Inspirational Quotes by Martha Beck

By | July 19, 2016

Every day brings new choices.

Martha Beck

Life is full of tough decisions, and nothing makes them easy. But the worst ones are really your personal koans, and tormenting ambivalence is just the sense of satori rising. Try, trust, try, and trust again, and eventually you’ll feel your mind change its focus to a new level of understanding.

Martha Beck

Although beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, the feeling of being beautiful exists solely in the mind of the beheld.

Martha Beck

Loneliness is proof that your innate search for connection is intact.

Martha Beck

Since our society equates happiness with youth, we often assume that sorrow, quiet desperation, and hopelessness go hand in hand with getting older. They don’t. Emotional pain or numbness are symptoms of living the wrong life, not a long life.

Martha Beck

Not everyone is equally good-looking.

Martha Beck

Ten years ago, I still feared loss enough to abandon myself in order to keep things stable. I’d smile when I was sad, pretend to like people who appalled me. What I now know is that losses aren’t cataclysmic if they teach the heart and soul their natural cycle of breaking and healing.

Martha Beck

Hopeful thinking can get you out of your fear zone and into your appreciation zone.

Martha Beck

Comparing and contrasting is a valuable human skill – and not just during high school English exams. Our ability to rank-order things is invaluable in making choices and setting priorities.

Martha Beck

Rest until you feel like playing, then play until you feel like resting, period. Never do anything else.

Martha Beck

Rest until you feel like playing, then play until you feel like resting, period. Never do anything else.

Martha Beck

As I obsess about my ancient problems, I feel more like I’m sinking in quicksand than lighting a torch. I’m creating neither heat nor light, just the icky, perversely pleasurable squish of self-pity between my toes. My only defense is that I’m not the only one down here in the muck – our whole culture is doting on tales of personal tragedy.

Martha Beck

To complete your daily mental hygiene, observe any part of you that is upset or anxious, and offer that part of yourself the following simple wishes: ‘May you be well. May you be happy. May you be free from suffering.’ Repeat this until you actually mean it.

Martha Beck

To know what that true self is without social pressure is to know your true nature.

Martha Beck

I have come to believe that there are infinite passageways out of the shadows, infinite vehicles to transport us into the light.

Martha Beck

Self-pity, a dominant characteristic of sociopaths, is also the characteristic that differentiates heroic storytelling from psychological rumination. When you talk about your experiences to shed light, you may feel wrenching pain, grief, anger, or shame. Your audience may pity you, but not because you want them to.

Martha Beck

What happens when we’re willing to feel bad is that, sure enough, we often feel bad – but without the stress of futile avoidance. Emotional discomfort, when accepted, rises, crests, and falls in a series of waves. Each wave washes parts of us away and deposits treasures we never imagined.

Martha Beck

I cannot count the times I’ve been defeated, humiliated, or physically injured immediately after saying the words, ‘Hey, how hard can it be?’ But that never seems to stop me from saying them again.

Martha Beck

To really boost your sense of self-efficacy, think of ways you could modify your usual tasks to suit your personal style.

Martha Beck

No matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth.

Martha Beck

Not having time or energy for weight loss makes no sense. Does it take more time or energy to eat fish than prime rib? No.

Martha Beck

Instead of fretting about getting everything done, why not simply accept that being alive means having things to do? Then drop into full engagement with whatever you’re doing, and let the worry go.

Martha Beck

Whatever terrible things may have happened to you, only one thing allows them to damage your core self, and that is continued belief in them.

Martha Beck

It takes about four days of virtuous living to create a little weight loss. That also happens to be the time required to get used to eating less. In other words, if you can get past day three of a fitness regimen, things improve.

Martha Beck

My dog has the intellectual capacity of a lime wedge, yet even he possesses an elaborate set of assumptions, based on his ability to control my behavior through a combination of slavish devotion and incessant howling.

Martha Beck

The thing I love most about my job is watching people age backward, becoming more lively and energetic as they free themselves from situations that are toxic to their essential selves.

Martha Beck

Our culture has created two almost irreconcilable descriptions of a ‘good woman.’ The first is the individual achiever; the second, the self-sacrificing domestic goddess.

Martha Beck

Cheerfully fessing up to our failures turns crazy mind off, humility and compassion on. I learned this in a karate dojo that had a strange tradition. Everyone there loved recounting failure stories, and after an evening of smacking one another, we’d sit and have a beer while the students swapped tales of martial arts disaster.

Martha Beck

Whether you’ve seen angels floating around your bedroom or just found a ray of hope at a lonely moment, choosing to believe that something unseen is caring for you can be a life-shifting exercise.

Martha Beck

The process of spotting fear and refusing to obey it is the source of all true empowerment.

Martha Beck

If I tell a man he needs to quit his soul-sucking job, he has to go home and fight with his wife or fight with his parents and fight with his in-laws and fight with everybody, because men aren’t supposed to be happy; they’re supposed to do well.

Martha Beck

Indecision may come from an instinctive hunch that there’s more you need to know – which means it’s time to learn everything you can about the pros and cons of each option. You can continue on this track, however, only as long as you’re unearthing genuinely new information.

Martha Beck

Caring for your inner child has a powerful and surprisingly quick result: Do it and the child heals.

Martha Beck

Realizing that we’ve surrendered our self-esteem to others and choosing to be accountable for our own self-worth would mean absorbing the terrifying fact that we’re always vulnerable to pain and loss.

Martha Beck

When you meet people, show real appreciation, then genuine curiosity.

Martha Beck

Getting bogged down in old stories stops the flow of learning by censoring our perceptions, making us functionally deaf and blind to new information. Once the replay button gets pushed, we no longer form new ideas or conclusions – the old ones are so cozy.

Martha Beck

The pretty girls get all the good stuff. Oh, God. So not true. I unlearned this after years of coaching beautiful clients. Yes, these lovelies get preferential treatment in most life scenarios, but there’s a catch: While everyone’s looking at them, virtually no one sees them.

Martha Beck

I feel about aging the way William Saroyan said he felt about death: Everybody has to do it, but I always believed an exception would be made in my case.

Martha Beck

Do whatever it takes to convey your essential self.

Martha Beck

Only since the Industrial Revolution have most people worked in places away from their homes or been left to raise small children without the help of multiple adults, making for an unsupported life.

Martha Beck

In fact, when care appears, unconditional love often vanishes.

Martha Beck

The way we can allow ourselves to do what we need to, no matter what others may say or do, is to choose love and defy fear.

Martha Beck

No one else can take risks for us, or face our losses on our behalf, or give us self-esteem. No one can spare us from life’s slings and arrows, and when death comes, we meet it alone.

Martha Beck

My point is that perceptual bias can affect nut jobs and scientists alike. If we hold too rigidly to what we think we know, we ignore or avoid evidence of anything that might change our mind.

Martha Beck

If you’re feeling intransigently ambivalent, it might pay to formally accept what’s already happening – that is, decide not to decide.

Martha Beck

I practice staying calm all the time, beginning with situations that aren’t tense.

Martha Beck

If you’d rather live surrounded by pristine objects than by the traces of happy memories, stay focused on tangible things. Otherwise, stop fixating on stuff you can touch and start caring about stuff that touches you.

Martha Beck

Our ideas about love and attractiveness are so primal, our need for belonging so intense, that most of us are loath to abandon our favorite beliefs on these issues. If you’ve ever let yourself feel lovable and lovely, only to be deeply hurt, you may see accepting your own body as a setup for severe emotional wounding.

Martha Beck

When fear makes your choices for you, no security measures on earth will keep the things you dread from finding you. But if you can avoid avoidance – if you can choose to embrace experiences out of passion, enthusiasm, and a readiness to feel whatever arises – then nothing, nothing in all this dangerous world, can keep you from being safe.

Martha Beck

Use anything you can think of to understand and be understood, and you’ll discover the creativity that connects you with others.

Martha Beck

Painful events leave scars, true, but it turns out they’re largely erasable. Jill Bolte Taylor, the neuroanatomist who had a stroke that obliterated her memory, described the event as losing ’37 years of emotional baggage.’

Martha Beck

Good-looking individuals are treated better than homely ones in virtually every social situation, from dating to trial by jury.

Martha Beck

Standards of beauty are arbitrary. Body shame exists only to the extent that our physiques don’t match our own beliefs about how we should look.

Martha Beck

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