Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes

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These Eleanor Roosevelt quotes are a great source of inspiration from a remarkable First Lady.

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and First Lady from 1934 to 1945. Rather than being content in the background, she helped transform the role into what it is today.

From extensively touring America to boost morale during World War II, to championing social causes and fighting for women’s rights, Eleanor Roosevelt displayed charisma, strength, and an understanding of human nature.

So get inspired by these Eleanor Roosevelt quotes and see the world through her eyes today.

Top 10 Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan"
“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Happiness is not a goal; it’s a by-product of a life well lived.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

Anger is one letter short of danger.

Eleanor Roosevelt quote "You must do the things you think you cannot do"
“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.

Inspiring Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes

You must do the things you think you cannot do.

I never waste time looking back.

You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude.

If you lose money you lose much, If you lose friends you lose more, If you lose faith you lose all.

"Choose a challenge instead of competence"
“Choose a challenge instead of competence.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.

The giving of love is an education in itself.

The future is literally in our hands to mold as we like. But we cannot wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow is now.

Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.

Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.

Every time you meet a situation you think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it, you find that forever after you are freer than you were before.

Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, ‘It can’t be done.’

No man is defeated without until he has first been defeated within.

"Understanding is a two-way street"
“Understanding is a two-way street.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart. Don’t be concerned about whether people are watching you or criticizing you. The chances are that they aren’t paying attention to you.

Work is always an antidote to depression.

When you look fear in the face, you are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

The mind must be trained, rather than the memory.

A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping-stone to the optimist.

Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes, and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.

"All of life is a constant education"
“All of life is a constant education.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.

We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it as not as dreadful as it appears, discovering that we have the strength to stare it down.

Perhaps nature is our best assurance of immortality.

On Personal Traits

People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?

Since everybody is an individual, nobody can be you. You are unique. No one can tell you how to use your time. It is yours. Your life is your own. You mold it. You make it.

"Only a man’s character is the real criterion of worth"
“Only a man’s character is the real criterion of worth.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Character building begins in our infancy and continues until death.

You never know anyone until you marry them.

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.

It is a brave thing to have courage to be an individual; it is also, perhaps, a lonely thing. But it is better than not being an individual, which is to be nobody at all.

Someone once asked me what I regarded as the three most important requirements for happiness. My answer was: A feeling that you have been honest with yourself and those around you; a feeling that you have done the best you could both in your personal life and in your work; and the ability to love others.

Courage is more exhilarating than fear, and in the long run, it is easier.

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.

For our own success to be real, it must contribute to the success of others.

Eleanor Roosevelt quote "What you don’t do can be a destructive force"
“What you don’t do can be a destructive force.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.

Strength that goes wrong is even more dangerous than weakness that goes wrong.

Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.

When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.

A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.

I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.

"I’m so glad I never feel important, it does complicate life!"
“I’m so glad I never feel important, it does complicate life!” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.

Ambition is pitiless. Any merit that it cannot use it finds despicable.

I have spent many years of my life in opposition, and I rather like the role.

The only things one can admire at length are those one admires without knowing why.

On Humanity

We will have to want peace, want it enough to pay for it, before it becomes an accepted rule.

It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.

When you adopt the standards and the values of someone else, you surrender your own integrity. You become, to the extent of your surrender, less of a human being.

We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.

One thing life has taught me: if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you. When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.

"A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think"
“A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.”

We all create the person we become by our choices as we go through life. In a real sense, by the time we are adults, we are the sum total of the choices we have made.

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.

Before we can make friends with anyone else, we must first make friends with ourselves.

It seems to me of great importance to teach children respect for life.

The basis of world peace is the teaching which runs through almost all the great religions of the world. Love thy neighbor as thyself.

Think as little as possible about yourself and as much as possible about other people.

It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.

Hate and force cannot be in just a part of the world without having an effect on the rest of it.

Eleanor Roosevelt on Being a Woman

No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.

A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water"
“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

There are practical little things in housekeeping which no man really understands.

The mother of a family should look upon her housekeeping and the planning of meals as a scientific occupation.

I do not think that I am a natural born mother… If I ever wanted to mother anyone, it was my father.

Related: Don’t forget to see our Strong Women Quotes for more great lines from inspiring ladies.

The battle for the individual rights of women is one of long standing and none of us should countenance anything which undermines it.

Campaign behavior for wives: Always be on time. Do as little talking as humanly possible. Lean back in the parade car so everybody can see the president.

Advice for Country and Party

The word liberal comes from the word free. We must cherish and honor the word free or it will cease to apply to us.

True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on earth, universal brotherhood and good will, and a constant and earnest striving toward the principles and ideals on which this country was founded.

I think if the people of this country can be reached with the truth, their judgment will be in favor of the many, as against the privileged few.

"It is not more vacation we need – it is more vocation"
“It is not more vacation we need – it is more vocation.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes I wonder if we shall ever grow up in our politics and say definite things which mean something, or whether we shall always go on using generalities to which everyone can subscribe, and which mean very little.

Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.

Our own land and our own flag cannot be replaced by any other land or any other flag. But you can join with other nations, under a joint flag, to accomplish something good for the world that you cannot accomplish alone.

The important thing is neither your nationality nor the religion you professed, but how your faith translated itself in your life.

We hope you enjoyed these great Eleanor Roosevelt quotes and feel inspired to look at life a little differently.

Never content to fade into the background, Eleanor Roosevelt continued a remarkable career even after FDR left the White House and she was no longer First Lady. After being appointed to the United Nations General Assembly, she helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

Further years of volunteer work and altruism demonstrated her commitment to people, country, and her personal ideals that courage and conviction are able to conquer any challenge.

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Quincy Seale

Quincy is KIM's editor, and has collected and shared inspiring quotes and stories since 2005. Quincy holds an MBA from the University of Dundee and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and lives in San Antonio with his wife Natalie, son Alex, and his dog Oban.

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