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Why Do We Love Quotes?

Do you have a favorite quote? Why are the words meaningful to you?

When you read a quote that speaks to you, it can affirm your feelings and beliefs and help you define yourself. Quotes are so popular you can find them on t-shirts, mugs, greeting cards, and all over Instagram. Reading inspirational quotes can encourage, empower and comfort us. Reading a great quote is almost like having a conversation with friends who validate what you’re saying.

One of my GaGa Sisterhood members, Sandy D. loves quotes so much she started a project to lift her spirits during COVID. She invited her family and friends to send their favorite quotes and explain why the quote speaks to them.

The idea came to her while flipping through a Sundance catalog. She saw an item for sale — a painted, open wooden box, filled with quotes printed on lovely paper and a pewter plaque on the box that read “Gathered Truths.” She loved it, but WHOA! It was $98. So that elicited one of her famous quotes, “I can do that!” She bought a box, painted it, and ordered an engraved plaque — “Gathering Truths.” Then she bought some nice cards to fit in the box.

The project is “way more uplifting than I imagined,” she told me. Each quote she’s received has given her a little window into people’s lives. Here’s a quote she shared:

Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterward. — Oscar Wilde

The friend who sent it wrote: “I’ve always liked this since I saw it on the wall of my 7th-grade science teacher’s classroom. As I moved through high school and my science teacher became my track coach, he guided us to several championships. For most of my life, I’ve learned more from experience than formal education. The experience learning wasn’t easy but it was effective.”

Quotes from Friends

Sandy sent me a few quotes and the stories she received from friends.

A garden is a friend you can visit any time. — Okakura Kakuzo (Japanese scholar who developed the arts in Japan)

Sandy’s friend who’s a Master Gardener explained his quote this way: “A friend is someone who is easy to be around and makes you happy. A garden fills all the definitions and then some.”

Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. — John Lewis (Congressman, Civil Rights leader/advocate)

Stephanie submitted her quote with the following explanation: “I love the phrase ‘Good Trouble’ and have a t-shirt with those words on it. Lewis was a remarkable man who stood up in faith alone, never once using force or aggression.”

This last quote is my new favorite after listening to Kate Murphy’s audiobook, You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters.

Tis the good listener who makes the good conversation. — Kate Murphy

I’ve been a student of listening for as long as I can remember. I was trained to listen when I studied for my Master’s degree in Speech Pathology. I took Phonetics from the famous S.I. Hayakawa at San Francisco State University. I still remember one of our assignments: we had to listen to conversations and transcribe them phonetically. I pride myself on being a good listener but I’m always looking for ways to improve.

Inspirational quotes can be the much-needed pick-me-up that gets you re-motivated to do the thing you do every day, whether it’s getting some exercise, going to work or completing a project. It might not be substantive enough to live on, but it will be helpful in getting you moving again.

Do you have a favorite quote? Please share it in the comment box.

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