Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady of the thirty-second president Franklin Roosevelt, was an outspoken, admired leader who made lasting change to the welfare of humanity. She fought for the rights of workers, children, women, the oppressed and poor. Helping to found the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and establish the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Eleanor, as most would agree, was a great humanitarian. She led a purposeful life, persevering for the causes she believed in and driven to make a difference for those in need.
Here are 10 inspiring quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt:
1. Do what scares you: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
What scares you? We tend to stay in our comfort zones, where we could be challenging ourselves more. Whatever it is that scares you like public speaking, having the hard talk with a friend, making an appointment to see a counselor, or taking the leap into entrepreneurship, make a list of these things that scare you. You can now challenge yourself to do one of these things every day, or however often you can, building up to more frequently. You will be so proud of the action you took to achieve what you fear most.
2. Be mindful of your reaction: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Has someone ever talked to you in a way that made you feel inadequate? We’ve all felt this way at one time or another in life. A good friend may have criticized you out of jealously or hurt, and you took it to heart, leaving you feeling deflated. But to remember that we always have a choice in how we react to whatever someone says to us, is vital to our confidence and belief in ourselves.
3. Follow your heart: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”
Imagine being the first lady and always being under the microscope for what you do and don’t do. For Eleanor to follow her heart knowing that criticism would be strong no matter what, was a testament to her personal strength and determination to do what was good for the nation. Something bigger than ourselves awaits our attention.
4. Do the thing you think you cannot do: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Can you think of a time you looked fear in the face and said, you know what, I’m going to do it anyway, and then felt so good that you pushed through it? This is an ongoing challenge in life, moving past our fears to get to the other side, a side that means we grew personally, while building that courage muscle. Think about the one thing that you think you cannot do and really question whether or not your self-imposed limitations may be stopping you.
5. Truth and honesty prevail: “No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.”
We remember people who wear their hearts on their sleeves, who tell it like it is and are refreshingly truthful about what they see and say. The most beautiful woman can turn ugly by her lack of character and self-centered ways. On the flip side, a plain and ordinary looking woman turns beautiful because of her intelligence, fun-loving spirit and compassion towards others.
6. A rich life is a purposeful one: “I consider those are rich who are doing something they feel worthwhile and which they enjoy doing.”
To be rich, and not in the monetary sense, is to do something worthwhile and enjoyable at the same time. Can life get any better? Sometimes we can spend our whole lives looking for the one thing that will bring us that deep sense of fulfillment and joy. And it’s never too late to find what moves your soul.
7. Believe in your dreams: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Dreams are there so that we can look to the future with hope and desire for what life can bring us, if we choose to persevere towards our goals. If you have a dream that has been on the back burner of your life, make it a priority somehow. Like Buddha said, “The trouble is, we think we have more time.” How do you want to spend your time every day in this one short life?
8. Experience is priceless: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Nothing can replace the value of our experiences. With experience, we are taught valuable lessons that we can teach our children and others. They can learn from our mistakes, and we all live a full and engaged life. Strive to have more experiences by seeking out new things to try.
9. Don’t let what others think hold you back: “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
We may be so worried about what others think that it prevents us from taking action on something we want, or being who we truly are. Most people aren’t even paying attention to what we are doing and may even be downright not interested. Next time you catch yourself worried about being judged, think about how it might be compromising your happiness.
10. Tomorrow’s a new day: “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”
Each day brings another chance for us to make change. If we are unhappy with our lives, we can wake up and choose to change our perspective and strive to make a better, happier life for ourselves. Sometimes we need to know that we did the best we could today and tomorrow is a new day, a fresh start and chance to do better.
Photo Credit: biographyonline.net
What’s your favorite quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, and why does it resonate with you? Leave us your thoughts below. We’d love to hear from you!