12 Smart Women on Becoming the Person You're Meant to Be

I love when magazine tag lines promise to help me discover “who I’m meant to be.” Am I not already that person? How does one go about doing this? Could there be a less scientific pursuit? Regardless, there are times when we could all use a little bit of encouragement. So! Here’s a round-up of words uplifting, witty and wise, courtesy of 12 amazing women…

“Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”
Susan Sontag

“I began to understand that all of life is practice: writing, driving, hiking, brushing teeth, packing lunch boxes, making beds, cooking dinner, making love, walking dogs, even sleeping. We are always practicing. Only practicing.”
Dani Shapiro

“If you are gracious, you have won the game.”
Stevie Nicks

“It’s interesting how we often can’t see the ways in which we are being strong — like, you can’t be aware of what you’re doing that’s tough and brave at the time that you’re doing it because if you knew that it was brave, then you’d be scared.”
Lena Dunham

“To me it is really important to live in what I call the spaces in-between. Bus stations, trains, taxis or waiting rooms in airports are the best places because you are open to destiny, you are open to everything and anything can happen.”
Marina Abramović

“I cured myself of shyness when it finally occurred to me that people didn’t think about me half as much as I gave them credit for. The truth was, nobody gave a damn. Like most teenagers, I was far too self-centered. When I stopped being prisoner to what I worried was others’ opinions of me, I became more confident and free.”
Lucille Ball

“The most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself.”
Diane von Furstenberg

“There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.”
Nikki Giovanni

“Think of yourself like a captain, and you’ve got this little boat. And sometimes the weather’s good, and you’re just sailing, and sometimes big storms hit, and you know, you’re in a stormy sea, but just ride it out, ride it out. Because it’s good to be alive.”
Patti Smith

“Once we give up searching for approval, we often find it easier to earn respect.”
Gloria Steinem

“People think you have to know what you want to do with your life by the time you’re 19. Wrong! Or that you have to be in a significant relationship in your twenties. Wrong! It’s all just nonsense.”
Tilda Swinton

“You must not quote to me what I once said. I am wiser now.”
Romy Schneider

Do you have any quotes to add to this list? What are your words to live by?

P.S. Funny life advice and 15 women share their best career tips.

(Photo of Nikki Giovanni in 1968 via Pictorial Parade Pictures.)