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  • Quotes

    You might enjoy reading these quotes (and an entire short poem) about*:


    “downregulating negative conflict is not enough. Positive affect must be created or enhanced as well.” (Gottman & Gottman in Gurman et al., Clinical Handbook of Couple Therapy)

    “you cannot learn to know a man until you have eaten a peck of salt with him” (The Ethics of Aristotle, Book Eight)

    “I try to appreciate and empathize with the point of view of both parties–what it did to one and what it meant to the other. I also consider… other relational stakeholders–the lover, the children, the friends.” (Esther Perel, Psychologist, in The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity)

    Happiness. Sadness.

    “It was said that the last person to see him, on the spring morning of his disappearance, was an old woman who sold flowers on a Chicago street corner by the Mulligan Bank. She related that he stopped and bought a bunch of the year’s first bluebells. His face was the happiest face she had ever seen; he had the look of a youth starting out into a great, unobstructed vision of life lying open before him; the marks of pain and tension, the sediment of years upon a human face, had been wiped off, and what remained was only joyous eagerness and peace. He picked up the flowers as if on a sudden impulse, and he winked at the old woman, as if he had some shining joke to share with her. He said, ‘Do you know how much I’ve always loved it—being alive?’ She stared at him, bewildered, and he walked away, tossing the flowers like a ball in his hand—a broad, straight figure in a sedate, expensive, businessman’s overcoat, going off into the distance against the straight cliffs of office buildings with the spring sun sparkling on their windows.” (from the novel Atlas Shrugged, on the disappearance of character Midas Mulligan)

    “If you put a good brain in a brain-unfriendly environment, it should not surprise you to see that brain get sad (a state that will eventually be labeled ‘chronic depression’)” (Why Smart People Hurt by Eric Maisel)

    “He cited an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer has a crayon removed from his brain, becomes smart, then gets depressed by the complexity of the world and asks that the crayon be put back in” (metronews 04 Nov 2014 quoting philosophy professor Mark Kingwell)

    “‘How does one become a butterfly?’ she asked pensively. ‘You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.’” (Trina Paulus)

    “Remember to look up at the stars, and not down at your feet.” (Stephen Hawking)

    Developing Insight

    “And it is rare, to see two trajectories meet—the abstract knowledge about the power of cultural conditioning, and the gut realization of what that conditioning has meant in one’s own life.“ (Panning for Gold, Mary Sykes Wylie)

    “The greatest part of mankind have no other reason for their opinions than that they are in fashion.” (Samuel Johnson, in Morris, 1999)

    Life Struggles

    “If you can keep your head when all about you

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;

    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;

    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

    And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,

    And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

    If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”

    (Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’ from—) (I interpret this to be inclusive of all people not just “Man” and “son,” it was just the common language of the time)

    “You set yourself up on your damn crutches and you struggle up the bloody hill. That’s what you do! …Because the alternative is to descend into the abyss – that’s the alternative!” (Prof. Jordan Peterson, Queen’s University, The Rising Tide of Compelled Speech in Canada)

    “And don’t think you can lay down the load, ever. Because you can’t. I know.” (Grandma Fontaine, Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, Ch.XXVI) (I stand against slavery; that said some of the characters demonstrate important virtues such as adaptation and industriousness)

    Worldviews (Philosophy)

    “Philosophy is not just a game… It’s the most vital use of our minds for getting our bearings in life.” (Morris, 1999)

    “We laugh at the enlightenment at our own peril.” (Onkar Ghate, PhD, in The Enlightenment and the Foundations of Liberty and Progress, 06Nov2020)

    Questioning if Emotional Distress is really a “disease”

    “Emotions–fear, anger, love–are as necessary for the organism’s survival as nerve impulses, immune cells or hormonal activity… Emotions, and the physical cells and tissues that make them possible, evolved as part and parcel of the apparatus of survival… It is not that the organs of emotion interact with the PNI [psycho-neuro-immune] system–they form an essential part of this system.” (Dr. Gabor Mate, When the Body Says No)

    “Can you imagine the absurdity of this? Where would it stop if we defined illness as any significant feeling of unease? Shockingly though, this very thing appears to be happening… So, instead of saying ‘mental illness,’ I’ll use phrases such as ‘significant problems in living’…so, I resisted using the term ‘patient.’ Instead, I tried to use the person’s name…” (Chuck Ruby, Psychologist, retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, and Executive Director of the International Society for Ethical Psychology & Psychiatry, in his 2020 book, Smoke and Mirrors) (I added the bold.)

    “the theory fails to address the core issue of pathological vs. non-pathological brain functioning. All of our behaviors and experiences are accompanied by signature chemical fluctuations in our brains…” (ibid)

    “With the difficulties the Industry calls ‘anxiety,’ resisting escape [from emotional pain] means accepting the reality that one cannot achieve certainty about potential threats in life, and to be willing to stop paying attention to this reality. ‘Anxiety’ doesn’t make people worry. It is the label that gets assigned to people who try to escape [emotional pain] by seeking maximum certainty in life.” (ibid)

    “Psychological jargon has replaced religious cant, and sin has been eclipsed by pathology. We are no longer sinners; we are sick. Ironically, it was much easier to cleanse ourselves of our sins than it is to get rid of a diagnosis… [and] If psychological diagnoses are not convincing enough, there’s always the booming world of popular neuroscience.” (Esther Perel, Psychologist, in The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity)


    “Now sometimes you’re about to do something and you don’t know whether it’s right or wrong… But — and I think this is a universal experience — people know, sometimes, that what they’re saying isn’t true, and people know, sometimes, that what they’re doing is wrong. And they state the untruth and they do what’s wrong anyways. And one of the things you can do is, stop doing that… ” (Psychologist Jordan Peterson, 19Oct2017)

    “Those things—they’re not even desires—they’re things people do to escape from desires—because it’s such a big responsibility, really to want something.” (The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand)

    “He came steadily on, straight through the town without slackening pace, until he reached the fork a half-mile below our place. One branch turned left, across the River Ford, and onto Luke Fletcher’s big spread; the other, bore ahead along the right bank, where we homesteaders had pegged our claims in a row up the valley. He hesitated briefly, studying the choice, and moved again steadily, on our side.” Shane, by Jack Schaefer (1920)

    *Note that this page is for information only, and is not advice of any kind (e.g., it is not medical advice — please consult with your physician if you require medical advice such as regarding any medication you are taking, as it can be dangerous to make any changes to these without medical supervision). It is neither counselling nor counselling therapy and implies neither an intent to provide professional services to readers nor that a professional relationship has been established with readers. If you need counselling services, please contact me or another counsellor; if you need psychological services, please contact a psychologist. If urgent support is needed, calling Calgary Distress Centre at 403.266.4357 is an option. For emergencies, consider calling 911 or going to your local Emergency Room. Note that current adult residents of the Canadian province of Alberta are the only intended audience of this page.