Quotes About Resilience That Show The Power Of The Human Spirit

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated March 27, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Life often has a way of throwing us curveballs when we least expect it. From personal setbacks to global crises, many people face challenges that test their strength and determination. Yet, time and time again, we witness the capacity of the human spirit to recover, rise above adversity, and thrive.

Resilience is a useful ability that helps us navigate the unpredictable journey of life and move forward even when everything seems to be falling apart. 

In this article, we'll examine the topic of resilience, exploring its definition and the characteristics it consists of. We'll also highlight several quotes that may inspire resilience in different aspects of life, drawing inspiration from the wisdom of notable figures who have triumphed over immense challenges. From leaders and visionaries like Nelson Mandela, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Maya Angelou, these words illustrate the indomitable human spirit and encourage us to keep pushing forward, even when the road ahead seems uncertain.

Resilience can help you rise above adversity

What is resilience?

Resilience, put simply, is the ability to adapt and move forward in the face of adversity. Resilience is not an inborn trait available only to a lucky few, but rather a skill that can be cultivated and nurtured over time. 

Resilient individuals often possess a unique set of characteristics that enable them to withstand and overcome life's challenges with grace and fortitude. Among these characteristics is optimism. When we cultivate a positive outlook, we can reframe challenges as opportunities for growth and personal development. Optimism can act as a protective shield, protecting us from the detrimental effects of stress and fostering a belief in our ability to overcome obstacles. Other characteristics that are common in resilient people include humor, social support, and active coping.

Research has also demonstrated the benefits of resilience. For instance, a 2023 study published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found a strong association between resilience and quality of life in individuals with mental disorders.

Resilience in overcoming adversity

Throughout history, numerous individuals have embodied and articulated the essence of resilience, demonstrating the remarkable power of the human spirit. Here are some quotes that capture the courage and tenacity of those who have triumphed over adversity:

"The greatest glory of living lies not in never falling but in rising every time you fall." - Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, a pillar of strength and resilience, endured years of imprisonment for his beliefs. His words remind us that it is not the absence of failure that defines us but rather our ability to rise from the depths of adversity.

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." - Maya Angelou

These words from Maya Angelou, visionary author, poet, and civil rights activist, remind us that we cannot guarantee a life free of pain or struggles, but we can choose to rise above them and become stronger in their wake. This is resilience.

Resilience in personal challenges

Resilience extends beyond overcoming external adversities and can have a significant impact in navigating personal struggles. Here are some quotes that emphasize the importance of resilience in self-improvement and personal growth:

"Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving; we get stronger and more resilient." - Dr. Steve Maraboli

Dr. Steve Maraboli, a motivational speaker and author, reminds us that life's difficulties can shape us into stronger individuals. By cultivating resilience, we can develop the inner strength necessary to weather life's storms.

"A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure." - Henry Kissinger

With this quote, Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, illustrates the transformative power of resilience. Rather than breaking us, adversity has the potential to refine and polish our character, allowing our true brilliance to shine through.


Resilience in pursuit of goals

Resilience plays a pivotal role in pursuing our dreams and aspirations. Difficulties and setbacks are fairly inevitable, but with resilience, we can remain focused on our goals despite the obstacles that may come our way. Here are some quotes to remind us of this concept:

"Successful people have fear, successful people have doubts, and successful people have worries. They just don't let these feelings stop them." - T. Harv Eker

Author and motivational speaker T. Harv Eker's words illustrate the power of resilience in our journey toward success. The road to achievement is rarely smooth, but with resilience, we can remain motivated and determined in spite of our fears and doubts.

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

In 1945, former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered these words to the American people encouraging strength and hope. By challenging the limitations imposed by self-doubt, we can unlock a wellspring of resilience, propelling us toward the realization of our goals.

Resilience in relationships and loss

The effect of resilience also extends to our relationships and experiences of loss and change. Resilience empowers us to navigate these tumultuous waters with strength and adaptability. Here are some quotes to remind us of the importance of resilience in navigating these difficult moments:

"The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive." - John Green

John Green, an author renowned for his introspective works, reminds us of the healing power of forgiveness. Resilience in relationships involves the ability to let go of past hurts and embrace the transformative power of compassion and understanding.

"Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before." - Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards, an author and activist, emphasizes the importance of accepting what is rather than clinging to our old reality. Through resilience, we can find joy in our changed circumstances and discover new opportunities for personal growth.

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react." - Charles R. Swindoll

These words from author and pastor Charles R. Swindoll capture the essence of resilience in the face of life's unexpected twists and turns. Our reactions to circumstances, rather than the circumstances themselves, hold the key to resilience. By choosing empowering responses, we can seize control of our lives and forge a path forward.

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Resilience can help you rise above adversity

If cultivating resilience in your life is something you would like to explore more deeply, consider seeking help from an experienced online therapist. An online therapist can provide guidance, support, and resources to help you learn how to practice resilience and develop the inner strength necessary to adapt to life’s challenges.  

When trying to build resilience in the face of challenges, you may find that unexpected hurdles arise at unexpected times; this is often how life goes—we can’t always anticipate what it will throw at us. When this happens, you may find it helpful to be able to reach out to your therapist in those exact moments when a hurdle arises. With online therapy through BetterHelp, you can use in-app messaging to reach out to your therapist at any time, and they will respond as soon as they can. 

Research has shown that online therapy can be effective for building resilience. For instance, one such study examined the efficacy of a web-based intervention for resilience among college students. The study found that all participants demonstrated “significant improvements in resilience, well-being, and self-esteem,” thus confirming the positive effects of the online resilience intervention. 


Resilience, or the ability to adapt and move forward in the face of challenges, is a skill that each person can learn and develop. With the right tools and support, we can discover our inner strength and use it to rise above adversity and create positive change in our lives. Through the words of individuals who have embodied resilience, we can be reminded of the potential held within each one of us. For additional support with cultivating resilience in your life and developing the skills to weather life’s storms, an online therapist can help.
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