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10 Powerful Quotes on Overcoming Adversity (and a Book Giveaway)

Note: This post contains a giveaway. If you’re reading this in your inbox, click here to participate on the site!

As the year is coming to a close, now seems like a perfect time to shine a spotlight on one of my favorite books of 2017.

Tiny Buddha contributor Harriet Cabelly has crafted a masterpiece in her book Living Well Despite Adversity: Inspiration for Finding Renewed Meaning and Joy in Your Life.

Harriet’s faced her share of personal challenges in life, from going through a life-threatening medical crisis with her daughter to rebuilding her life after divorce. But this book isn’t just about her own journey. It features interviews with dozens of people who’ve learned to thrive despite illness, loss, and other tragedies.

Uplifting and empowering, Living Well Despite Adversity offers hope and inspiration for anyone who’s struggling in life.

The stories are raw, the lessons powerful, and the messages universal. While some of the names are well known—including Cheryl Strayed and Meredith Viera—many were new to me; and I couldn’t have been more grateful for the chance to learn a little about their journeys and what’s helped them heal and grow.

I’ve shared below some of my favorite excerpts from the book, but first…

The Giveaway

Harriet has generously offered to provide two copies of Living Well Despite Adversity to Tiny Buddha readers. To enter the giveaway:

  • Leave a comment below. You don’t have to write anything specific. ”Count me in” is sufficient. But if you feel inclined, please share your favorite quote on overcoming adversity or something that’s helped you get through tough times.
  • For an extra entry, share this giveaway on one of your social media pages and post the link in a second comment.

You can enter until midnight, PST, on Monday, December 17th.

The Quotes

From Michael Hingson, who was born blind, later survived 9-11 with the help of his guide dog, and then wrote the bestselling memoir Thunder Dog:

“If I were to suggest to other people what they ‘should’ do if they’re going through a tragedy or any kind of unexpected change I would say you must start with accepting the fact that the change happened, especially if you didn’t have control over it. And even if you did and it took an unexpected turn where you were left in a quandary, you must start with ‘All right, where am I?’ Get over the fact that it happened—‘Now where do I go from here?’ I don’t care what the challenge is, we all can start with that.”

From Amy Morin, who lost her mother, husband, and father-in-law in quick succession and then wrote the book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do:

“It’s tempting to try to avoid the sadness and distress associated with grief—but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you have to face your emotions head-on. Other people will try to cheer you up because they’re uncomfortable with you being sad, but let yourself feel sad and angry and lonely. Time doesn’t heal anything. It’s what you do with that time that matters. So it’s important to use your time to heal—and part of healing means experiencing a wide variety of emotions. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, and professionals. Your connections with other people can make all the difference in the world.”

From Natalie Taylor, who lost her husband, Josh, while pregnant with their first child:

“One thing I try to say to myself when I hit a bad patch is this idea that ‘it will pass.’ I won’t feel this way the whole day or the whole week. So I sort of embrace it and go through it because it will pass. It’s not that I ignore it. When I do get sad I remind myself that I’ll be happy again, eventually, or I’ll do something else in the day that will make me happy. I just know that things change quickly, although with grief they don’t change so quickly. At this point, four years out, my day-to-day attitude is so much more positive than it was three or four years ago obviously.

From Meredith Viera, journalist, TV personality, and caregiver to her husband Richard Cohen, who’s been living with MS for more than thirty years:

“Build that group of friends, that support system around you. Go for it. Don’t be afraid. Don’t feel that you’re a burden to other people. And don’t be ashamed of illness. What you’ll discover is everybody else has their own thing. People don’t like to talk about stuff. They hide it, but if you’re open and you say you need help, people will be there for you. It’s important to know they’re there. It’s like it takes a village; when there’s illness it takes a village too. Most people have been phenomenal.”

From Laverne Bissky, who started the No Ordinary Journey Foundation to help children, like her daughter, who struggle with Cerebral Palsy:

“For me coping is about balance: not static balance but dynamic balance because life is always in a state of flux. It’s about knowing when to push hard and when to rest. When to fight and when to let go. When to use and when to conserve resources. When to work hard and when to have fun. Practicing mindfulness helps me to know when to shift between these. It’s about paying attention to what is going on inside of you.”

From Natasha Alexenko, sexual assault survivor and founder of Natasha’s Justice Project, whose mission is to ensure rape kits are tested and investigated quickly:

“You don’t always have to be productive. You’re biggest responsibility is to yourself and making sure you’re OK. If you are not feeling well emotionally or mentally, you should treat yourself almost like you’re ill. If you had a cold you wouldn’t necessarily mop your floors or do your laundry. You’re allowed to take a moment to smell the roses and not be hard on yourself.”

From Julie Genovese, who wrote the memoir Nothing Short of Joy to share her story of living with a physically and emotionally challenging form of dwarfism:

“I didn’t realize I had a choice of how to see my challenges. When I turned it around to see those challenges as adventures or as mountains to climb so that I could see a fantastic view, my attitude changed; that shift in perspective would change all of it. I realized I did have more of this inner divine power than I had realized in the past. It’s a universal quality that keeps us moving forward. It’s that desire to be our own truth, to be our whole self. We are all born into these different handicaps, visible or invisible, and they are the catalyst to wake us up and remind us that we came here for growth and awareness. Our hardship and struggles are that springboard to appreciate what we can have here if we look at it differently, or if we experience it with new senses—like jumping into a pool after a horribly hot day is ten times better than jumping into a pool every day when you’ve never really gotten hot. As humans we have these catalysts to keep prodding us forward and to keep remembering there’s a greater and more beautiful truth than maybe what we’re living.”

From Dr. Daniel Gottlieb, psychologist, author, and radio show host, who’s been paraplegic since a car accident three decades ago:

“When I’m in a dark hole, I want someone who loves me enough to sit there next to me and not tell me there’s light on the other side. Words are not going to do anything and 90% of the time they’re going to be patronizing. They’re also going to be a byproduct of your own anxiety and helplessness. Just sit with me. Just have the courage to try to fathom what I’m experiencing.”

From Judy Shephard, who lost her son to an anti-gay hate crime and then founded the Matthew Shephard Foundation to help erase hate:

“In my personal experience, as well as that of many very close friends and family members, you don’t ‘emerge.’ The darkness is always there; it just gets different. It becomes something you can look at with some objectivity. We still have joy and happiness in our lives; it’s just different. At least, that is what it has been for my family to date. My advice is not to let anyone tell you the accepted time limit for grief—it is limitless. That being said, it must also become something you embrace rather than fear. We’ve encouraged our friends and family to still share memories of Matt, not to shy away from remembering him. He will always be a part of our lives and that is a good thing.”

From Julia Fox Garrison, stroke survivor and author of the memoir Don’t Leave Me This Way:

“I think we are conditioned to say the word ‘can’t’ which closes all doors to possibilities. I have discovered that if you include the word ‘yet’ then the door to opportunity remains ajar. I used to say ‘can’t’ so often that it became second nature in conversation. Now I avoid saying ‘can’t’, but when I need to say it, I always include the qualifier, ‘yet’. So I can’t rollerblade yet, but I plan on it someday, maybe.”

You can learn more about Living Well Despite Adversity: Inspiration for Finding Renewed Meaning and Joy in Your Life on Amazon here.

FTC Disclosure: I receive complimentary books for reviews and interviews on tinybuddha.com, but I am not compensated for writing or obligated to write anything specific. I am an Amazon affiliate, meaning I earn a percentage of all books purchased through the links I provide on this site. 

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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