Life Advice From 10 Smart Humans


Humans are complicated, and so is life. Sometimes, a few sage words from someone who knows what’s up can help turn everything around. So! Here’s a collection of mostly wise, sometimes funny thoughts from 10 smart people…

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Maya Angelou

“The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked… that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”
Neil Gaiman

“Don’t try to win over the haters. You are not a jackass whisperer.”
Brené Brown

“I see people my age… getting married to people they’ve known for like a year and a half. A year and a half? Is that enough time to get to know someone to know you want to spend the REST of your life with them? I’ve had sweaters for a year and a half and I was like ‘What the fuck was I doing with this sweater?’”
Aziz Ansari

“Deep breaths are very helpful at shallow parties.”
Barbara Walters

“My husband likes to say that the work is probably evenly split if both partners feel like they are doing upward of 60 percent of the work, since a lot of what one partner does is necessarily invisible to the other partner. If you feel like you are doing half, you’re not.”
Rebecca Rosen

“There is hardly a more gracious gift that we can offer somebody than to accept them fully, to love them almost despite themselves.”
Elizabeth Gilbert

“Someday, sometime, you will be sitting somewhere. A berm overlooking a pond in Vermont. The lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. A seat on the subway. And something bad will have happened: You will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something at which you badly wanted to succeed. And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for some core to sustain you. And if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be. I don’t want anyone I know to take that terrible chance. And the only way to avoid it is to listen to that small voice inside you that tells you to make mischief, to have fun, to be contrarian, to go another way. George Eliot wrote, ‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’ It is never too early, either.”
Anna Quindlen

“Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived… Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.”
Anne Lamott

“Sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched.”
Mindy Kaling

What are your favorite words of advice? We’d love to hear…

P.S. 15 career tips from smart women, and what’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever read?

(Photo of Greta Garbo in 1926 with Leo, the MGM lion, by Don Gillum)

  1. Anita says...

    “Living well is the best revenge.”

  2. Boon Tarkas says...

    That picture is awesome. I’d call it, ‘Why Women are Better than Men”
    Women roll a shoulder, men…they probably would’ve killed it and made a silly blanket.

  3. J says...

    Love this post :)

  4. I love these. The jackass whisperer one has been over my desk for years.

  5. Ah I love all of them. Most of all the one about sweater made me LOL!

    • Julie chambers says...

      Loved the sweater…. I married my ex husband after 14 months of meeting him wished I had seen that before

  6. LOVE these. And totally off topic but that is one of my favorite photos ever. (I’m a huge Garbo fan. )

  7. Kirsten Foster says...

    I love this! I keep a document of inspiring quotes and whenever I feel down I read the document. It is an instant boost of confidence and a source of inspiration.

  8. Saira says...

    If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
    -Wayne Dyer

  9. despina says...

    “The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid” by Author unknown

    (We are Paris; yesterday, today and always)

    Love, peace and solidarity

  10. Haha putting on lipgloss and pretending to be psyched.. Ain’t that the truth sometimes!!

    Nat Lewis
    Rocky Mountain Decals – Cute Wall Decals for kids, home and office!

  11. joanna says...

    I love the brene brown quote. That is perfect. I am not a jackass whisperer.

  12. Ahhhh Aziz is killing it. Love.

  13. Jo says...

    Ack. I stand corrected… Thanks, Caroline!!!!!

  14. Jo says...

    Thank you for this great post, Joanna!

    My favorite (one that I shall tell my boys when they’re a weeny bit older ;-) is:

    “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
    – Motto Of The Special Olympics

  15. Judith says...

    Maya Angelou: If you don’t like something, change it. And if you can’t change it, change your attitude. very wise advice.

  16. CN says...

    I absolutely love your site! …and you have outdone yourself with this post!

  17. This is why I constantly come back to Cup of Jo. I’m going to feature this in next week’s Worthy Reads. Thanks for doing what you do!

  18. I love quotes. Please do more of these posts. That is all.

  19. natalia says...

    its very funny to find someone to quotes Pepe Mujica!! :D I mean i am from uruguay, anyway I think he was quoting Albert Eintein
    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

  20. Kayie says...

    “Behind all this, some great happiness is hiding.”

  21. My dad always says “you have to break eggs to make an omelette.” A good reminder that worthwhile things take investment. I’m in the process of building a small business, and my husband and I have to remind ourselves that we’re in the “egg breaking” stage right now, and (hopefully) an omelette will follow eventually!

  22. I love these, especially the Neil Gamain and Aziz Ansari quotes as I hadn’t heard those before. Thank you.

    Elizabeth Gilbert just posted this David Whyte quote to Facebook and I loved it:

    “When life does not in any way add up, we must turn to the part of us that has never wanted a life of simple calculation…Solace is not an evasion, nor cure for our suffering…. Solace is not meant to be an answer, but an invitation through the door of pain and difficulty, to the depths of suffering and simultaneous beauty in the world that the strategic mind by itself cannot grasp of nor make sense of… To look for solace is to learn to ask fiercer and more exquisitely pointed questions, questions that reshape our identities and our bodies and our relation to others. Standing in loss but not overwhelmed by it, we become useful and generous and compassionate and even amusing companions for others. But solace also asks us very direct and forceful questions. Firstly, how will you bear the inevitable that is coming to you? And how will you endure it through the years? And above all, how will you shape a life equal to and as beautiful and as astonishing as a world that can birth you, bring you into the light, and then, just as you were beginning to understand it, take you away?”

    For whatever reason the line, “to look for solace is to learn to ask fiercer and more exquisitely pointed questions” keeps coming into my head over and over again.

    Also, in keeping with the creative dynamo that is Elizabeth Gilbert, here is another one of hers from Eat, Pray, Love:

    “Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.”

    And lastly, a poem :)

    Tell Me

    Tell me who you are,
    and what brings you here.
    What story breaks with the waves
    against your shore?
    What storm deposits shells and stones
    and jelly-fish
    on the soft sand of your being?

    In the dark night of your soul,
    What whispers to you on the tide?
    When the gulls cry to you at daybreak,
    what does your heart answer?

    What piece of driftwood do you cling to,
    bobbing on the swells, and
    How do you imagine the raft or boat
    you hope will rescue you,

    I wonder,
    will you listen
    when I invite you,
    Dive in, and sink.
    You will not drown
    You were born

    Sandra Belfiore

    • Bethany says...

      This poem really speaks to me, 6:30 in the morning, sun rising, four fat cats snuggling next to me during my reading time, but so unhappy with my work and afraid to make a change because we have one child going off to school next year and one graduated lovely and creative child back home, jobless and uncertain about what to do and where to go. Time for us all to jump in. Thank you!

  23. Trish says...

    I married my husband after a year of knowing him! I love my husband and I really like him! Love is love. Why waste time! We have three children and feel blessed everyday. As far as quotes this has always stuck with me:
    My mother always told me ‘If you meet more than one a**hole in a day maybe you are the *******’. Just some good ol’ mom advice:)

  24. Deleila says...

    “Sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched.”
    —Mindy Kaling
    I’m pretty sure I said something like that this morning before work! I love Mindy!

  25. Stephanie says...

    ‘If you want to change things, you can’t keep doing the same thing’ – Jose Mujica. I love this for its simplicity and truth.

  26. “Deep breaths are very helpful at shallow parties.” Made me laugh because it’s so true! Holiday parties, here we come!

  27. Laura says...

    My favorite Pinterest quote is, “Mother Teresa didn’t go around complaining about her thighs. She had shit to do.”
    I think of that whenever I’m feeling down about something trivial and I think, “ok Laura, no one but you cares about this. Get over yourself and do something productive.”

    • Christine says...

      i like this.

    • Yes to this!

    • Theresa says...

      I love this!

    • Molly says...

      Buah ha ha. What a good reminder.

  28. Geny says...

    The problem is, you think you have time.


  29. tyler says...

    HA! Mindy Kaling’s quote sums up my life.

  30. Peggy says...

    Lovely collection of quotes! Thanks. But…I can’t take my eyes off the picture posted with them. There must be a great story there! ;->

  31. Brian says...

    “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill.

  32. katrina says...

    In the Mindy Kahling vein, my cousin used to say, ” You may as well put on some heels and lipstick, and give people something hot to look at!” :) She always looked good, and I smile whenever I think of her and that quote. She died 2 years ago, at 28 years old.

  33. I love Berné Brown! What a fabulous collection of quotes!! “Deep breaths are very helpful at shallow parties.” might be helpful as holiday party season rolls around…!


  34. Kim says...

    From Lorrie Moore’s Self Help (one of my favorites, it’s a collection of short stories basically guaranteed to speak to your soul):

    “When she was first practicing law, to combat her courtroom stage fright, she would chant to herself, Everybody loves me. Everybody loves me, and when that didn’t work, she’d switch to Kill! Kill! Kill!”

    Always helps get through a workday.

    Also, “bitch you better get stronger” from RuPaul. Always knows what to say.

  35. Cait says...

    Elizabeth Taylor: “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”

  36. After years of giving myself the hardest time when I failed, I started realizing that it didn’t matter so much a month later, then a year later, then 5 years later. In fact, those times I failed and eventually picked myself up helped me grow more wholly than any instant success. When I fail now as I still often do, I ask myself, “will this really matter in a year?” and I learn to let go of the self-kicking much faster.

    Kensley at Hot Mess Mamas

  37. Anna says...

    My favorites come from Joseph Campbell:

    “As you go the way of life you will come to a great chasm. Jump. It is not as far as you think.”

    “The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for.”

    • Saira says...

      Thank you!

  38. Amber says...

    My grandmother used to always tell us, “If you’ve got one thing going your way, you’re doing pretty good. Appreciate that. You can’t have everything”. She used to tell us this when we were upset over our parents not letting us do something we thought at the time was important, but her advice still rings true for me in adulthood as well. We get too caught up in what’s going wrong sometimes to see what is going right.

  39. have you ever read Cheryl Strayed? she is amazing, her book, Tiny Beautifful Things from her advice column Dear Sugar completely broke my heart, striped me down and then built me back up again.
    these passages spoke to me:

    because in your twenties you’re becoming who you’re going to be and so you might as well not be an asshole. also, because it’s harder to be magnanimous when you’re in your twenties, i think, so that’s why i’d like to remind you of it. you’re generally less humble in that decade than you’ll ever be and this lack of humility is oddly mixed with insecurity and uncertainty and fear. you will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. be a warrior for love.

    ​you don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. you don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. you don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards.

    • I love Cheryl Strayed’s work.

  40. Anne says...

    My grandfather often told me, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” He used it in all contexts– never mind if there wasn’t any bastardly thing going on!

  41. Trust yourself!

  42. Lisa says...

    Great post!

  43. alanah r says...

    Thomas Merton said, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can”.

  44. Sara Hummer says...

    “There is a time in life when you expect the world to be always full of new things. And then comes a day when you realize that is not how it will be at all. You see that life will become a thing made of holes. Absences. Losses. Things that were there and are no longer. And you realize, too, that you have to grow around and between the gaps, though you can put your hand out to where things were and feel that tense, shining dullness of the space where the memories are.”
    Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk

    This whole book is amazing and had me weeping with the recognition of all I wished I could say many times.

  45. Raeleen Redzuan says...

    Joanna, your site has just elevated my spirits almost everyday for 4 years now. So grateful to you.

  46. Trena says...

    This is one of my favorites:

    “Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.” ~Saint Teresa of Avila

  47. Laura says...

    I just read salt. by Nayyirah Waheed and her poems are all I can think about lately. I sent this to a recently dumped friend:

    you haven’t felt yet.
    give them time.
    they are almost here.

    – fresh

    • Meg says...


  48. Rachel says...

    These are all great!! One of my favorite quotes/mantras is “it’s okay to not be okay.” I like remembering that sometimes I just need to ask for help, a hug, or whatever it is that will help me get through a moment in my life. I can’t always be “fine” – life is tough and you can take it day by day, minute by minute if needed.

  49. Rue says...

    Ohh, as someone sprinting towards the finish line of a PhD (with a breakup just a few months behind me), I’m taking such comfort scrolling through all of these. Thank you!

    I keep Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” as an open tab on my phone’s browser, and I repeat “you do not have to be good” to myself in my head. It’s such a powerful reminder, especially for women raised to be overachieving good girls (raises hand high).

    I also have a notebook that I keep at my desk at work where I write down the aphorisms that will help keep me going, and when I start to panic I flip to that page and scan til the right quote catches my eye. Everything from “write first” to times colleagues have told me I’m doing good work to “there is no ‘far enough,’ you just are where you are” to “eff it and keep going.”

    • Kristina says...

      Rue, I am right there with you (though the finish line is still a few months away, I am beginning to see it in the distance)! I also have my trusty notebook of quotes nearby when I am writing. Keep going, you’re doing amazing! xo Kristina

    • Rue says...

      Thanks Kristina! I’m a few months away too, we can be internet PhD-finishing buddies. I know you’ve got it in you, too!

  50. Keri says...

    My favorite quote is from my dear now late mom, “When in doubt, choose people. When in doubt, choose grace.”

  51. Caz says...

    These are great! Two of my favourites are:

    “A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company.” – Charles Evans Hughes

    “If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?” – Shantideva

  52. I really enjoyed this article, on a sad and mopey day here in England. Thank you xx

  53. Mjm says...

    A wise person told me when catching me grumping about life, “it’s better than a stick in the eye” and you know whatever is going on it is better than a stick in the eye.

  54. Anna says...

    Principles are like prayers- noble, of course, but awkward at a party. (c) Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham

  55. abbie says...

    Do one thing everyday that scares you.
    -Eleanor Roosevelt

    I interpret that as not something that is necessarily “scary”. But something you may not be 100%comfortable with. Trying a new yoga class, waking over to a group of moms you don’t know at the play ground and introducing yourself, wearing that bright red lipstick!

  56. Maaike says...

    I love these! One of my favourites is by Nora Ephron: “Above all, always be the heroine of your life, not the victim”

    Or this quote by Isak Dinesen: “The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea.”

  57. Two of my favourite quotes:
    “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
    C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

    “Trying to scratch the moon, he ended up scratching his own heart”
    Federico García Lorca

  58. I loved this post and there are so many inspirational quotes in the comments!
    From my high school agenda (a million years ago):
    “Always behave like a duck- keep calm and unruffled on the surface, but paddle like the devil underneath.”

  59. Anna says...

    I really needed the quote comparing a quick marriage to an old sweater. I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 6 months now and to me we’re moving pretty quickly and are serious about each other, sometimes I might wish we were moving faster but I’m an impatient soul so that’s just me getting ahead of myself. But I’ve had some comments from people that have married after knowing each other for just about 6 months or people that move in together after 1 month that say that “when it’s right it’s right and you just know it” and it makes me crazy! Sometimes I think our world is moving way too fast and nobody takes the time to actually get to know each other and enjoy one another before hurrying on to the next step (or what they think is the next step). I love that this quote puts it into perspective because God knows I have a bunch of sweaters and dresses and shoes in my closet from 1,5-2 years ago that still make me think “really!? You thought that was cute!!?” ? I do not want my future husband to join the club in a couple of years ?

  60. I just remembered another one from an Australian TV show called SeaChange that I love. There is a scene where a character who has always been risk averse decides to head out on a boat he has made himself into the ocean. His girlfriend says to this guy, Kevin:

    ‘The distance between how a person lives, and how they dream of living, is a vast and frightening ocean. You are not like other people. You are about to set sail’.

  61. Anja says...

    I saw a quote on a Facebook meme recently which really rang true for me after being let down badly by someone I thought I was close to:

    “Don’t make someone a priority in your life, when you are just an option in theirs”

    My wonderful and spunky 95 year old grandmother has always said:

    “What others think of me is none of my business”

    I love this, she’s such an independent lady and I admire the way she has followed her own path without fear of judgement from others. Great post!

  62. This is the best post for a day when I’m feeling a little directionless and worried about the future. When I feel low I sometimes tell myself these two quotes, the first is from that movie The Help, where the maid tells the little girl:

    ‘You is smart. You is kind. You is important’

    And I also love this one from Marianne Williamson:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

  63. Jenny Leigh says...

    “There are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings.” ―Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    “So, what if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.” rainbow rowell

    “Sacrifice is often perceived as the antidote to happiness. But it really makes no difference. Happiness is a self-imposed creation, which is why there are miserable billionaires and grateful poor people. It doesn’t matter how amazing your life is. It matters how well you can convince yourself of this, even if you are a few fries short.”

    “It is always a good idea to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”

  64. “To laugh is to risk playing the fool… risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing… only a person who risks is free.” -unknown
    I read this on the back of a university business card during the optimistic recruitment phase. I didn’t select the uni but the words have endured.

  65. Anna Quindlen! How is she so wise? Thanks for the excellent list :)

  66. Mandy says...

    “Perfection is the enemy of progress.” — my Head of School

  67. Cindy says...

    “Don’t judge. It paints a target on your own back.”

  68. Mac says...

    “Get up, dress up, show up.” That sentence basically got me through college.

  69. Sarah says...

    “Never make someone a priority when you’re just an option to them.”

  70. michaela says...

    I loved reading the comments as much as I enjoyed the article. A favorite of mine to add:

    “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. ”

    – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  71. Lesley says...

    Love these!
    This is the best one I’ve read of late. From Ask Polly – NYmag

    There is no magical, perfect version of you waiting in the future. You are here. This is all you have. Live exactly the way you want to live, starting right now.

    • Sylvia says...

      Love this.

    • LOVE this!!!

  72. Alex says...

    I turn to this Winnie the Pooh quote so often when I’m feeling overwhelmed or inadequate or scared:

    “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
    ― A.A. Milne

  73. “We can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive-There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them”-George Eliot

    And when Im struggling to feel happy in this world, as it is, I remind myself…

    “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”- Jiddu Krishanamurti

    • These are perfect.

  74. Wherever you are, be all there.
    -Jim Elliot

    Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?
    -Mary Oliver

    No matter what, nobody can take away the dances you’ve already had.
    -Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.
    -Zora Neale Hurston

    And finally, (author unknown)

    “Shake the goddamn frost from your ankles, and run.”

  75. Jess says...

    “Be a student, not a critic”
    — Andy Stanley
    In the era of online shaming and comparison this rings so true for me. Learn why someone makes the choices they do instead of criticizing them.

  76. winnie says...

    Be crazu. be stupid, be silly, be weird, be whatever, because life is too short to be anything but happy…
    (not sure from who though)

  77. These are all wonderful. A few more…

    “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates (?)

    “Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” David G. Allen

    “There are years that ask questions and years that answer,” said Zora Neale Hurston in Their Eyes Were Watching God.

  78. And also:

    “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” -Mary Oliver

    Basically everything she’s written, but that idea about attention has been particularly central for me lately.

  79. “It’s all so meaningless, we might as well be extraordinary.”
    -Francis Bacon

  80. “You don’t get to decide the truth. Other people have their own experiences, just as valid. This is easy to forget. Your slice of life seems so large and unmistakeable, but it is your job to not confuse your small piece for the whole. Life is big—much bigger than just yours. This is the only note to self: other people are real. That’s all there is to learn. “- Frank Chimero

    Essential wisdom.

    Also, my grandmother always reminded us, “this too shall pass” that bittersweet answer to everything. She also said, “take it all lightly, laugh, if you lose your sense of humor you’re lost.” There was a strength and resilience to her that inspired such a light hearted approach to life, and I always aim for that.

  81. Kash says...

    Ooh, these are all great. That Brene Brown quotation is AMAZING.

    My favourite piece of advice I think about a lot is from when I worked at a non-profit for a few years–a woman who had worked there for decades told me “You can’t force your way into someone else’s life. They have to invite you in.”

    such good advice for how i try to build my relationships with people :)

    • Lisa says...

      This one is the best :)

  82. Amy says...

    So many amazing quotes from so many of my favourites, thank you! I laughed at Brene Brown’s quote. SO awesome.

  83. Catie says...

    Oh my. From a woman who cried publicly in three different locations today — thank you, thank you!

    • Corina says...

      You are a brave, wonderful woman. I am sure! my heart is with you!

  84. Lauren says...

    My life mentor once said to me, “remember that authenticity doesn’t mean full disclosure.” It’s so simple, yet so profound.

  85. Whenever I struggle to grow my business, or begin to doubt myself to the point of doubting my work, these have helped:

    “Advertising is the tax you pay for NOT being remarkable.”

    “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

    …and this quick soundbite by Ira Glass always encourages me to keep creating

    Much love to all of you <3

  86. Love love love every one of these!

  87. Liza says...

    My favorite quote, which I remind myself of every few months:

    “Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.” -Bradley Whitford

  88. laeti says...

    In moments of doubt and fear, my mom (who is always right!) always says: ” The worst is never a certain thing”, and it’s helped me several time when my mind was rushing to the worst possible scenario.

  89. May says...

    Complain less, enjoy life more….unless you see an iceberg.

  90. Jenny says...

    My favorite quote/ life advice is from the poem Wild Geese by Mary Oliver:
    “You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.”

    • this is really lovely, thank you.

  91. This is just what I needed to read today – thanks so much for posting! What a great collection of quotes – the one from Brené Brown makes me even more obsessed with her :)

  92. Blaire says...

    I was happy to discover this quote in college – it sums up my experience perfectly: “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” -T.S. Elliot

    • Kara says...

      thank you for this :)
      (current college student here!)

  93. Teree says...

    ‘Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business.’

    I love this and need to remind myself of it constantly.

  94. I really enjoyed these!

    One personal favorite is “want nothing, and you will have everything” – Meher Baba

  95. Wow these all should be on a tee shirt (I’m sure they probably are).
    Lately Brené Brown is really speaking to me. Just today I wrote down these two quotes…

    “Vulnerability is the best measure of courage”


    “We are the authors of our lives… showing up is our power”

  96. Oh the Elizabeth Gilbert and Anne Lamott quotes hit me right at the core. Thank you for these lovely bits of wisdom today.

  97. Great post, I love the one by Aziz Ansari about marriage and sweaters since that really hits home for me right now. My mantra lately has been “It is what it is.” It really helps me move on and forward.

  98. Alice Quin says...

    Love this round up. The aziz quote made me laugh out loud. Thanks Caroline!

  99. Georgia says...

    Mine is from my favorite writer, Tom Waits: “Life’s so different than it is in your dreams.” It always gives me perspective; I tend toward the bittersweet. I also often recite, “She lost her equilibrium, her car keys, and her pride.” That about sums up every bad day.

  100. I’m a writer, after read this post, i just know there is so many things I have to learn from you about how to touch someone humanity, this post is a gold, thanks caroline

  101. Great quotes! And awesome picture!!
    Thanks for the great post(s). I love cup of jo. So real.

    Some words i appreciate(i don’t know if there is an “author” of this phrase?): “The constant in life is change”
    It often comes to my mind lately and with it a rich picture of water, a river where I /we are held by the water and swimming like colorful fishes..
    It is such a comforting picture in my mind. while i really hated change in the past i realize now how organic and beautiful it can be…

    love from vienna,


  102. Rhianna says...

    “What’s comin’ will come an’ we’ll meet it when it does.” – Hagrid (or JK Rowling ;)

    • THIS! Good one.

    • Sara Hummer says...

      This quote has helped me through some very hard times.

  103. Egle says...

    i live by “it’s better to regret what you’ve done than what you haven’t.” so far all risks/changes to which nervously said yes worked absolutely fine!

  104. Jessica says...

    “Be excellent to each other!”
    -Bill S. Preston, Esquire (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, ha!)

    “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one”
    -Dolly Parton

    • Joana says...

      Jessica, you’re awesome.

  105. Lucy says...

    Ellen DeGeneres always ends her show with “be kind to one another.” I think the advice of “be kind” is simple yet very powerful knowing the hate and judgement people display to each other. This also makes me think of the quote (which I think has been shared in Joanna’s post before) that states “be kind for everyone you know is fighting a hard battle.”

    • Kato says...

      Yes I completely agree on this. Kindness really goes a long way. I love the quote from the book “we were liars” by E. Lockhart: be a little kinder than you have to. (In my head for some reason I always add: and a little braver than you have been. Don’t think that’ from the book though..)
      Caroline I love this post, thank you!

  106. “We’re all a little weird, and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up wiht them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” -Dr. Seuss

    “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” -Mark Twain

    “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” -Oscar Wilde

    • Neena says...

      Thank you for sharing the Dr. Seuss-quote. We’re going through a rough patch, I needed that reminder of how wonderfully weird we are together.

  107. Tori says...

    I love this, Joanna. Exactly what I needed to hear today. Especially the Anna Quindlen passage. Loved your newsletter too! Hugs from California.

  108. Tyler K. says...

    HAHA! Love the “do not try to win over the haters. you are not a jackass whisperer” quote!! It could not have come at a more appropriate time than today. :)

    My favorite quote is by Anais Nin: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” It’s helped me leap through some scary life choices!

    • I love this one…proven true time and time again :)

  109. Jackie says...

    My absolute favorite quote is from Audre Lorde: “When I dare to be powerful- to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

  110. I can especially relate to the Elizabeth Gilbert quote. I absolutely adored Eat Pray Love, in fact it is probably one of my favourite books ever. And the movie is great as well! Anyway, it’s a story very dear to my heart and she is so easy to relate to, such an inspirational character.

  111. Jasna says...

    “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end”

    ““It’s impossible,” said pride. “It’s risky,” said experience. “It’s pointless,”said reason. “Give it a try,” said the heart.”

    “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

  112. Lauren E. says...

    One time I knew I was about to be broken up with, and a very wise friend said to me:

    “Be you. You are enough and you are not too much.”

    I now tell myself this on a regular basis in a variety of situations :)

  113. Mary says...

    My aunt used to say “too soon old, too late smart”.

    • Katy says...

      Love this.

  114. Becky Nam says...

    People grow when they are loved well. If you want to help others heal, love them without an agenda.

    • So great!

  115. Jessica says...

    I’ve always loved this one:

    “Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” – Cecil Beaton

  116. Kay says...

    My favourite quote is from The Gathering by Anne Enright. Stops me worrying about who I do (or don’t ) love.
    ‘I want to tell my daughters this, that each time you fall in love it is important, even at nineteen. Especially at nineteen. And if you can, at nineteen, count the people you love on one hand, you will not, at forty, have run out of fingers on the other. There are so few people given us to love and they all stick.’

  117. ashley b says...

    gah the first one is so true! i am so over giving people the “benefit of the doubt” and someday will learn to strike it from my life completely….

  118. Great quotes, thanks for sharing. I especially love the Anne Lamott quotes: the one shared by your first commenter (Lindsey), and the one about clutter.

    “Life is not perfect; it never will be. You just have to make the very best of it and you have to open your heart to what the world can show you. Sometimes it’s terrifying and sometimes it’s incredibly beautiful. And I’ll take both, thanks.”

    ~Graham Nash

  119. Lindsay says...

    Wonderful post!

    From St. Therese of Lisieux (via Gretchen Rubin) – “It is not enough to love. We must prove it.” Always reminds me that love is a verb.

    Not sure of the source of these, but love them:

    “You do not have to set yourself on fire to keep somebody else warm.” Helps remind me of my boundaries.

    “We live the given life, not the planned.” ‘Nuff said.

    • Lea says...

      “Love is a verb” – what a great reminder!

  120. Megan says...

    I love how a good quote or idea can really help remind me what matters sometimes. This is the one I’ve been clinging to lately:

    “So, what if, instead of thinking about solving you whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.”

    ― Rainbow Rowell, Attachments

  121. My Instagram account has a few of these.

    First up, my favorite…

    ” I was a wonderful parent before I had children” – Adele Faber –

    This one is a good one too…

    ” He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right.” – Confucius –

    One more…

    ” I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt is another step forward” – Thomas A. Edison –

    Thank you Caroline! Loved all the advice from humans ❤️

    @eclecticalu ( Instagram ) :)

  122. From the great Robert Frost: “The best way out is always through.”

  123. belen says...

    Right now I have in my wall two things that make me feel strong, “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor” and “growing up is learning to say goodbye”. This year there has been a lot of change in my life and even if it’s for the better it can still be tough at times, this quotes make me feel a bit stronger when i’m down.

  124. I’m crying just a little bit. This was what I needed today. Thank you. xo

  125. Esther says...

    “The bravest love we have is wildly faithful and it falls hard again every morning…it knows what we seek may be found in what we already have…it’s grace and fresh gratitude can make us strong enough to marvel in the seeming monotony of everything…and the happily married have eyes that look long enough to make the familiar new.” -Ann Vonskamp

    • Angela says...

      Beautiful- love this!

    • Megan says...

      I just read this and had a moment of instant realization! Thank you for posting this Esther, I feel like it was for me :)

    • Love this too. Such a beautiful perspective!

  126. Mallory Schulte says...

    “Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.”
    ― Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

    If someone has not read When Women Were Birds, they should make it a priority. Beautiful, transformative, and short.

    • ashley b says...

      noted! thanks mallory!

  127. Ann says...

    “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” -Bob Marley

  128. Also, this quote always inspires me to live a rad life! Go Abe :)

    “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

  129. Katy says...

    These are great.

    A saying that is very well known (I think), but I try to think about often: “The traits we tend to dislike in others are usually the traits we do not like about ourselves.”

    Can’t wait to read others’ comments….

  130. What a great mix! Have to say, anything Elizabeth Gilbert says is gold. Just love her.

  131. Lindsey says...

    My favorite is from Anne Lamott as well. I wish I could bake her a cake for saying this:
    “Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

    Reminds me to keep my focus on warm pools and oceans, not jiggly thighs.

    • Lilly says...


    • Alex says...

      Great reminder :)