Monthly Quotes: April 2020


Philosophy has a single task of discovering the truth about the divine and human worlds. Philosophy has taught man to worship what is divine, to love what is human, telling us that with the gods belongs authority, and among human beings fellowship.

Seneca, Letter from a Stoic

This is why I look at people like this as a spiritless lot – the people who are forever acting as interpreters and never as creators, always lurking in someone else’s shadow. They never venture to do for themselves the things they have spent such a long time learning. It is one thing, however, to remember, another to know.

Seneca, Letter from a Stoic

No amount of wisdom, as I said before, ever banishes these things; otherwise – if she eradicated every weakness – wisdom would have dominion over the world of nature.

Seneca, Letter from a Stoic

For a person who is not aware that he is doing anything wrong has no desire to be put right. You have to catch yourself doing it before you can reform. Some people boast about their failings: can you imagine someone who counts his faults as merits ever giving thought to their cure? So – to the best of your ability – demonstrate your own guilt, conduct inquiries of your own into all the evidence against yourself.

Seneca, Letter from a Stoic

A person teaching and a person learning should have the same end in the view: the improvement of the latter. A person who goes to a philosopher should carry away with him something or other of value every day; he should return home a sounder man or at least more capable of becoming one.


Seneca, Letter from a Stoic

To win true freedom you must be a slave of philosophy

Seneca, Letter from a Stoic

Therapy elicits odd reactions because, in a way, it’s like pornography. Both involve a kind of nudity. Both have the potential to thrill. And both have millions of users, most of whom keep their use private. Though statisticians have attempted to quantify the number of people in therapy, their results are thought to be skewed because many people who go to therapy choose not to admit it.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

“You need to find a place where you’re not being a therapist,” she adds. “You need to go where you can completely fall apart.”

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

Study after study shows that the most important factor in the success of your treatment is your relationship with the therapist, your experience of “feeling felt.” This matters more than the therapist’s training, the kind of therapy they do, or what type of problem you have.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

People often mistake numbness for nothingness, but numbness isn’t the absence of feelings; it’s a response to being overwhelmed by too many feelings.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

I know that often people create faulty narratives to make themselves feel better in the moment even though it makes them feel worse over time—and that sometimes, they need somebody else to read between the lines.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

Don’t judge your feelings; notice them. Use them as your map. Don’t be afraid of the truth.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

The things we protest against the most are often the very things we need to look at.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

People want to be understood and to understand, but for most of us, our biggest problem is that we don’t know what our problem is. We keep stepping in the same puddle. Why do I do the very thing that will guarantee my own unhappiness over and over again?

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

Anger is the go-to feeling for most people because it’s outward-directed—angrily blaming others can feel deliciously sanctimonious. But often it’s only the tip of the iceberg, and if you look beneath the surface, you’ll glimpse submerged feelings you either weren’t aware of or didn’t want to show: fear, helplessness, envy, loneliness, insecurity. And if you can tolerate these deeper feelings long enough to understand them and listen to what they’re telling you, you’ll not only manage your anger in more productive ways, you also won’t be so angry all the time.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

We tend to think that the future happens later, but we’re creating it in our minds every day. When the present falls apart, so does the future we had associated with it. And having the future taken away is the mother of all plot twists. But if we spend the present trying to fix the past or control the future, we remain stuck in place, in perpetual regret.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

I remember a quote from Einstein: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” I’ve always felt that made sense, but, like most of us, I also believe that I should be able to think my way out of my problem by going over and over how I thought myself into it.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

This was grief: You laugh. You cry. Repeat.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

As the late psychotherapist John Weakland famously said, “Before successful therapy, it’s the same damn thing over and over. After successful therapy, it’s one damn thing after another.”

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

You will inevitably hurt your partner, your parents, your children, your closest friend—and they will hurt you—because if you sign up for intimacy, getting hurt is part of the deal.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

I thought about how many people avoid trying for things they really want in life because it’s more painful to get close to the goal but not achieve it than not to have taken the chance in the first place.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

Reacting vs. responding = reflexive vs. chosen.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

“When you have no choice, you have no discontent either.”

Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar

“Words, after all, are nothing by themselves. They burst into meaning only in the minds they’ve entered.”

Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar

“It’s true what they say – it’s not we who control money, it’s the money that controls us. When there’s only a little, it behaves meekly; when it grows, it becomes brash and has its way with us.”

Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar

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