Irish philosopher Edmund Burke once said, “He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.” It’s an important outlook to remember: that the hardest times are often the ones that shape us the most.
Adversity often ends up revealing an inner strength, resilience, and self-awareness we might not have known we had. It can make us more compassionate, and better equipped to help not just ourselves, but others. Hard times, once they’re in the past, can even give us a whole new perspective on life going forward — the ability to focus on the bigger picture, instead of getting caught up in the small details.
Whether you’re going through a difficult period now, or are looking for a toolkit for the future, these insightful quotes on overcoming adversity can help you tap into that inner power that gets us through.
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.Martin Luther King Jr.
Should you shield the valleys from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their canyons.Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, psychiatrist
Valor withers without adversity.Seneca
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”Eleanor Roosevelt
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.Helen Keller
All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.Walt Disney
Turn your wounds into wisdom.Oprah Winfrey
Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.William Shakespeare
You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.Michelle Obama
I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life; I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.Theodore Roosevelt
Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity.Lou Holtz, college football coach
One thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.Haruki Murakami
Photo credit: PhotoQuest/ Archive Photos via Getty Images