80+ Quotes for Resilience in the Face of Adversity

Living Collection of Resilience Quotes Em Capito, LCSW

Living Collection of Resilience Quotes Em Capito, LCSWA living collection of quotes, wisdom and inspiration – for when we need it most.

We are never alone in the midst of crisis or breakdown. Many have walked through the dark night of the soul ahead of us, and shared their insight, perspective or greater understanding as beacons of hope as we find our own way.

Receive a new quote, article, and opportunities to take action in my weekly Resilience digest every Friday.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

“How do I want the world to be different because I lived in it? How do I want to be different because I lived in this world?”

– Martha Beck

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.​”

– Rilke

“It seems as if the right words can come only out of the perfect space of a place you love.”

– Ellen Meloy, The Anthropology of Turquoise

“To love is not about merging. It is a noble calling for the individual to ripen, to differentiate, to become a world in oneself in response to another.”

– Rilke

“The attempt to escape from pain, is what creates more pain.”

– Gabor Maté

“When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it.”

– Charles de Lint

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

– Maya Angelou

“…in every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

– John Muir, Steep Trails

“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”

– Maya Angelou

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

“The sort of fearless openness required to turn toward our suffering is only possible within the spacious receptivity of love.”

– Frank Ostaseski

“Surrender is like a fish finding the current and going with it.”

– Mark Nepo

“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”

— John Lennon

“It’s like going into a very cold lake… You put your foot in, you take it out… It’s still too cold. You think, ‘Am I gonna do this or not? No? Yes. No. Yes.’ That goes on for a while. And then you, if you’re going to do it, you run in screaming.”

– Margaret Atwood

“Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are. You have been stony for too many years. Try something different. Surrender.”

– Rumi

“Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows.”

– Native American Proverb

“Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where…This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.”

– John Muir

“Manifesting is not about attracting what you want, but an awareness and understanding that you attract what you are.”

– Anneke Sips

“Simplicity affords you the time to seek renewed meaning in an oft-neglected commodity that can’t be bought at any price: life itself.”

– Rolf Potts

“Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is like a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

– Karl Menniger

“The magic moment is the moment when a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ can change our whole existence.”

– Paulo Coelho

“The sort of fearless openness required to turn toward our suffering is only possible within the spacious receptivity of love.”

– Frank Ostaseski

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

– Haruki Murakami

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” 

– Carl Rogers

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” 

– Janet Fitch

“Seek the wisdom that will untie your knot. Seek the path that demands your whole being.”

– Rumi

“Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.”

– Pema Chödrön

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”

– Joseph Campbell

“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There is a phenomenon called Trail Magic…which holds that often when things look darkest some little piece of serendipity comes along to put you back on a heavenly plane.”

– Bill Bryson

“Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with them.”

– Candace Bushnell, via Carrie Bradshaw

“A rose in the desert can only survive on its strength, not its beauty.”

– Matshona Dhliwayo

“She seemed to belong to that pagan, primitive kingdom of birds and forests where everything was infinitely abundant, wild, blooming, and royal in its perpetual decay, death, and rebirth.”

– Jerzy Kosinski, The Painted Bird

“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.”

– Albert Einstein

“Do as little as needed, not as much as possible.”

– Henk Kraaijenhof

“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.”

– Joseph Campbell

“The boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom.” 

– Tara Brach

“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” 

– Thich Nhat Hanh

“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”

– James Baldwin

“A relationship where you can be weird together is your best choice.”

– Paulo Coelho

“If there is a feeling that something has been lost, it may be because much has not yet been used, much is still to be found and begun.”

– Muriel Rukeyser

“In any moment, no matter how lost we feel, we can take refuge in presence and love.”

– Tara Brach

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”

– J. B. Priestley

“Grace is not opposed to effort; it’s opposed to earning.”

– Dallas Willard

“The triumph of love is in the courage and integrity with which we inhabit the transcendent transience that binds two people for the time it binds them, before letting go with equal courage and integrity.” 

– Maria Popova

“Hope, but never expect. Look forward, but never wait.”

– Unknown

“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.”

– Khalil Gibran

“Afraid is a country where they issue us passports at birth and hope we never seek citizenship in any other country…I need to travel light and fast, and there’s a lot of baggage I’m going to have to leave behind me. Jettison cargo.”

– Audre Lorde

“… this is why you’re here. It’s supposed to be hard.”

– Emily Harrington en route to the top of El Capitan

“Pray, but beware your desires, whether or not you achieve them will determine who you become.”

– Octavia Butler

“It is your resistance to ‘what is’ that causes your suffering.”

– Buddha

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

“Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything.”

– George Lois

“Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen.”

– Minor White

“I was told I wasn’t good enough, but I just chose not to listen.”

– Khalid

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

“There is no certainty; there is only adventure.” 

– Roberto Assagioli

“Let’s get a little crazy here.” 

– Bob Ross

“Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

– Joseph Campbell

“Wherever you are is the entry point.​”

– Kabir, a 15th-century Sufi and Brahmin saint​

“Acceptance of one’s life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes and injustices.”

– Paul Tournier​, a Swiss author and physician (1898-1986)

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”

– J.B. Priestley, a British novelist, playwright, and essayist (1894-1984)

“And one has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.”

– Paulo Coelho

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.​”

– Joseph Campbell, American professor of comparative mythology and creator of the Hero’s Journey framework (1904-1987)

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.”

– Edward Abbey​, American author and environmental advocate

“Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.”

– Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati​​, a spiritual teacher and author​

“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality.​”

– Admiral James Stockdale​, the most senior naval officer held in North Vietnam​ as a prisoner of war for more than seven years

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

– John Muir, quoted by Samuel Hall Young in Alaska Days with John Muir (1915)

“Close friendships are one of life’s miracles – that a few people get to know you deeply, all your messy or shadowy stuff along with the beauty and sweetness, and they still love you.”

– Anne Lamott, author

“Every day of our lives, we are on the verge of making those slight changes that would make all the difference.”

– Mignon McLaughlin, journalist, writer and self-proclaimed neurotic (1913-1983)

“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at anytime and be yourself.”

– Hermann Hesse​, Swiss poet, novelist, and painter​ (1877-1962)

“The zest and vitality of goal directed activities, the sweat of hard work and the joy of success, the excitement and satisfaction of engaging in intimate relationships, and the many personal experiences that give color, texture, and richness to the tapestry of life are the raw materials for present meaning. We create meaning through choices and actions as we move through life, but we also discover meaning from many ‘happenings’ that come our way each day.”​

– Gary T Reker and Paul T P Wong

“…after tragedies, one has to invent a new world, knit it or embroider, make it up. It’s not gonna be given to you because you deserve it; it doesn’t work that way. You have to imagine something that doesn’t exist and dig a cave into the future and demand space. It’s a territorial hope affair. At the time, that digging is utopian, but in the future, it will become your reality.”​


“Thoughts just appear. They come out of nothing and go back to nothing, like clouds moving across the empty sky. They come to pass, not to stay. There is no harm in them until we attach to them as if they were true.”

– Byron Katie in Loving What Is

“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the side to come?”

– Rumi

“Happy are those who sing with all their heart, from the bottoms of their hearts. To find joy in the sky, the trees, the flowers. There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

– Henri Matisse, as translated by Sophie Hawkes

“One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”

– Helen Keller

“The dynamic of friendship is almost always underestimated as a constant force in human life: a diminishing circle of friends is the first terrible diagnostic of a life in deep trouble: of overwork, of too much emphasis on a professional identity, of forgetting who will be there when our armored personalities run into the inevitable natural disasters and vulnerabilities found in even the most average existence…

…but no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self; the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.”

– David Whyte from Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

Free resources and support, every Friday: