In Reflection

[success]It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. ~ Henry David Thoreau[/success]

One of the great challenges in our life is how we see ourselves.  We limit and restrict our life experiences by the images we hold in our minds, the images that prevent us from expressing our full potential.

We’ve switched off  the part within that is pure and perfect, the part that hasn’t been affected by the less than perfect characteristics we’ve picked up in the less than perfect world we operate in.

Our self image, self concept, call it what you like has been created by us.  Its not caused by outer reality but by judgement of ourselves.

As we interpret events/experiences, we decide something about ourselves, that we then continue to think and we set up our own self-fulfilling prophecy and it ‘aint that good.

It’s flipping difficult to love and accept who we are, to cultivate our full potential, when what we mostly see are flaws, imperfections and faults.  Yikes.  No wonder we build walls around us, tall enough to keep out even the most determined friend or partner.

It doesn’t have to be like this. It’s not all gloom and doom.  We can begin taking down those walls, by honouring and embracing who we are.

And then we can throw the doors wide open to connecting in a sympathetic, unselfish, intimate way with all living beings. We’re hard wired to be empathetic and compassionate, and we’re constantly being revitalized by our connection to the life force that circulates throughout the universe, reaching us all.  This flow of energy grows as we share love and joy and empathy with ourselves and each other.

I’ve compiled 30 wonderful quotes intended to inspire you to see the greatness, the blessing that you are and as you dwell on them you might experience greater love of self and your frailties, as well as the incredible strengths and gifts that you bestow on the world.

Accept before change

  1. The happiest people in the world are those who feel absolutely terrific about themselves, and this is the natural outgrowth of accepting total responsibility for every part of their life. ~ Brian Tracy
  2. Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life. Define yourself. ~ Harvey Fierstein
  3. Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me’, and when you have found that attitude, follow it. ~ William James
  4. What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself. ~ Abraham Maslow
  5. Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centred by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. ~ Zhuangzi
  6. Every man’s work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself. ~ Samuel Butler
  7. When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t. ~ Jodi Picoult
  8. The difficulty we have in accepting responsibility for our behaviour lies in the desire to avoid the pain of the consequences of that behaviour. ~ M. Scott Peck
  9. Flowers do not force their way with great strife. Flowers open to perfection slowly in the sun. Don’t be in a hurry about spiritual matters. Go step by step and be very sure. ~ White Eagle
  10. I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s high time that I accept all the great things about me. ~ C. JoyBell C.

Be true to yourself

  1. To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. ~ Shakespeare
  2. Taking responsibility is empowering. It’s courageous. It’s reflective. It’s authentic. ~ Steve Maraboli
  3. The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows. ~ Buddha
  4. Be true to your work, your word, and your friend. ~ Thoreau
  5. I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence. ~ Frederick Douglass
  6. Be true to the game, because the game will be true to you. If you try to shortcut the game, then the game will shortcut you. If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you. That’s truly about the game, and in some ways that’s about life too. ~ Michael Jordan
  7. Well, if you’re true to yourself, you’re going to be true to everyone else. ~ John Wooden
  8. You are you and that is the beginning and the end–no apologies, no regrets. ~ Clark Moustakas
  9. Be what you are. This is the first step towards becoming better than you are. ~ J. C. Hare & A. W. Hare
  10. Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got. ~ Janis Joplin

Cultivate your potential

  1. ‎Transformation is not five minutes from now; it’s a present activity. In this moment you can make a different choice, and it’s these small choices and successes that build up over time to help cultivate a healthy self-image and self esteem. ~ Jillian Michaels
  2. We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations. ~ Anais Nin
  3. Often, it’s not about becoming a new person but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be. ~ Heath L. Buckmaster
  4. Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it. ~ Andy Rooney
  5. The important thing is this: to be ready at any moment to sacrifice what you are for what you could become. ~ Charles Dickens
  6. Change does not fail to occur because of insincerity. The heart patient is not insincere about his wish to keep living, even as he reaches for another cigarette. Change fails to occur because we mean both things. It fails to occur because we are a living contradiction. ~ Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
  7. I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply all my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy. ~ Og Mandino
  8. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  9. Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. ~ Brian Tracy
  10. Insights from myth, dreams and intuitions, from glimpses of an invisible reality and from perennial human wisdom provide us with hints and guesses about the meaning of life and what we are here for. Prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action are the means through which we grow and find meaning. ~ Jean Shinoda Bolen

Be willing to love yourself, flaws and all, to accept yourself as you are and you will grow and evolve and experience greater awareness and compassion for all of us on the journey. With hand on heart, try saying I am enough.  Because you are, you are nothing less than the divine in action.

In the comments below share your most favourite quote.  And if you know someone who’s self image could use a little boost, do share this post.

As always thanks for reading and joining in the conversation, you are loved.

Encourage one another.



Elle Sommer is the author of 4 books and a workbook. Her latest publications are a series called The Power of Consciousness, and you will find all three books in this trilogy now available on Kindle. She shares quotes, inspiration and positive vibes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And her greatest desire is to encourage and inspire others to create not just a good life, but a phenomenal life.


  1. Hi Elle…I REALLY liked this post with all these positive quotes! After reading each one I was definitely uplifted! Thanks for every one of them. As for one that I would add…how about this great one from Mary Anne Radmacher who said,

    “It is not the easy or convenient life for which I search, but life lived to the edge of all that I may be.”

    • Elle

      Quotes will do that Kathy won’t they – it felt great when I was searching for them too. Great quote you shared…like it a lot. Thank you. 🙂

      • Very Nice
        If your mind wastes your moments by continually revisiting the things you don’t want, take the next moment and put it on the things you really, really do want. You can never steer your ship into new waters by watching the wake.

        • ElleSommer

          Hi Zahid and thanks for joining in the conversation. We welcome you. 🙂

  2. Joseph Appaloosa

    Your wonderful article reminded me that there is quite an abundance of loving thoughtful support available to/for us in the form of just a few kind words from strangers . . . these beautiful quotes . . . well chosen . . . and from the excellent cinema experience The Karate Kid ” Doing nothing and being still are two very different things” . . . Thank you for this treasure trove of quotes . . .
    Write on, Elle !

    • Elle

      Thanks for stopping by Joseph…hmm doing nothing and being still two very different things. Very interesting concept that I haven’t thought of before. Thanks for this one. 🙂

  3. Elle, I really appreciate the reminder that we are hardwired to be empathetic and compassion. Once we start dissolve the walls that come up due to our insecurity, our heart can really start to blossom. Thanks for this treasure of uplifting quotations!

    • Elle

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by Sandra…always appreciate it. 🙂

  4. Hi Elle,
    Your quotes on developing potential are insightful.
    Often people tend to stick hard to security and safety because of which they forsake their capacity to excel and lead fulfilled lives.Risk is always interlaced with reward and the greater the reward,the greater the responsibility you shoulder.
    Here’s what Daiseku Ikeda said about being successful “dont chase your pension,chase your passion”.
    I like that one!

  5. Hi Elle,

    Love these quotes. This one jumped out at me – “When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.” ~ Jodi Picoult. I always find people who don’t fit the mold can sometimes feel more challenged until they accept their unique qualities.

    I’ll share this one that I just found this week – “And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist Always inspiring here!

    • Elle

      That Jodi Picoult quote was so unfamiliar Cathy that I had to include it and the Paul Coelho one reminds me of the Emerson one, which I also love. Always appreciate your comments. 🙂

  6. Hi Elle,
    This post has me hooked.So much is flowing out of your guests.Like i genuinely like this one from Cathy Taughinbaugh : “When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.” ~ Jodi Picoult.

    Really Elle why don’t you run a “campaign post” inviting all your guests to post their own quotes/or their favourite quotes.It would be interesting to see the outpouring.
    I would like to contribute as well.

    • Elle

      Good idea – the Jodi Picolt quote is in the Accept before change section. I liked it a lot too. 🙂

  7. You are right about our feelings of ourselves radiating outward. It is said that the things we do not like in other people are things we are not satisfied with in ourselves. The points you mention could help anybody, regardless of who they are. When you try to be what you are not it often leads to sin. Good post that is informative, well written and relevant.

  8. I think that sometimes our self-image is formed by what others have said, parents, friends, teachers. Not everyone is self-assured enough to say, that’s just bull. At least not at the time. But as we get older this quote…that’s empowering. Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life. Define yourself. ~ Harvey Fierstein

    • Elle

      So true Linda, our self image is formed by the time we’re six’ish and its a conglomeration of all the things you mention. Great quote. 🙂

  9. I can totally relate to quote 10 in the first section – I AM my own worst critic. I have always been terribly self-conscious. I decided that this year I would no longer make self-deprecating comments about myself and that I would shamelessly celebrate me!

    • Elle

      YAY you Cher love the idea of shameless celebration of you. 🙂

    • “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Pin It