Anaïs Nin Quotes

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Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell, known as Anaïs Nin, was a diarist, essayist, novelist, and writer of both short stories and erotica. These Anaïs Nin quotes reveal inspiring insights on self-discovery, relationships, travel, and more.

Born to Cuban parents in France, she spent her childhood between Cuba and Spain and a period of 16 years in Paris, before establishing herself as an author in America.

From the age of eleven, Nin wrote prolifically in journals. Many of these diaries exposed her private thoughts, marriages, and many affairs when published. In addition to journaling, Nin wrote several novels, essays, short stories, critical studies, and volumes of erotica.

The Feminist Movement of the 1960s made her a popular lecturer at many universities, while a surge of interest in her life and her thoughts on sexuality led to the posthumous release of Delta of Venus, Little Birds, and other works after her death in 1977.

Powerful, seductive, and unashamedly feminine, these Anaïs Nin quotes define a legacy that remains popular today. Here are her finest words in one place.

Anaïs Nin quote "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are"
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anaïs Nin

I am lonely, yet not everybody will do. I don’t know why, some people fill the gaps and others emphasize my loneliness.

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.

The enemy of a love is never outside, it’s not a man or a woman, it’s what we lack in ourselves.

A Spy in the House of Love
Anaïs Nin quotes "Luxury is not a necessity to me, but beautiful and good things are"
“Luxury is not a necessity to me, but beautiful and good things are.” – Anaïs Nin

You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating.

I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.

There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of the imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don’t work.

The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.

Anaïs Nin quote "We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect"
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anaïs Nin

I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.

The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.

Whenever you do something that is not aligned with the yearning or your soul—you create suffering.

The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.

"We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls"
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” – Anaïs Nin

Do not seek the because – in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.

Henry and June

One word I would banish from the dictionary is ‘escape.’ Just banish that and you’ll be fine. Because that word has been misused regarding anybody who wanted to move away from a certain spot and wanted to grow.

I write emotional algebra.

I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom"
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin

Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.

I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing.

There is not one big cosmic meaning for all; there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.

We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them.

Anaïs Nin quote "You cannot save people. You can only love them"
“You cannot save people. You can only love them.” – Anaïs Nin

The only abnormality is the incapacity to love.

Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous.

Had I not created my whole world, I would certainly have died in other people’s.

She lacks confidence, she craves admiration insatiably. She lives on the reflections of herself in the eyes of others. She does not dare to be herself.

Anaïs Nin quote "Dreams are necessary to life"
“Dreams are necessary to life.” – Anaïs Nin

For you and for me the highest moment, the keenest joy, is not when our minds dominate but when we lose our minds, and you and I both lose it in the same way, through love.

Fire: From A Journal of Love

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.

You don’t find love, it finds you. It’s got a little bit to do with destiny, fate, and what’s written in the stars.

I reserve the right to love many different people at once, and to change my prince often.

Anaïs Nin quote "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage"
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anaïs Nin

I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.

Societies in decline have no use for visionaries.

To think of him in the middle of the day lifts me out of ordinary living.

I don’t really want to become normal, average, standard. I want merely to gain in strength, in the courage to live out my life more fully, enjoy more, experience more. I want to develop even more original and more unconventional traits.

Anaïs Nin quote "What I cannot love, I overlook"
“What I cannot love, I overlook.” – Anaïs Nin

Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.

Introspection is a devouring monster. You have to feed it with much material, much experience, many people, many places, many loves, many creations, and then it ceases feeding on you.

Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terror, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.

There are many ways to be free. One of them is to transcend reality by imagination, as I try to do.

"Creation which cannot express itself becomes madness"
“Creation which cannot express itself becomes madness.” – Anaïs Nin

He was now in that state of fire that she loved. She wanted to be burnt.

In chaos, there is fertility.

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.

Our life is composed greatly from dreams, from the unconscious, and they must be brought into connection with action. They must be woven together.

"I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living"
“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” – Anaïs Nin

Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.

Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.

Delta of Venus

What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered.

Everything with me is either worship and passion or pity and understanding. I hate rarely, though when I hate, I hate murderously.

Anaïs Nin quote "Sometimes we reveal ourselves when we are least like ourselves"
“Sometimes we reveal ourselves when we are least like ourselves.” – Anaïs Nin

The secret of joy is the mastery of pain.

Our love of each other was like two long shadows kissing without hope of reality.

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.

Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together.

Anaïs Nin quote "People living deeply have no fear of death"
“People living deeply have no fear of death.” – Anaïs Nin

I am only responsible for my own heart, you offered yours up for the smashing my darling. Only a fool would give out such a vital organ.

From the backstabbing co-worker to the meddling sister-in-law, you are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life. You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead.

How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?

If you limit yourself only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.

"I hate men who are afraid of women's strength"
“I hate men who are afraid of women’s strength.” – Anaïs Nin

Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

The Diary of Anais Nin

If what Proust says is true, that happiness is the absence of fever, then I will never know happiness. For I am possessed by a fever for knowledge, experience, and creation.

When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons.

Anaïs Nin quote "Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself"
“Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.” – Anaïs Nin

You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too.

When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an illusion they could bear to live with.

When one is pretending, the entire body revolts.

Stories do not end.

Anaïs Nin quote "Good things happen to those who hustle"
“Good things happen to those who hustle.” – Anaïs Nin

My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to find peace with exactly who and what I am. To take pride in my thoughts, my appearance, my talents, my flaws and to stop this incessant worrying that I can’t be loved as I am.

I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.

Writers do not live one life, they live two. There is the living and then there is the writing. There is the second tasting, the delayed reaction.

When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others.

"He was jealous of her future, and she of his past"
“He was jealous of her future, and she of his past.” – Anaïs Nin

The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison, was the miracle.

Passion gives me moments of wholeness.

It is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar.

I know why families were created, with all their imperfections. They humanize you. They are made to make you forget yourself occasionally, so that the beautiful balance of life is not destroyed.

"When I am most deeply rooted, I feel the wildest desire to uproot myself"
“When I am most deeply rooted, I feel the wildest desire to uproot myself.” – Anaïs Nin

If a person continues to see giants, it means he is still looking at the world through the eyes of a child.

We do not escape into philosophy, psychology, and art–we go there to restore our shattered selves into whole ones.

In Favor of the Sensitive Man and Other Essays

Life is a full circle, widening until it joins the circle motions of the infinite.

Truth is something which can’t be told in a few words. Those who simplify the universe only reduce the expansion of its meaning.

Anaïs Nin quote "I will not adjust myself to the world. I am adjusted to myself"
“I will not adjust myself to the world. I am adjusted to myself.” – Anaïs Nin

We hope you are inspired by these beautiful Anaïs Nin quotes! If we forgot one you like, let us know.

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Natalie Seale

Natalie Seale is a writer and researcher with an MA, MSc, and PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh. Natalie is an avid reader, a keen traveller, and enjoys cooking and walking with her English Spaniel. Her posts focus on inspiring ideas and tips that help people learn, gro, and inspire others.

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