Gun violence across the nation. War overseas. In these times distressing events can be as near as the closest TV or newspaper. The images and scenes which lately have become so broadly commonplace in the news can take us on a descending spiral past surprise, anger, and fear, toward grief and inaction. What sense can we make of these emotions, and how can we process what we need to move forward?
One especially useful, but often-overlooked tool is the short quote. Memorable, powerful, and succinct quotes from some of the greatest thinkers of all times offer just the right words for understanding and navigating our emotions — especially when we’re at a loss for words ourselves.
I’ve spent several years researching the greatest short quotes and insights of all time, from a thousand leading thinkers across nearly three millennia of world history. I’ve curated many of the most memorable of them in my book Emotional Shorthand: 2500 Greatest Self-Help Quotes and Life Insights. Here are a dozen inspiring quotes that can help us find greater peace of mind in these times by understanding the complexities of the anger, fear, and grief which today’s events might evoke:
“An angry man rarely speaks the truth.” –Old Proverb
“Any person capable of angering you becomes your master.” — Epictetus, crippled slave-turned-Stoic philosopher
“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but it is really fear.” — Mahatma Gandhi, Non-violent activist: Revered as the Father of India
”Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.” — German Proverb
“Fear is showing you there is something you are not familiar with.” — Aaron Doughty, Creator, Expand Your Awareness
“The enemy is noise. The goal is clarity.” — Jon Stewart, Writer, political commentator, former host of The Daily Show
“Name it to tame it.” — Daniel J. Siegel, MD, UCLA Professor and Best-Selling Author
“Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.” — Sir Winston Churchill
“When grief is deepest, words are fewest.” — Ann Voskamp, NYT Best-Selling Author
“Your grief is as unique as your fingerprint. The six stages of grief are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance, and Finding Meaning.” — David Kessler, Author and Grief Expert
“Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life.” — Ann Roiphe, Writer and Journalist
“But it is a blessed provision of times like these, as soon as a man’s mercury has gotten down to a certain point, there comes a revulsion and he rallies.” — Mark Twain, Novelist and the Father of American Literature
Quotes Inspire Us
These are just a few of thousands of quotes filled with wisdom and practical insights about every-day emotions from anger to anxiety, disappointment to determination, guilt to gratitude, and wonder to wisdom. Thanks to the great thinkers and professionals who have observed the human condition both past and present — including Aristotle and Shakespeare, Twain and Einstein, Carl Jung, Bessel Van Der Kolk, Brene Brown, Daniel Goleman, Stanley Porges, Eckhart Tolle, and hundreds more — these quotes are available to anyone seeking answers and solutions. They offer valuable experience, encouragement, and insights at life’s turning points to all of us today.
This guest post was authored by D. Earl Johnston
D. Earl Johnston, a former world champion sailor, is a writer, researcher, and public speaker with deep interests in understanding emotions and behavior. Formerly one of the youngest bank presidents in U.S. history, as well as one of the ‘Founding Fathers’ of Platinum Equity, LLC, the largest private company in Los Angeles, he is currently CEO of a nationwide financial litigation consultancy. He has written extensively on domestic finance and international economics for publications including Law360, Legaltech News, Thomson Reuters and Advisor Magazine.
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