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12 Quotes on Finding Unity in Hard Times

In the TV drama The West Wing, Leo McGarry (John Spencer) tells a story to a struggling Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford): A man falls in a hole and calls out to multiple people up above for help. The passersby briefly offer some unhelpful solutions and move along.

Then the man’s friend walks by, McGarry says, “and the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I've been down here before, and I know the way out.’” It’s a touching moment, and it drives home the fact that community is crucial in tough times.

When we’re going through something difficult — whether it’s something personal, such as divorce or the loss of a loved one, or collective, such as a natural disaster — our first instinct might be to shut down or withdraw. In fact, a 2021 study showed that stress can cause us to minimize our social interactions.

But finding community in those moments can actually do us a world of good: Additional research suggests that social support makes us more resilient to stress and trauma. In other words, being part of a supportive community can be life-changing, both for those giving the help and those receiving it.

If you’re feeling lonely or you’re hoping to rally some like-minded people to support you through your struggles, we hope these quotes help you muster the strength to reach out.

Maybe it isn’t that we’re supposed to find the pieces and put them back together. Maybe we’re the pieces … Maybe what we’re supposed to do is come together. That’s how we stop the breaking.
David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

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There are few things more powerful than people united. What they unite over is not what matters … The most important aspect is remembering our existing connection, and, through that, allowing ourselves to feel at peace.
Vironika Tugaleva

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We learn to live, we learn to give each other / What we need to survive together alive.
Paul McCartney

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Individual commitment to a group effort is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. The success of the individual is completely subjected to the satisfaction that he receives in being part of the successful whole.
Vince Lombardi

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We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end.
Woodrow Wilson

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If there is a load you have to bear / That you can't carry / I'm right up the road / I'll share your load / If you just call me.
Bill Withers

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The commitments we make to each other … do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us.
Barack Obama

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We are each other's / Harvest: / We are each other's / Business / We are each other's / Magnitude and bond.
Gwendolyn Brooks

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Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion.
bell hooks

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People who are hurting … [need] patient, loving witnesses. People to sit quietly and hold space for us. People to stand in helpful vigil to our pain.
Glennon Doyle

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We are not always aware of the help we may give by accepting aid, that in this way we may establish a foothold for contact.
Erving Goffman

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Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
Helen Keller

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Featured image credit: Bettmann via Getty Images

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About the Author
Paola Bennet
Paola Bennet is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She writes a fortnightly newsletter that treasures the mundane, called Small Histories. Find her on Instagram @paolafbennet.
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