to push me away.” “Yes. Of course.” “And it’s because you’re a radish.” Frustrated, I said, “Yes! Now that you’re a man again, you’ll find someone better for you, someone who complements you. It’s not your fault. I mean, you’ve been a tiger so long that you just don’t know how the world works.” “Right. And how does the world work, Kelsey?” I could hear the frustration in his voice but pressed on. “Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but you could be going out with some supermodel-turned-actress. Haven’t you been paying attention?” Angrily, he shouted, “Oh, yes, indeed I am paying attention! What you are saying is that I should be a stuck-up, rich, shallow, libertine who cares only about wealth, power, and bettering my status. That I should date superficial, fickle, pretentious, brainless women who care more about my connections than they do about me. And that I am not wise enough, or up-to-date enough, to know who I want or what I want in life! Does that sum it up?” I squeaked out a small, “Yes.” “You truly feel this way?” I flinched. “Yes.” Ren leaned forward. “Well, you’re wrong, Kelsey. Wrong about yourself and wrong about me!” He was livid. I shifted uncomfortably while he went on. “I know what I want. I’m not operating under any delusions. I’ve studied people from a cage for centuries, and that’s given me ample time to figure out my priorities. From the first moment I saw you, the first time I heard your voice, I knew you were different. You were special. The first time you reached your hand into my cage and touched me, you made me feel alive in a way I’ve never felt before.” “Maybe it’s all just a part of the curse. Did you ever think of that? Maybe these aren’t your true feelings. Maybe you sensed that I was the one to help you, and you’ve somehow misinterpreted your emotions.” “I highly doubt it. I’ve never felt this way about anyone, even before the curse.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
The other day as I was stepping out of Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue with some pork ribs under my arm, the Berkeley sky cloudless, a smell of jasmine in the air, a car driving by with its window rolled down, trailing a sweet ache of the Allman Brothers' "Melissa," it struck me that in order to have reached only the midpoint of my life I will need to live to be 92. That's pretty old. If you live to be ninety-two, you've done well for yourself. I'd like to be optimistic, and I try to take care of my health, but none of my grandparents even made it past 76, three killed by cancer, one by Parkinson's disease. If I live no longer than any of them did, I have at most thirty years left, which puts me around sixty percent of the way through my time. I am comfortable with the idea of mortality, or at least I always have been, up until now. I never felt the need to believe in heaven or an afterlife. It has been decades since I stopped believing-a belief that was never more than fitful and self-serving to begin with-in the possibility of reincarnation of the soul. I'm not totally certain where I stand on the whole "soul" question. Though I certainly feel as if I possess one, I'm inclined to disbelieve in its existence. I can live with that contradiction, as with the knowledge that my time is finite, and growing shorter by the day. It's just that lately, for the first time, that shortening has become perceptible. I can feel each tiny skyward lurch of the balloon as another bag of sand goes over the side of my basket.
Michael Chabon
Problem #3: Goals restrict your happiness. The implicit assumption behind any goal is this: “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy.” The problem with a goals-first mentality is that you’re continually putting happiness off until the next milestone. I’ve slipped into this trap so many times I’ve lost count. For years, happiness was always something for my future self to enjoy. I promised myself that once I gained twenty pounds of muscle or after my business was featured in the New York Times, then I could finally relax. Furthermore, goals create an “either-or” conflict: either you achieve your goal and are successful or you fail and you are a disappointment. You mentally box yourself into a narrow version of happiness. This is misguided. It is unlikely that your actual path through life will match the exact journey you had in mind when you set out. It makes no sense to restrict your satisfaction to one scenario when there are many paths to success. A systems-first mentality provides the antidote. When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running. And a system can be successful in many different forms, not just the one you first envision.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
I saw nothing and heard nothing; near dead I am with a fright I got and with the hardship of the goal. Once men fought with their desires and their fears, with all that they call their sins, unhelped, and their souls became hard and strong. When we have brought back the clean earth and destroyed the law and the church, all life will become like a flame of fire, like a burning eye... Oh, how to find words, for it all... all that is not life will pass away! No man can be alive, and what is paradise but fullness of life, if whatever he sets his hand to in the daylight cannot carry him from exaltation to exaltation, and if he does not rise into the frenzy of contemplation in the night silence. Events that are not begotten in joy are misbegotten and darken the world, and nothing is begotten in joy if the joy of a thousand years has not been crushed into a moment. The soul of man is of the imperishable substance of the stars! The day you go to heaven that you may never come back again alive out of it! But it is not yourself will never hear the saints hammering at their music! It is you will be moving through the ages chains upon you, and you in the form of a dog or a monster! I tell you, that one will go through purgatory as quick as lightning through a thorn bush. It is very queer the world itself is, whatever shape was put upon it at the first!
W.B. Yeats (The Unicorn From The Stars And Other Plays)
If we could see souls instead of bodies, what would be beautiful? What is the first thing people would know about you? What would you be most afraid of them seeing? Who would you impress? Who would you love? What would you adjust as you walked past the mirror? What kind of work would you be in? What would your goals be, how would you strive to be better if what you collected in the bank or put on your body or attached next to your name on a business card no longer affected what people saw? Would you spend your time in gyms and stores or in libraries and temples? Who would you let yourself fall in love with? What would your “type” be? Tall, dark, and handsome or creative, kind, and self-aware? What would happen if we could see people not as “bad,” but as… blocked? If we could see the ways they’ve packed away their pain, or how they hold a belief that keeps them away from being kind to others? What would happen if we realized our bodies never wanted anything more than to feel connected, and acted out on nothing more than their false ideas of being separate, different, exiled, the odd one out, the almost-but-notgood-enough? What would happen if we embraced our desire to play out and finagle with our individualism, but eventually returned to the knowing that we are all just energy fields? And where would we be if we realized that we were all from the same one? What would happen if we realized we really weren’t that different at all?
Brianna Wiest (101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think)
Back out of all this now too much for us, Back in a time made simple by the loss Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather, There is a house that is no more a house Upon a farm that is no more a farm And in a town that is no more a town. The road there, if you’ll let a guide direct you Who only has at heart your getting lost, May seem as if it should have been a quarry— Great monolithic knees the former town Long since gave up pretense of keeping covered. And there’s a story in a book about it: Besides the wear of iron wagon wheels The ledges show lines ruled southeast-northwest, The chisel work of an enormous Glacier That braced his feet against the Arctic Pole. You must not mind a certain coolness from him Still said to haunt this side of Panther Mountain. Nor need you mind the serial ordeal Of being watched from forty cellar holes As if by eye pairs out of forty firkins. As for the woods’ excitement over you That sends light rustle rushes to their leaves, Charge that to upstart inexperience. Where were they all not twenty years ago? They think too much of having shaded out A few old pecker-fretted apple trees. Make yourself up a cheering song of how Someone’s road home from work this once was, Who may be just ahead of you on foot Or creaking with a buggy load of grain. The height of the adventure is the height Of country where two village cultures faded Into each other. Both of them are lost. And if you’re lost enough to find yourself By now, pull in your ladder road behind you And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me. Then make yourself at home. The only field Now left’s no bigger than a harness gall. First there’s the children’s house of make-believe, Some shattered dishes underneath a pine, The playthings in the playhouse of the children. Weep for what little things could make them glad. Then for the house that is no more a house, But only a belilaced cellar hole, Now slowly closing like a dent in dough. This was no playhouse but a house in earnest. Your destination and your destiny’s A brook that was the water of the house, Cold as a spring as yet so near its source, Too lofty and original to rage. (We know the valley streams that when aroused Will leave their tatters hung on barb and thorn.) I have kept hidden in the instep arch Of an old cedar at the waterside A broken drinking goblet like the Grail Under a spell so the wrong ones can’t find it, So can’t get saved, as Saint Mark says they mustn’t. (I stole the goblet from the children’s playhouse.) Here are your waters and your watering place. Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.
Robert Frost
Baby girl, this is your mother. I know I’ve given you explicit instructions to trace this into your yearbook, but they’re my words. That means this is from me, my heart, and my love for you. There’s so many things I want to say to you, things I want you to hear, to know, but let’s start with the reason I’m having you put these words in your senior yearbook. First of all, this book is everything. It may be pictures, some names of people you won’t remember in five years, ten years, or longer, but this book is more important than you can imagine. It’s the first book that’s the culmination of your first chapter in life. You will have many. So many! But this book is the physical manifestation of your first part in life. Keep it. Treasure it. Whether you enjoyed school or not, it’s done. It’s in your past. These were the times you were a part of society from a child to who you are now, a young adult woman. When you leave for college, you’re continuing your education, but you’re moving onto your next chapter in life. The beginning of adulthood. This yearbook is your bridge. Keep this as a memento forever. It sums up who you grew up with. It houses images of the buildings where your mind first began to learn things, where you first began to dream, to set goals, to yearn for the road ahead. It’s so bittersweet, but those memories were your foundation to set you up for who you will become in the future. Whether they brought pain or happiness, it’s important not to forget. From here, you will go on and you will learn the growing pains of becoming an adult. You will refine your dreams. You will set new limits. Change your mind. You will hurt. You will laugh. You will cry, but the most important is that you will grow. Always, always grow, honey. Challenge yourself. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations (BUT BE SAFE!) and push yourself not to think about yourself, your friends, your family, but to think about the world. Think about others. Understand others, and if you can’t understand, then learn more about them. It’s so very important. Once you have the key to understanding why someone else hurts or dreams or survives, then you have ultimate knowledge. You have empathy. Oh, honey. As I’m writing this, I can see you on the couch reading a book. You are so very beautiful, but you are so very humble. You don’t see your beauty, and I want you to see your beauty. Not just physical, but your inner kindness and soul. It’s blinding to me. That’s how truly stunning you are. Never let anyone dim your light. Here are some words I want you to know as you go through the rest of your life: Live. Learn. Love. Laugh. And, honey, know. Just know that I am with you always.
Tijan (Enemies)
Everybody has got to live for something, but Jesus is arguing that, if he is not that thing, it will fail you. First, it will enslave you. Whatever that thing is, you will tell yourself that you have to have it or there is no tomorrow. That means that if anything threatens it, you will become inordinately scared; if anyone blocks it, you will become inordinately angry; and if you fail to achieve it, you will never be able to forgive yourself. But second, if you do achieve it, it will fail to deliver the fulfillment you expected. Let me give you an eloquent contemporary expression of what Jesus is saying. Nobody put this better than the American writer David Foster Wallace. He got to the top of his profession. He was an award-winning, bestselling postmodern novelist known around the world for his boundary-pushing storytelling. He once wrote a sentence that was more than a thousand words long. A few years before the end of his life, he gave a now-famous commencement speech at Kenyon College. He said to the graduating class, Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god . . . to worship . . . is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure, and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before [your loved ones] finally plant you. . . . Worship power, and you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they are evil or sinful; it is that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.4 Wallace was by no means a religious person, but he understood that everyone worships, everyone trusts in something for their salvation, everyone bases their lives on something that requires faith. A couple of years after giving that speech, Wallace killed himself. And this nonreligious man’s parting words to us are pretty terrifying: “Something will eat you alive.” Because even though you might never call it worship, you can be absolutely sure you are worshipping and you are seeking. And Jesus says, “Unless you’re worshipping me, unless I’m the center of your life, unless you’re trying to get your spiritual thirst quenched through me and not through these other things, unless you see that the solution must come inside rather than just pass by outside, then whatever you worship will abandon you in the end.
Timothy J. Keller (Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions)
Leaders instill courage in the hearts of those who follow. This rarely happens through words alone. It generally requires action. It goes back to what we said earlier: Somebody has to go first. By going first, the leader furnishes confidence to those who follow. As a next generation leader, you will be called upon to go first. That will require courage. But in stepping out you will give the gift of courage to those who are watching. What do I believe is impossible to do in my field, but if it could be done would fundamentally change my business? What has been done is safe. But to attempt a solution to a problem that plagues an entire industry - in my case, the local church - requires courage. Unsolved problems are gateways to the future. To those who have the courage to ask the question and the tenacity to hang on until they discover or create an answer belongs the future. Don’t allow the many good opportunities to divert your attention from the one opportunity that has the greatest potential. Learn to say no. There will always be more opportunities than there is time to pursue them. Leaders worth following are willing to face and embrace current reality regardless of how discouraging or embarrassing it might be. It is impossible to generate sustained growth or progress if your plan for the future is not rooted in reality. Be willing to face the truth regardless of how painful it might be. If fear causes you to retreat from your dreams, you will never give the world anything new. it is impossible to lead without a dream. When leaders are no longer willing to dream, it is only a short time before followers are unwilling to follow. Will I allow my fear to bind me to mediocrity? Uncertainty is a permanent part of the leadership landscape. It never goes away. Where there is no uncertainty, there is no longer the need for leadership. The greater the uncertainty, the greater the need for leadership. Your capacity as a leader will be determined by how well you learn to deal with uncertainty. My enemy is not uncertainty. It is not even my responsibility to remove the uncertainty. It is my responsibility to bring clarity into the midst of the uncertainty. As leaders we can afford to be uncertain, but we cannot afford to be unclear. People will follow you in spite of a few bad decisions. People will not follow you if you are unclear in your instruction. As a leader you must develop the elusive skill of leading confidently and purposefully onto uncertain terrain. Next generation leaders must fear a lack of clarity more than a lack of accuracy. The individual in your organization who communicates the clearest vision will often be perceived as the leader. Clarity is perceived as leadership. Uncertainty exposes a lack of knowledge. Pretending exposes a lack of character. Express your uncertainty with confidence. You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. Self-evaluation is helpful, but evaluation from someone else is essential. You need a leadership coach. Great leaders are great learners. God, in His wisdom, has placed men and women around us with the experience and discernment we often lack. Experience alone doesn’t make you better at anything. Evaluated experience is what enables you to improve your performance. As a leader, what you don’t know can hurt you. What you don’t know about yourself can put a lid on your leadership. You owe it to yourself and to those who have chosen to follow you to open the doors to evaluation. Engage a coach. Success doesn’t make anything of consequence easier. Success just raises the stakes. Success brings with it the unanticipated pressure of maintaining success. The more successful you are as a leader, the more difficult this becomes. There is far more pressure at the top of an organization than you might imagine.
Andy Stanley
The answer to that question is…I won’t. You belong with me. Which leads me to the discussion I wanted to have with you.” “Where I belong is for me to decide, and though I may listen to what you have to say, that doesn’t mean I will agree with you.” “Fair enough.” Ren pushed his empty plate to the side. “We have some unfinished business to take care of.” “If you mean the other tasks we have to do, I’m already aware of that.” “I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about us.” “What about us?” I put my hands under the table and wiped my clammy palms on my napkin. “I think there are a few things we’ve left unsaid, and I think it’s time we said them.” “I’m not withholding anything from you, if that’s what you mean.” “You are.” “No. I’m not.” “Are you refusing to acknowledge what has happened between us?” “I’m not refusing anything. Don’t try to put words in my mouth.” “I’m not. I’m simply trying to convince a stubborn woman to admit that she has feelings for me.” “If I did have feelings for you, you’d be the first one to know.” “Are you saying that you don’t feel anything for me?” “That’s not what I’m saying.” “Then what are you saying?” “I’m saying…nothing!” I spluttered. Ren smiled and narrowed his eyes at me. If he kept up this line of questioning, he was bound to catch me in a lie. I’m not a very good liar. He sat back in his chair. “Fine. I’ll let you off the hook for now, but we will talk about this later. Tigers are relentless once they set their minds to something. You don’t be able to evade me forever.” Casually, I replied, “Don’t get your hopes up, Mr. Wonderful. Every hero has his Kryptonite, and you don’t intimidate me.” I twisted my napkin in my lap while he tracked my every move with his probing eyes. I felt stripped down, as if he could see into the very heart of me. When the waitress came back, Ren smiled at her as she offered a smaller menu, probably featuring desserts. She leaned over him while I tapped my strappy shoe in frustration. He listened attentively to her. Then, the two of them laughed again. He spoke quietly, gesturing to me, and she looked my way, giggled, and then cleared all the plates quickly. He pulled out a wallet and handed her a credit card. She put her hand on his arm to ask him another question, and I couldn’t help myself. I kicked him under the table. He didn’t even blink or look at me. He just reached his arm across the table, took my hand in his, and rubbed the back of it absentmindedly with his thumb as he answered her question. It was like my kick was a love tap to him. It only made him happier. When she left, I narrowed my eyes at him and asked, “How did you get that card, and what were you saying to her about me?” “Mr. Kadam gave me the card, and I told her that we would be having our dessert…later.” I laughed facetiously. “You mean you will be having dessert later by yourself this evening because I am done eating with you.” He leaned across the candlelit table and said, “Who said anything about eating, Kelsey?” He must be joking! But he looked completely serious. Great! There go the nervous butterflies again. “Stop looking at me like that.” “Like what?” “Like you’re hunting me. I’m not an antelope.” He laughed. “Ah, but the chase would be exquisite, and you would be a most succulent catch.” “Stop it.” “Am I making you nervous?” “You could say that.” I stood up abruptly as he was signing the receipt and made my way toward the door. He was next to me in an instant. He leaned over. “I’m not letting you escape, remember? Now, behave like a good date and let me walk you home. It’s the least you could do since you wouldn’t talk with me.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
In 90% of cases, you can start with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story. Our brain doesn’t remember what we hear. It remembers only what we “see” or imagine while we listen. You can remember stories. Everything else is quickly forgotten. Smell is the most powerful sense out of 4 to immerse audience members into a scene. Every sentence either helps to drive your point home, or it detracts from clarity. There is no middle point. If you don’t have a foundational phrase in your speech, it means that your message is not clear enough to you, and if it’s not clear to you, there is no way it will be clear to your audience. Share your failures first. Show your audience members that you are not any better, smarter or more talented than they are. You are not an actor, you are a speaker. The main skill of an actor is to play a role; to be someone else. Your main skill as a speaker is to be yourself. People will forgive you for anything except for being boring. Speaking without passion is boring. If you are not excited about what you are talking about, how can you expect your audience to be excited? Never hide behind a lectern or a table. Your audience needs to see 100% of your body. Speak slowly and people will consider you to be a thoughtful and clever person. Leaders don’t talk much, but each word holds a lot of meaning and value. You always speak to only one person. Have a conversation directly with one person, look him or her in the eye. After you have logically completed one idea, which usually is 10-20 seconds, scan the audience and then stop your eyes on another person. Repeat this process again. Cover the entire room with eye contact. When you scan the audience and pick people for eye contact, pick positive people more often. When you pause, your audience thinks about your message and reflects. Pausing builds an audiences’ confidence. If you don’t pause, your audience doesn’t have time to digest what you've told them and hence, they will not remember a word of what you've said. Pause before and after you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. After you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. Speakers use filler words when they don’t know what to say, but they feel uncomfortable with silence. Have you ever seen a speaker who went on stage with a piece of paper and notes? Have you ever been one of these speakers? When people see you with paper in your hands, they instantly think, “This speaker is not sincere. He has a script and will talk according to the script.” The best speeches are not written, they are rewritten. Bad speakers create a 10 minutes speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Great speakers create a 5 minute speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Explain your ideas in a simple manner, so that the average 12-year-old child can understand the concept. Good speakers and experts can always explain the most complex ideas with very simple words. Stories evoke emotions. Factual information conveys logic. Emotions are far more important in a speech than logic. If you're considering whether to use statistics or a story, use a story. PowerPoint is for pictures not for words. Use as few words on the slide as possible. Never learn your speech word for word. Just rehearse it enough times to internalize the flow. If you watch a video of your speech, you can triple the pace of your development as a speaker. Make videos a habit. Meaningless words and clichés neither convey value nor information. Avoid them. Never apologize on stage. If people need to put in a lot of effort to understand you they simply won’t listen. On the other hand if you use very simple language you will connect with the audience and your speech will be remembered.
Andrii Sedniev (Magic of Public Speaking: A Complete System to Become a World Class Speaker)
FatherMichael has entered the room Wildflower: Ah don’t tell me you’re through a divorce yourself Father? SureOne: Don’t be silly Wildflower, have a bit of respect! He’s here for the ceremony. Wildflower: I know that. I was just trying to lighten the atmosphere. FatherMichael: So have the loving couple arrived yet? SureOne: No but it’s customary for the bride to be late. FatherMichael: Well is the groom here? SingleSam has entered the room Wildflower: Here he is now. Hello there SingleSam. I think this is the first time ever that both the bride and groom will have to change their names. SingleSam: Hello all. Buttercup: Where’s the bride? LonelyLady: Probably fixing her makeup. Wildflower: Oh don’t be silly. No one can even see her. LonelyLady: SingleSam can see her. SureOne: She’s not doing her makeup; she’s supposed to keep the groom waiting. SingleSam: No she’s right here on the laptop beside me. She’s just having problems with her password logging in. SureOne: Doomed from the start. Divorced_1 has entered the room Wildflower: Wahoo! Here comes the bride, all dressed in . . . SingleSam: Black. Wildflower: How charming. Buttercup: She’s right to wear black. Divorced_1: What’s wrong with misery guts today? LonelyLady: She found a letter from Alex that was written 12 years ago proclaiming his love for her and she doesn’t know what to do. Divorced_1: Here’s a word of advice. Get over it, he’s married. Now let’s focus the attention on me for a change. SoOverHim has entered the room FatherMichael: OK let’s begin. We are gathered here online today to witness the marriage of SingleSam (soon to be “Sam”) and Divorced_1 (soon to be “Married_1”). SoOverHim: WHAT?? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? THIS IS A MARRIAGE CEREMONY IN A DIVORCED PEOPLE CHAT ROOM?? Wildflower: Uh-oh, looks like we got ourselves a gate crasher here. Excuse me can we see your wedding invite please? Divorced_1: Ha ha. SoOverHim: YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY? YOU PEOPLE MAKE ME SICK, COMING IN HERE AND TRYING TO UPSET OTHERS WHO ARE GENUINELY TROUBLED. Buttercup: Oh we are genuinely troubled alright. And could you please STOP SHOUTING. LonelyLady: You see SoOverHim, this is where SingleSam and Divorced_1 met for the first time. SoOverHim: OH I HAVE SEEN IT ALL NOW! Buttercup: Sshh! SoOverHim: Sorry. Mind if I stick around? Divorced_1: Sure grab a pew; just don’t trip over my train. Wildflower: Ha ha. FatherMichael: OK we should get on with this; I don’t want to be late for my 2 o’clock. First I have to ask, is there anyone in here who thinks there is any reason why these two should not be married? LonelyLady: Yes. SureOne: I could give more than one reason. Buttercup: Hell yes. SoOverHim: DON’T DO IT! FatherMichael: Well I’m afraid this has put me in a very tricky predicament. Divorced_1: Father we are in a divorced chat room, of course they all object to marriage. Can we get on with it? FatherMichael: Certainly. Do you Sam take Penelope to be your lawful wedded wife? SingleSam: I do. FatherMichael: Do you Penelope take Sam to be your lawful wedded husband? Divorced_1: I do (yeah, yeah my name is Penelope). FatherMichael: You have already e-mailed your vows to me so by the online power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride. Now if the witnesses could click on the icon to the right of the screen they will find a form to type their names, addresses, and phone numbers. Once that’s filled in just e-mail it off to me. I’ll be off now. Congratulations again. FatherMichael has left the room Wildflower: Congrats Sam and Penelope! Divorced_1: Thanks girls for being here. SoOverHim: Freaks. SoOverHim has left the room
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
What happened? Stan repeats. To us? To the country? What happened when childhood ends in Dealey Plaza, in Memphis, in the kitchen of the Ambassador, your belief your hope your trust lying in a pool of blood again? Fifty-five thousand of your brothers dead in Vietnam, a million Vietnamese, photos of naked napalmed children running down a dirt road, Kent State, Soviet tanks roll into Prague so you turn on drop out you know you can't reinvent the country but maybe you reimagine yourself you believe you really believe that you can that you can create a world of your own and then you lower that expectation to just a piece of ground to make a stand on but then you learn that piece of ground costs money that you don't have. What happened? Altamont, Charlie Manson, Sharon Tate, Son of Sam, Mark Chapman we saw a dream turn into a nightmare we saw love and peace turn into endless war and violence our idealism into realism our realism into cynicism our cynicism into apathy our apathy into selfishness our selfishness into greed and then greed was good and we Had babies, Ben, we had you and we had hopes but we also had fears we created nests that became bunkers we made our houses baby-safe and we bought car seats and organic apple juice and hired multilingual nannies and paid tuition to private schools out of love but also out of fear. What happened? You start by trying to create a new world and then you find yourself just wanting to add a bottle to your cellar, a few extra feet to the sunroom, you see yourself aging and wonder if you've put enough away for that and suddenly you realize that you're frightened of the years ahead of you what Happened? Watergate Irangate Contragate scandals and corruption all around you and you never think you'll become corrupt but time corrupts you, corrupts as surely as gravity and erosion, wears you down wears you out I think, son, that the country was like that, just tired, just worn out by assassinations, wars, scandals, by Ronald Reagan, Bush the First selling cocaine to fund terrorists, a war to protect cheap gas, Bill Clinton and realpolitik and jism on dresses while insane fanatics plotted and Bush the Second and his handlers, a frat boy run by evil old men and then you turn on the TV one morning and those towers are coming down and the war has come home what Happened? Afghanistan and Iraq the sheer madness the killing the bombing the missiles the death you are back in Vietnam again and I could blame it all on that but at the end of the day at the end of the day we are responsible for ourselves. We got tired, we got old we gave up our dreams we taught ourselves to scorn ourselves to despise our youthful idealism we sold ourselves cheap we aren't Who we wanted to be.
Don Winslow (The Kings of Cool (Savages, #1))
You guys could handle this on your own. Why risk getting kicked out of your He-Man-Monster-Haters Club?" "Because we can't handle this on our own. At least I don't think we can." "You said yourself you already have some Prodigium working with you. Why not go to them?" "We have a handful," he said, frustration creeping into his voice. "And most of them suck. Look, just consider it a peace offering, okay? My way of saying I'm sorry for lying to you. And pulling a knife in your presence, even if it was just to open a damn window to get out before you vaporized me." Most girls got flowers. I got a dirt put used for demon raising. Nice. "Thanks," I replied. "But don't you want in on this?" He looked at me, and not for the first time, I wished his eyes weren't so dark. It would have been nice to have some idea of what was going on in his head. "That's up to you," he said. Mom always liked to say that we hardly ever know the decisions we make that change our lives,mostly because they're little ones. You take this bus instead of that one and end up meeting your soul mate, that kind of thing. But there was no doubt in my mind that this was one of those life-changing moments. Tell Archer no,and I'd never see him again. And Dad and Jenna wouldn't be mad at me, and Cal...Tell Archer yes, and everything suddenly got twistier and more complicated than Mrs. Casnoff's hairdo. And even though I'm a twisty and complicated girl, I knew what my answer had to be. "It's too much of a risk, Cross. Maybe one day when I'm head of the Council, and you're...well, whatever you're going to be for L'Occhio di Dio, we could work on some kind of collaboration." That brought up depressig images of me and Archer sittig across a boardroom table, sketching out battle plans on a whiteboard, so my voice was a little shaky when I continued. "But for now, it's too dangerous." And not just because basically everyone in our lives would want to kill us if they found out, I thought. But because I was pretty sure I was still in love with him, and I thought he might feel something similar for me, and there was no way we could work together preventing the Monster Apocalypse/World War III without that becoming an issue. Not that I could say any of that. Archer's face was blank as he said, "Cool. Got it." "Cross," I started to say, but then his eyes slid past me and went wide with horror. At the same time, I became aware of a slithering noice behind me. That just could not be good; in my experience, nothing pleasant slithers. Still, I was not prepared for the nightmares climbing out of the crater.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
Everything belonged to him--but that was a trifle. The thing was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own. That was the reflection that made you creepy all over. It was impossible--it was not good for one either--trying to imagine. He had taken a high seat amongst the devils of the land--I mean literally. You can't understand. How could you?--with solid pavement under your feet, surrounded by kind neighbors ready to cheer you or to fall on you, stepping delicately between the butcher and the policeman, in the holy terror of scandal and gallows and lunatic asylums--how can you imagine what particular region of the first ages a man's untrammeled feet may take him into by the way of solitude--utter solitude without a policeman--by the way of silence, utter silence, where no warning voice of a kind neighbor can be heard whispering of public opinion? These little things make all the great difference. When they are gone you must fall back upon your own innate strength, upon your own capacity for faithfulness. Of course you may be too much of a fool to go wrong--too dull even to know you are being assaulted by the powers of darkness. I take it, no fool ever made a bargain for his soul with the devil: the fool is too much of a fool, or the devil too much of a devil--I don't know which. Or you may be such a thunderingly exalted creature as to be altogether deaf and blind to anything but heavenly sights and sounds. Then the earth for you is only a standing place -- and whether to be like this is your loss or your gain I won't pretend to say. But most of us are neither one nor the other. The earth for us is a place to live in, where we must put up with sights, with sounds, with smells too, by Jove!-- breathe dead hippo, so to speak, and not be contaminated. And there, don't you see? Your strength comes in, the faith in your ability for the digging of unostentatious holes to bury the stuff in--your power of devotion, not to yourself, but to an obscure, back-breaking business. And that's difficult enough. Mind, I am not trying to excuse or even explain--I am trying to account to myself for--for--Mr. Kurtz--for the shade of Mr. Kurtz. This initiated wraith from the back of Nowhere honored me with its amazing confidence before it vanished altogether. This was because it could speak English to me. The original Kurtz had been educated partly in England, and--as he was good enough to say himself--his sympathies were in the right place. His mother was half-English, his father was half-French. All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
They asked me to tell you what it was like to be twenty and pregnant in 1950 and when you tell your boyfriend you’re pregnant, he tells you about a friend of his in the army whose girl told him she was pregnant, so he got all his buddies to come and say, “We all fucked her, so who knows who the father is?” And he laughs at the good joke…. What was it like, if you were planning to go to graduate school and get a degree and earn a living so you could support yourself and do the work you loved—what it was like to be a senior at Radcliffe and pregnant and if you bore this child, this child which the law demanded you bear and would then call “unlawful,” “illegitimate,” this child whose father denied it … What was it like? […] It’s like this: if I had dropped out of college, thrown away my education, depended on my parents … if I had done all that, which is what the anti-abortion people want me to have done, I would have borne a child for them, … the authorities, the theorists, the fundamentalists; I would have born a child for them, their child. But I would not have born my own first child, or second child, or third child. My children. The life of that fetus would have prevented, would have aborted, three other fetuses … the three wanted children, the three I had with my husband—whom, if I had not aborted the unwanted one, I would never have met … I would have been an “unwed mother” of a three-year-old in California, without work, with half an education, living off her parents…. But it is the children I have to come back to, my children Elisabeth, Caroline, Theodore, my joy, my pride, my loves. If I had not broken the law and aborted that life nobody wanted, they would have been aborted by a cruel, bigoted, and senseless law. They would never have been born. This thought I cannot bear. What was it like, in the Dark Ages when abortion was a crime, for the girl whose dad couldn’t borrow cash, as my dad could? What was it like for the girl who couldn’t even tell her dad, because he would go crazy with shame and rage? Who couldn’t tell her mother? Who had to go alone to that filthy room and put herself body and soul into the hands of a professional criminal? – because that is what every doctor who did an abortion was, whether he was an extortionist or an idealist. You know what it was like for her. You know and I know; that is why we are here. We are not going back to the Dark Ages. We are not going to let anybody in this country have that kind of power over any girl or woman. There are great powers, outside the government and in it, trying to legislate the return of darkness. We are not great powers. But we are the light. Nobody can put us out. May all of you shine very bright and steady, today and always.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Things I've Learned in 18 Years of Life   1) True love is not something found, rather [sic] something encountered. You can’t go out and look for it. The person you marry and the person you love could easily be two different people. So have a beautiful life while waiting for God to bring along your once-in-a-lifetime love. Don't allow yourself to settle for anything less than them. Stop worrying about who you're going to marry because God's already on the front porch watching your grandchildren play.   2) God WILL give you more than you can handle, so you can learn to lean on him in times of need. He won't tempt you more than you can handle, though. So don't lose hope. Hope anchors the soul.   3) Remember who you are and where you came from. Remember that you are not from this earth. You are a child of heaven, you're invaluable, you are beautiful. Carry yourself that way.   4) Don't put your faith in humanity, humanity is inherently flawed. We are all imperfect people created and loved by a perfect God. Perfect. So put your faith in Him.   5) I fail daily, and that is why I succeed.   6) Time passes, and nothing and everything changes. Don't live life half asleep. Don't drag your soul through the days. Feel everything you do. Be there physically and mentally. Do things that make you feel this way as well.   7) Live for beauty. We all need beauty, get it where you can find it. Clothing, paintings, sculptures, music, tattoos, nature, literature, makeup. It's all art and it's what makes us human. Same as feeling the things we do. Stay human.   8) If someone makes you think, keep them. If someone makes you feel, keep them.   9) There is nothing the human brain cannot do. You can change anything about yourself that you want to. Fight for it. It's all a mental game.   10) God didn’t break our chains for us to be bound again. Alcohol, drugs, depression, addiction, toxic relationships, monotony and repetition, they bind us. Break those chains. Destroy your past and give yourself new life like God has given you.   11) This is your life. Your struggle, your happiness, your sorrow, and your success. You do not need to justify yourself to anyone. You owe no one an explanation for the choices that you make and the position you are in. In the same vein, respect yourself by not comparing your journey to anyone else's.   12) There is no wrong way to feel.   13) Knowledge is everywhere, keep your eyes open. Look at how diverse and wonderful this world is. Are you going to miss out on beautiful people, places, experiences, and ideas because you are close-minded? I sure hope not.   14) Selfless actions always benefit you more than the recipient.   15) There is really no room for regret in this life. Everything happens for a reason. If you can't find that reason, accept there is one and move on.   16) There is room, however, for guilt. Resolve everything when it first comes up. That's not only having integrity, but also taking care of your emotional well-being.   17) If the question is ‘Am I strong enough for this?’ The answer is always, ‘Yes, but not on your own.’   18) Mental health and sanity above all.   19) We love because He first loved us. The capacity to love is the ultimate gift, the ultimate passion, euphoria, and satisfaction. We have all of that because He first loved us. If you think about it in those terms, it is easy to love Him. Just by thinking of how much He loves us.   20) From destruction comes creation. Beauty will rise from the ashes.   21) Many things can cause depression. Such as knowing you aren't becoming the person you have the potential to become. Choose happiness and change. The sooner the better, and the easier.   22) Half of happiness is as simple as eating right and exercising. You are one big chemical reaction. So are your emotions. Give your body the right reactants to work with and you'll be satisfied with the products.
Scott Hildreth (Broken People)
Putting It into Practice: Neutralizing Negativity Use the techniques below anytime you’d like to lessen the effects of persistent negative thoughts. As you try each technique, pay attention to which ones work best for you and keep practicing them until they become instinctive. You may also discover some of your own that work just as well. ♦ Don’t assume your thoughts are accurate. Just because your mind comes up with something doesn’t necessarily mean it has any validity. Assume you’re missing a lot of elements, many of which could be positive. ♦ See your thoughts as graffiti on a wall or as little electrical impulses flickering around your brain. ♦ Assign a label to your negative experience: self-criticism, anger, anxiety, etc. Just naming what you are thinking and feeling can help you neutralize it. ♦ Depersonalize the experience. Rather than saying “I’m feeling ashamed,” try “There is shame being felt.” Imagine that you’re a scientist observing a phenomenon: “How interesting, there are self-critical thoughts arising.” ♦ Imagine seeing yourself from afar. Zoom out so far, you can see planet Earth hanging in space. Then zoom in to see your continent, then your country, your city, and finally the room you’re in. See your little self, electrical impulses whizzing across your brain. One little being having a particular experience at this particular moment. ♦ Imagine your mental chatter as coming from a radio; see if you can turn down the volume, or even just put the radio to the side and let it chatter away. ♦ Consider the worst-case outcome for your situation. Realize that whatever it is, you’ll survive. ♦ Think of all the previous times when you felt just like this—that you wouldn’t make it through—and yet clearly you did. We’re learning here to neutralize unhelpful thoughts. We want to avoid falling into the trap of arguing with them or trying to suppress them. This would only make matters worse. Consider this: if I ask you not to think of a white elephant—don’t picture a white elephant at all, please!—what’s the first thing your brain serves up? Right. Saying “No white elephants” leads to troops of white pachyderms marching through your mind. Steven Hayes and his colleagues studied our tendency to dwell on the forbidden by asking participants in controlled research studies to spend just a few minutes not thinking of a yellow jeep. For many people, the forbidden thought arose immediately, and with increasing frequency. For others, even if they were able to suppress the thought for a short period of time, at some point they broke down and yellow-jeep thoughts rose dramatically. Participants reported thinking about yellow jeeps with some frequency for days and sometimes weeks afterward. Because trying to suppress a self-critical thought only makes it more central to your thinking, it’s a far better strategy to simply aim to neutralize it. You’ve taken the first two steps in handling internal negativity: destigmatizing discomfort and neutralizing negativity. The third and final step will help you not just to lessen internal negativity but to actually replace it with a different internal reality.
Olivia Fox Cabane (The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism)
Well,” I said, trying to keep my tone light as I walked over to put my arms around his neck, though I had to stand on my toes to do so. “That wasn’t so bad, was it? You told me something about yourself that I didn’t know before-that you didn’t, er, care for your family, except for your mother. But that didn’t make me hate you…it made me love you a bit more, because now I know we have even more in common.” He stared down at him, a wary look in his eyes. “If you knew the truth,” he said, “you wouldn’t be saying that. You’d be running.” “Where would I go?” I asked, with a laugh I hoped didn’t sound as nervous to him as it did to me. “You bolted all the doors, remember? Now, since you shared something I didn’t know about you, may I share something you don’t know about me?” Those dark eyebrows rose as he pulled me close. “I can’t even begin to imagine what this could be.” “It’s just,” I said, “that I’m a little worried about rushing into this consort thing…especially the cohabitation part.” “Cohabitation?” he echoed. He was clearly unfamiliar with the word. “Cohabitation means living together,” I explained, feeling my cheeks heat up. “Like married people.” “You said last night that these days no one your age thinks of getting married,” he said, holding me even closer and suddenly looking much more eager to stick around for the conversation, even though I heard the marina horn blow again. “And that your father would never approve it. But if you’ve changed your mind, I’m sure I could convince Mr. Smith to perform the ceremony-“ “No,” I said hastily. Of course Mr. Smith was somehow authorized to marry people in the state of Florida. Why not? I decided not to think about that right now, or how John had come across this piece of information. “That isn’t what I meant. My mom would kill me if I got married before I graduated from high school.” Not, of course, that my mom was going to know about any of this. Which was probably just as well, since her head would explode at the idea of my moving in with a guy before I’d even applied to college, let alone at the fact that I most likely wasn’t going to college. Not that there was any school that would have accepted me with my grades, not to mention my disciplinary record. “What I meant was that maybe we should take it more slowly,” I explained. “The past couple years, while all my friends were going out with boys, I was home, trying to figure out how this necklace you gave me worked. I wasn’t exactly dating.” “Pierce,” he said. He wore a slightly quizzical expression on his face. “Is this the thing you think I didn’t know about you? Because for one thing, I do know it, and for another, I don’t understand why you think I’d have a problem with it.” I’d forgotten he’d been born in the eighteen hundreds, when the only time proper ladies and gentlemen ever spent together before they were married was at heavily chaperoned balls…and that for most of the past two centuries, he’d been hanging out in a cemetery. Did he even know that these days, a lot of people hooked up on first dates, or that the average age at which girls-and boys as well-lost their virginity in the United States was seventeen…my age? Apparently not. “What I’m trying to say,” I said, my cheeks burning brighter, “is that I’m not very experienced with men. So this morning when I woke up and found you in bed beside me, while it was really, super nice-don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it very much-it kind of freaked me out. Because I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of thing yet.” Or maybe the problem was that I wasn’t prepared for how ready I was…
Meg Cabot (Underworld (Abandon, #2))
Depression goes through stages, but if left unchecked and not treated, this elevator ride will eventually go all the way to the bottom floor. And finally you find yourself bereft of choices, unable to figure out a way up or out, and pretty soon one overarching impulse begins winning the battle for your mind: “Kill yourself.” And once you get over the shock of those words in your head, the horror of it, it begins to start sounding appealing, even possessing a strange resolve, logic. In fact, it’s the only thing you have left that is logical. It becomes the only road to relief. As if just the planning of it provides the first solace you’ve felt that you can remember. And you become comfortable with it. You begin to plan it and contemplate the details of how best to do it, as if you were planning travel arrangements for a vacation. You just have to get out. O-U-T. You see the white space behind the letter O? You just want to crawl through that O and be out of this inescapable hurt that is this thing they call clinical depression. “How am I going to do this?” becomes the only tape playing. And if you are really, really, really depressed and you’re really there, you’re gonna find a way. I found a way. I had a way. And I did it. I made sure Opal was out of the house and on a business trip. My planning took a few weeks. I knew exactly how I was going to do it: I didn’t want to make too much of a mess. There was gonna be no blood, no drama. There was just going to be, “Now you see me, now you don’t.” That’s what it was going to be. So I did it. And it was over. Or so I thought. About twenty-four hours later I woke up. I was groggy; zoned out to the point at which I couldn’t put a sentence together for the next couple of days. But I was semifunctional, and as these drugs and shit that I took began to wear off slowly but surely, I realized, “Okay, I fucked up. I didn’t make it.” I thought I did all the right stuff, left no room for error, but something happened. And this perfect, flawless plan was thwarted. As if some force rebuked me and said, “Not yet. You’re not going anywhere.” The only reason I could have made it, after the amount of pills and alcohol and shit I took, was that somebody or something decided it wasn’t my time. It certainly wasn’t me making that call. It was something external. And when you’re infused with the presence of this positive external force, which is so much greater than all of your efforts to the contrary, that’s about as empowering a moment as you can have in your life. These days we have a plethora of drugs one can take to ameliorate the intensity of this lack of hope, lack of direction, lack of choice. So fuck it and don’t be embarrassed or feel like you can handle it yourself, because lemme tell ya something: you can’t. Get fuckin’ help. The negative demon is strong, and you may not be as fortunate as I was. My brother wasn’t. For me, despair eventually gave way to resolve, and resolve gave way to hope, and hope gave way to “Holy shit. I feel better than I’ve ever felt right now.” Having actually gone right up to the white light, looked right at it, and some force in the universe turned me around, I found, with apologies to Mr. Dylan, my direction home. I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt. I’m not exaggerating when I say for the next six months I felt like Superman. Like I’m gonna fucking go through walls. That’s how strong I felt. I had this positive force in me. I was saved. I was protected. I was like the only guy who survived and walked away from a major plane crash. I was here to do something big. What started as the darkest moment in my life became this surge of focus, direction, energy, and empowerment.
Ron Perlman (Easy Street: The Hard Way)
What, in fact, do we know about the peak experience? Well, to begin with, we know one thing that puts us several steps ahead of the most penetrating thinkers of the 19th century: that P.E’.s are not a matter of pure good luck or grace. They don’t come and go as they please, leaving ‘this dim, vast vale of tears vacant and desolate’. Like rainbows, peak experiences are governed by definite laws. They are ‘intentional’. And that statement suddenly gains in significance when we remember Thorndike’s discovery that the effect of positive stimuli is far more powerful and far reaching than that of negative stimuli. His first statement of the law of effect was simply that situations that elicit positive reactions tend to produce continuance of positive reactions, while situations that elicit negative or avoidance reactions tend to produce continuance of these. It was later that he came to realise that positive reactions build-up stronger response patterns than negative ones. In other words, positive responses are more intentional than negative ones. Which is another way of saying that if you want a positive reaction (or a peak experience), your best chance of obtaining it is by putting yourself into an active, purposive frame of mind. The opposite of the peak experience—sudden depression, fatigue, even the ‘panic fear’ that swept William James to the edge of insanity—is the outcome of passivity. This cannot be overemphasised. Depression—or neurosis—need not have a positive cause (childhood traumas, etc.). It is the natural outcome of negative passivity. The peak experience is the outcome of an intentional attitude. ‘Feedback’ from my activities depends upon the degree of deliberately calculated purpose I put into them, not upon some occult law connected with the activity itself. . . . A healthy, perfectly adjusted human being would slide smoothly into gear, perform whatever has to be done with perfect economy of energy, then recover lost energy in a state of serene relaxation. Most human beings are not healthy or well adjusted. Their activity is full of strain and nervous tension, and their relaxation hovers on the edge of anxiety. They fail to put enough effort—enough seriousness—into their activity, and they fail to withdraw enough effort from their relaxation. Moods of serenity descend upon them—if at all—by chance; perhaps after some crisis, or in peaceful surroundings with pleasant associations. Their main trouble is that they have no idea of what can be achieved by a certain kind of mental effort. And this is perhaps the place to point out that although mystical contemplation is as old as religion, it is only in the past two centuries that it has played a major role in European culture. It was the group of writers we call the romantics who discovered that a man contemplating a waterfall or a mountain peak can suddenly feel ‘godlike’, as if the soul had expanded. The world is seen from a ‘bird’s eye view’ instead of a worm’s eye view: there is a sense of power, detachment, serenity. The romantics—Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, Goethe, Schiller—were the first to raise the question of whether there are ‘higher ceilings of human nature’. But, lacking the concepts for analysing the problem, they left it unsolved. And the romantics in general accepted that the ‘godlike moments’ cannot be sustained, and certainly cannot be re-created at will. This produced the climate of despair that has continued down to our own time. (The major writers of the 20th century—Proust, Eliot, Joyce, Musil—are direct descendants of the romantics, as Edmund Wilson pointed out in Axel’s Castle.) Thus it can be seen that Maslow’s importance extends far beyond the field of psychology. William James had asserted that ‘mystical’ experiences are not mystical at all, but are a perfectly normal potential of human consciousness; but there is no mention of such experiences in Principles of Psychology (or only in passing).
Colin Wilson (New Pathways in Psychology: Maslow & the Post-Freudian Revolution)