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Meaningful quotes to inspire and strengthen your life.

Updated on August 14, 2012

The resonance of meaningful quotes.

For many years now I have collected quotes that have moved me; quotes that I try to weave into my everyday life. These are not always the commonplace quotes regularly bandied about on the internet, though some of them may be very familiar to many of us.

The quotations I have chosen so carefully to accompany me through my life are not always inspirational and are very rarely religious but they have resonated so deeply within me, for unknown reasons, that I have needed to keep them stored safely away to read and reread. In this way I have always hoped, ultimately, to absorb their wisdom and ideas.

Although these quotations have a deeply personal significance to me, being as they are, by long association, embedded in my heart and mind, I am sharing them with you in the hopes that you too will find them as meaningful, beautiful and useful as I have found them.

What were the dreams that ran 'through and through' Emily Bronte's mind?The ones that inspired 'Wuthering Heights' perhaps.
What were the dreams that ran 'through and through' Emily Bronte's mind?The ones that inspired 'Wuthering Heights' perhaps. | Source
Goethe: German writer and philosopher. He was also an artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath.
Goethe: German writer and philosopher. He was also an artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. | Source
A hidden quote about brotherly love and angels.
A hidden quote about brotherly love and angels. | Source
"Do not distress yourself with imaginings' The Desiderata
"Do not distress yourself with imaginings' The Desiderata | Source
A meaningful phrase carved in slate.
A meaningful phrase carved in slate. | Source

Quotations are ideas ...

One of the first quotes I collected, which inspired pictures in my mind just as dreams did in hers, was by Emily Bronte:

I have dreamed in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

This was not the only quotation about dreams that I hoarded as I also kept the following by W.B Yeats:

I have spread my dreams under your feet – Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

In Yeats' case it seems obvious to me that he means his aspirations, his goals and he is asking us to be understanding of them. It is a plea to us to be kind, to be gentle with his hopes. With Emily's dreams we cannot be sure if they are the dreams of sleep or the daydreams that she and her siblings had to such great effect.

Although there is a difference in the meaning of dreams in these two examples, I still felt an affinity with them. I was drawn to their words and ideas a long time ago and they have stayed with me.

The motivation quotation.

The quotation about 'Commitment' has caused much controversy in its attribution, an argument that still rages even on the internet. I have always liked the idea of it belonging to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer and philosopher of the 18th and early 19th century.

I have lived for so long with this quote at the back of my consciousness and it has spurred me on to achieve so many of my goals that I believe it now to be part of of my DNA. So, if I were to pick one quotation that gives me constant support it is this one:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves too.

For me, being a new Age unreconstructed hippy, I interpret 'Providence' as 'The Universe' and I am always keenly aware when the Universe tinkers with my life and sends things my way. I am also aware that it is I who must make the first move to start the whole thing into action.

Once I do, once I take that leap of faith that sets things in motion, it is like stepping on the roller-skate of life. Things gather pace and life is never the same again ... but only if I start it.

It is not quite 'Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it' as I have found that merely wishing does not make things happen for me. Only positive action towards my chosen goal prompts the Universe to support me.

The spiritual quotation.

This is a quotation I discovered carved into a slate plaque half-hidden beneath a creeping plant on a wall in the garden of a tiny holiday cottage I rented in Pembrokeshire. Taken with the spirituality of both the message and the owner of the cottage how could it do anything other than start a lasting friendship:

Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Hebrews 13:1-2

I think it is interesting that this Biblical quotation has also been claimed by Islam and I would love to believe that there is some form of cross-pollination of ideas going on between the two religions.

The comfort quotation.

There are many quotations written about death. When I needed it this offering, taken from Kahlil Gibran's 'The Prophet', gave me the most comfort:

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun?

And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

The thought of slowly dissolving and becoming one with the wind and the sun caught my imagination and it was possible to believe in something other than the cold earth and the relentlessly fading memory of a dead love.

Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931) indeed had such a way with ideas and articulated them so well that he has left us a great many wise and meaningful quotations.

The Desiderata.

There must be few pieces of inspirational writing that were once as well known as The Desiderata. It was on the wall of every hippy squat in the 1960s and 70's and could possibly be seen as hackneyed but I have never been able to forget it.

Although it now seems unlikely to appeal to the sophisticated cynicism of modern youth, I believe it is as valid today as it has ever been.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920

Today, to many people this may seem trite but that would be to neglect the eternal truth of the advice incorporated within these lines. Over the years this piece of writing has meant so much to me that I have a slate in my garden carved with the lines: You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

When life is overwhelming, when the guilts and difficulties gang up on me, it seems to give me the permission to allow myself to be me and not to dissemble or pretend to be something or someone other than who I am. I have a right to be here ... and to be me.

A modern day quotation with truth ... if not tact.

The following is my last quotation and I kept it for its truth ... and its humour.

It is from the inimitable Bill Gates and you may have seen it before but I make no apologies for the fact that I am showing you it again. It should be written in letters on gold in the lobby of every school on the planet, especially now that films, television and ephemeral pop stars are dooming so many of our children to a life of disillusionment.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parent's fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give your as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

And finally ... the quotation as film.

The following video is one of many on the theme of the apparent wisdom of geese. This idea has obviously inspired many people to make their own videos using the same images. Not all of them have been successful and the sensitive video that I was sent as an email attachment some time ago is sadly not amongst them.

So I found the next best one to add to this hub. The message however still moves me to tears. I suppose it could be because what seems to come so naturally to the geese is such a struggle for humans ... to our enduring shame.


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    • Angie Jardine profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Jardine 

      8 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Many thanks for your kind comment, Anil.

    • profile image

      Anil reddy 

      8 years ago

      It is awesome site . It contains more famous love quotes .site contains famous words . Hats off to your site . I like this site very much .So thank you very much.

    • Angie Jardine profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Jardine 

      8 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi SimpleGiftsofLove!

      Many thanks for such a positive comment ... I hope these quotes become as inspirational to you over time as they have for me.

      All the best ...

    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile image


      8 years ago from Colorado

      Angie, I love this hub! It lifted me right out of the doldrums. Rated up and following!

    • Angie Jardine profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Jardine 

      8 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      I, on the other hand, Brian, am probably a little too impulsive ... I am now used to quick decisions. They don't all turn out to be right, socially speaking, but I can usually make them into something positive ... even when they start out as unmitigated disasters.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on this hub ... I appreciate your words.

    • Brian Burton profile image

      Brian Burton 

      8 years ago

      I think it would be a little cheesy on my part to quote the whole quote, but I really like motivational quotes. The quote with this line was my favorite. "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy". Hesitancy or doubt, that has been my downfall.

    • Angie Jardine profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Jardine 

      9 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi Anil ... many thanks for your kind comment about this hub ... I much appreciate your taking the time to give me some feedback.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      It is very good to see . It contains more information what i need .It contains famous words . Hats off to your site and post . . I like this site very much . . So thank you very much.


      Love quotes

    • Angie Jardine profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Jardine 

      9 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      You were joking? OMG! Note to self: must try not to be soooo gullible.

      I did get the jokes - I thought you were just trying to soften the blow of the Japanese research. I was just in such a hurry to defend geese that I missed out the niceties of lolling.

      But on a more positive note ... wow! You were so credible you could write propaganda ... oh, you already did that.

      My apologies, WOL, for being so dim ... you don't have to try harder, I just need to stop being so serious. x

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      er, Angie, my comment appears not to have worked as I'd intended. It's all made up, every word. I just wanted to find a way to land the (apparently un-amusing) idea of a lead Goose saying "let's get the f**ck outta here!".

      I figured if that gag didn't fly (sorry..) the equally fictitious "Honk if you love Geeses" resolve would make it clear. (Soft 'g'? Not working?)

      Oh well, so much for an attempt at a satirical response. :(

      Note to self: must try harder.

    • Angie Jardine profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Jardine 

      9 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi Beata ... many thanks for your comment ... I appreciate you taking the time.

    • Angie Jardine profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Jardine 

      9 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi WOL ... thanks for the in-depth comment. And yes, it does shatter my illusions a little. Just one point ... if it were only a survival of the fittest mechanism, why would some members of the flock drop out to stay with the ailing member? What possible benefit could it have for them? Surely it would make more sense to leave the ailing goose on its own to survive or die? A bit like humans are once thought to have done with ailing or old members of their tribes in prehistoric times.

      I am always wary of 'research' from a nation that has a vested interest in proving that animals are just there for the use of mankind. It makes it suspect and, I would posit, unreliable.

      As to the constant warning given about anthropomorphising animals I would refer you to the YouTube video link ...

      I think this argument is on a par with the medieval one of 'Do animals have souls?' and research may in the future turn up more evidence for animals being a lot more like us than we currently believe. After all ... humans are animals too ...

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 

      9 years ago from Western Australia

      Beautiful and useful, thank you for sharing:)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      A very uplifting piece, Angie, thankyou.

      Unfortunately, re your comment on the geese; “The grace and stoicism of these birds gets to me every time”, I have shattering news for you...

      Although we love to ascribe human emotions and higher values to other creatures, it’s really a romantic illusion; and sadly, the transcontinental flying geese are a case in point.

      Presumably to combat the emotional hype from Western nations that requires the Japanese to disguise as ‘scientific research’, their annual harvesting of thousands of whales for gourmet seafood burgers, researchers from the Land of the Rising Sun recently released the results of an exhaustive study into the way geese communicate with each other; which has enabled them to debunk the myth of the ‘Gentility of Geese’, and put in question our romantic (‘whale-like’) attachment to the species.

      Turns out that geese have well-developed patterns of honking, that convey clear messages, that can actually be quite unsympathetic. For example, what humans interpret as ‘nobly staying with a stricken member until it’s well enough to fly’ is actually the result of the genetically programmed need to protect the strong from being held back by the weak; literally, survival of the fittest.

      Interestingly though, it seems the decision on whether any fellow flyers stay with the stricken traveller is discretionary, as the lead bird dramatically, and automatically, increases the pace of the entire flying wedge, while simultaneously emitting four sharp honks, interpreted by the Japanese to mean; “Anybody wants to stay behind with Nigel (or whoever...), your choice, but I’m getting the flock out of here!”

      Sorry, Angie.

      PS: I’ll try and find a reference for you. I’m pretty sure it was in National Geographic, if memory serves, under the heading, (remarkably similar to a popular ‘inspiring and life-strengthening’ bumper sticker quote), “Honk if You Love Geeses”

    • Angie Jardine profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Jardine 

      9 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi TL dear heart ... thank you for all the votes! I'm not sure who nicked what ... and there are many variations on those words ... but I guess it really doesn't matter where it really came from as long as we follow the advice.

      Again there are many videos about the wisdom of geese ... they are all roughly the same as this one but everyone and his dog has felt they could do it just that bit better. This was just one of an 'over produced' bunch on YouTube. The one I have kept myself is much better done but sadly I couldn't find it on YouTube therefore I couldn't add it to my hub.

      And yes, I have to use this video sparingly as I always, but always, blub. I'm a total sucker when it comes to animals and the grace and stoicism of these birds gets to me every time.

      Thanks, as always, for your thoughts, m'dear ...

    • Angie Jardine profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Jardine 

      9 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      mariefontaine ... how very perceptive of you ... whenever I read The Desiderata I am always stuck by the perfection of the language he used. It is both moving and instructive.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me ...

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 

      9 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      UP, USEFUL and BEAUTUFUL, my friend. There is an Islamic verse, or saying that is so much like: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." or maybe we just nicked it.

      I know what you mean by the tears, Angie. I "woosed" when I heard that two from the flock descend with the sick one and waited till he had become better. I suppose they just flagged the next available passing flock.

    • mariefontaine profile image


      9 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      I LOVE the Desiderata... as a poetry challenge I was asked to rewrite it... I didn't feel like I could do it justice, did not want to mess with it... felt like it would be some sort of carnal sin or something...

    • Angie Jardine profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Jardine 

      9 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi Kathy ... many thanks for taking the time to give your take on my treasured quotations. I'm amazed we have so many 'quotes in common'. They have meant so much to me over the years that I wanted to share them and see what everyone else thought.

      Bless you.

    • Lucky Cats profile image


      9 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Angie...Bravo! What a great hub! So inspirational and've really chosen some wonderful quotes to help you as you travel through this life. I definitely remember Desiderata as well as Emily Bronte and, of course...the commitment/ motivation quote. My mother introduced me to Kahlil Gibran and, as a very young girl; I was mesmerized by the romance and unique quality of his writing...and touched/influenced by it...even when I didn't fully understand. So many great quotes you've shared and I'm bookmarking this hub because I agree with you and am so happy and feel so fortunate that you shared these....and I 'caught' the news!! All ups Kathy

    • Angie Jardine profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Jardine 

      9 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Bless you, Will ... nice to see you here.

    • WillStarr profile image


      9 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Lovely Hub. Voted up and awesome.

    • Angie Jardine profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Jardine 

      9 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi Fiddleman ... kind of you to say so.

      Many thanks for taking the time to tell me.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub! Enjoyed tremendously.


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