5 INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES THAT CHANGED MY LIFE
Inspirational quotes can inspire and encourage us and may even change our lives. As we learn that others share the same experiences and feelings as we do, we feel more connected to one another and engaged in life.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ―C. S. Lewis
Every now and then we come across an inspirational quote that has a great impact on our life, it may change the way we think, feel and behave and it may even change the trajectory of our journey.
That’s because we are wired for connection and realizing that others share the same experiences and feelings we do, makes us feel more connected to one another.
Inspirational quotes can trigger our emotions, offering up a bit of encouragement and even getting our pulse up and creative juices flowing.
Like most people, I have changed through life, a lot actually, and I continue changing, daily. Not only I’m ok with that, but I want that. I want to change. I want to keep on learning. I want to evolve.
By now you may have noticed my appreciation for inspirational quotes. They make me feel connected to people I have never met but who think the same way I do.
Sometimes they offer up different perspectives and angles that I haven’t thought of before.
I use inspirational quotes to help manage my thoughts and feelings, to motivate my actions, to calm my spirit, and to keep me moving forward in life.
Today I will share with you 5 inspirational quotes that caused big changes in my life.
They taught me to be calmer, kinder, and more in control of my emotions. They also taught me to be mindful and in the present moment and not to take anything for granted. And lastly, they motivated me to be a cause for change.
“Because you are alive, everything is possible.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ
My first experience with yoga and meditation was 15 years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child. I loved the gentle yoga but dreaded the meditation part of it.
The way I saw it was I couldn’t be sitting there with my eyes closed for 10-20 minutes when I had so much to do! I was pregnant and in law school. Meditation back then felt like “doing nothing” for me.
My thoughts were on all of the things that I needed to do and not on the quiet moment that my body and mind really needed. During those minutes, I felt more anxious than relaxed.
But as a researcher, I knew that meditation and mindfulness would be really good for me, my anxiety, law school, my busy schedule, and the baby. I wanted to be calmer and I wanted to have a healthy and calm pregnancy. So I decided to give it a try by learning how to meditate.
I bought a couple of books on meditation written by the Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. When I came across this quote, something immediately resonated with me. I felt a physical reaction to it.
I felt lucky to be alive and to have the opportunities I have had so far in life. I was working towards my second law school degree in another country and pursue my dream! I was having a baby! My life was a good life, busy but good.
I was alive and I could do anything, including changing how I was operating.
First I realized and accepted that I had put myself into that situation, intentionally. So, I assessed my current life with “Project Manager’s eyes”: I looked into the issues that were causing me to feel overwhelmed and broke them into smaller issues. Then tackled one at a time.
I took a 6-month leave of absence from law school to be with my newborn, hired someone to help me with the house, asked my mom to come from Brazil to be there with me.
I even created a schedule that would allow me to do yoga and meditation. And I started to enjoy meditation. In fact, meditation became a sacred personal “me” time. With no one else to care for, nothing for me to worry about, nothing to do. Those moments were precious. And still are to this day.
I learned that because I was alive, everything was possible. I could do anything. I could change how things were moving along. I could even go back to law school while raising a baby boy. I just need to embrace one issue at a time. I figured out. And it felt good, empowering, and liberating.
“Enjoy the little things, because one day you will look back and realize that they were the big things.”
– Robert Brault
My mom passed away in 2010 of a rare type of cancer. She was only 59 years old. On her deathbed, she related to me all of her regrets. She had so many regrets in life: all the things she did not do with us, all the times she was angry, all the times she did not appreciate life, etc. Somehow she unearthed all of the negatives of her life.
It made so sad. There she was, literally counting the hours, and all she could think of all of the things that she did not do or should have done better, as opposed to just enjoy the moments she left with us.
At that moment I decided to live my life with all that it came: little things, big things, and all the things in between. Being present and mindful of life.
I decide to live my life without regrets. I decided that I would be intentional with my choices because that is one thing I knew I could control. If they did not go my way, at least then I knew. I would make changes and move on.
Mistakes would become life lessons.
I decided to appreciate time with my kids, in nature, and alone. I decided to take living life into my own hands. It felt good then. And it still feels good today.
I don’t blame anyone for what happens to me, or around me. I accept that sometimes I’m partially, or totally, responsible for what happens to me. I learn what works and what doesn’t and make new decisions then.
And sometimes things happen that are totally out of my control. So I don’t dwell on those. But I do look at what I can control and take actions from that perspective.
I work toward solutions, not more problems. I experience life as it comes. I am intentional with my thoughts, feelings, and actions. I control what I can and let go of what does not serve me.
I enjoy the little things because together, they make up for this big thing called life.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
– Mahatama Gandhi
I realized from an early age that how I felt could affect the people and the energy around me. I learned to become the little funny girl, the helpful girl, the good girl so that I could change the energy when I felt it was “bad”.
As an adult, I learned that small actions could lead to big results.
After high school, I took a double gap year. I wanted to go to a very prestigious private college for Linguistics and my parents couldn’t afford it. So I got to work to make me the money for it. I became a first-grade teacher in a public school.
The school was located in a very poor neighborhood – as a brand new teacher you are sent to the places more experienced teachers do not want to go: seniority matters.
It lacked all of the supplies a teacher needs to be successful. All of it: the library was an empty room, not one book. The PE room had one soccer ball and one volleyball. The science hall was completely empty. The art room had no art supplies. The school received notebooks and pencils from the government. That was it. Teachers would have to buy anything else they needed – students did not.
I was 19 years old. Teaching under those circumstances was sad. There was a big business center nearby, where big pharmaceuticals headquarters operated from. I learned that several of those companies’ employees went to that same school. Then I had an idea.
I went to those companies and pointed out that several of their employees came from that school. I then made a case that if they invested in the school, the students would get a better education and therefore become more prepared for the jobs those companies would have for them.
3 companies donated to the school: books, PE supplies, art supplies, science supplies, art supplies, AND even a couple of computers for the starter of a technology center!!!
That school became a role model to other public schools in the area and the state. Even the US First Lady Hillary Clinton came to visit the school when they visited Brazil.
I did not know what results I would get, or even if I would achieve anything. I just knew I had to do something, get started. One very small action started a chain reaction.
“Be kind always, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
– Vlad Andersen
My grandma was a very wise woman, that one. Every time someone would complain about a person, she would say “be kind, you don’t know what they are going through.”
Those of you who know me, you know that I don’t take anything for granted. I don’t assume what people think or feel. And I do believe that there is always a reason behind people’s behaviors.
When people behave in a way that affects me negatively, I ask myself: “What else could this be?” I try not to take it personally (I know it’s hard) and I do believe that they may be suffering, and that’s why they behave the way they do.
To me, people are naturally good. We usually display moods and emotions of how we feel inside as a result of how we perceive the world around us.
So I don’t jump to conclusions. I give it time. I ask questions if I can. And If I am hurt by their words or actions, I then speak of myself and my feelings, but not in a defensive or attacking way.
I am also ok to walk away if the end time has come for that relationship, without negative feelings.
“Feelings are much like waves: we can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which ones to surf.”
– Jonathan Matterson
We all have emotions, some positive, some negative. Some we want to express, others we prefer to hide. Some people show their emotions more than others. But one thing is true: we all have them (emotions), we all feel them and we cannot delete them. But we can manage them.
After my mom died, my dad was in complete distress. They had been married for 36 years and the mere thought of not having her there anymore really shook him.
I found myself learning to control my feelings of grief and loss in order to be present and supportive of my dad, to deal with the legalities of death. But I also felt that when I was alone I could just feel all the feelings. I could cry and it was ok.
After I came back home, I was surprised to be caught in waves of emotions that felt they could swallow me. Where was my emotional control when I needed it?
One day, during a lunch pick-up, while waiting for my food, I saw this quote on the restaurant’s wall. It immediately hit me: my feelings were like waves and I didn’t need to let them drawn me, I could surf them. And I had done it, just a few months ago.
So to take better control of my emotions I went back to studying the role of emotions in our lives, how to understand, and how to manage them, for myself and others.
Emotional intelligence became one of the pillars of my work and life because I knew that everything we do in life is linked to our emotions.
Today I help people understand how their thoughts create their feelings and how their feelings drive their actions. To change a behavior, we need to change the thought that originated it.
This knowledge helps us get rid of the behaviors that no longer serve us and to keep and improve upon those that are working for us at the moment.
Research shows that emotional intelligence is the key factor that sets high performing individuals and high achievers aside from the rest of the crowd.
By getting a handle on our emotions we can reach high personal and professional performance goals, improve our interactions and live a more fulfilled life.
Not everybody is so keen on inspirational quotes, and if you do not use quotes as a tool of life, the idea of quotes to you may be pointless.
But if you like inspirational quotes, like me, which ones are your favorite? And how do you apply them in your life?
With love and gratitude,
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Focusing on what matters most, let’s improve our communication and transform our interactions one conversation at a time.
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