Why are philosophical quotes so prevalent? You find them in classic ads, on social media, they start and conclude speeches. They are little bundles of truth that sum up complex situations and make us go: 'Ahh. Such words of wisdom.'
I like hearing words that make me think. Subconsciously I pause and run the words back in my mind because they underlie an obvious truth. Sometimes, quotes make you look at a situation you thought you knew, differently. They can inspire us to stay on our path, or give us the courage to change direction.
Everyone is filled with self-doubt, has been told: not you, or has failed. Everyone has sat with their heart crushed at their feet, their desires shredded, their best selves rejected, their words misconstrued. Each of us has put all their resources into an effort, and watched nothing come of it, as another races ahead to the win.
What we do with our successes and failures, what we tell ourselves about living and losing, is as important as what we tell ourselves about living and winning.
Here are five quotes to think on. What women said:
People love to tell you what you can't do. If there were ever a dream that any young person had, I'm sure it's been shattered many times over by people, adults, telling them why it's not going to work and why they shouldn't do it. Some people accept that in a docile manner and go ahead with their lives. They don't necessarily take up the challenge. I, on the other hand, was always maybe a little bit confrontational where it came to those issues. I was more inclined to say, "Oh, you think I can't do it? Watch me."
Be your best self. I'm fine. I don't need to look at you, or stare at you, or complain about you, or gossip about you, because I'm fine in my own healthy skin.
What is the word to describe yourself when you want equality? Asking that men and women not be treated any differently from each other. There doesn't need to be one person leading. There doesn't need to be one person greater than the other. Men and women should be on the same level and it doesn't mean that one person - a woman is higher - a man has to be subordinate; it's just nonsense. Just equality.
Dame Judi Dench:
I don't think it matters about your age at all. I think it only matters about your determination not to give up or not to stop learning new things - which I absolutely applaud. I don't want to be told I can't do something. I'll just have a go at it and I may make a terrible mess of it but I'd sooner make a mess than not have a go at all.
A partner, male or female, doesn't define your worth as a person. We live in a culture, even though the family structure is changing where so many women are raising children on their own. So many families are non-traditional in their make-up. We still live in a culture that when someone hears that a woman is single or doesn't have children, they act like it's a tragedy when maybe that's exactly how she wanted to be living her life.
Five thoughts to internalize, to question our conditioning and re-examine our suppositions.
To conclude with a smile - I asked Dame Judi Dench what the differences were between when she started out in 1957 and where she is now, and her reply sums up her quick wit.
What's the difference between my career in 1957 and now? Older. I'm older. That's the answer.