A photo by Clay Banks from Unsplash showing a Black Lives Matter march
News + Advocacy

5 Quotes for Personal & Social Change

Words can be powerful. They can uplift, inspire, make us laugh, get us thinking, reveal perspectives unseen, fortify, find common ground — and so much more. Choosing how we speak to ourselves or others, coupled with action that comes from those words, arguably, is one of the most impactful things we can do.

We can all learn something from what others choose to talk about. Their stories, life experiences, activism, love, encouragement and motivation can be something we can use in our own lives to make a difference. We can pause, listen, learn, understand and act. Navigating our every day can be hard, but many people have come before us and gifted a shared knowledge that is invaluable to us all.


Here are 5 Quotes for Personal & Social Change

Tokenism is no longer acceptable nor is a feminism that is not inclusive or intersectional. Often progress is seen through a White lens (we celebrate women earning the right to vote in the U.S as happening in 1920, but it wasn’t until decades later that any discrimination or barriers put in place to disenfranchise Native, Black, Asian and Latinx women from voting were removed). Progress must include all women. It’s that simple.

Audre Lorde quote: "I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own."

Wherever it may exist, speaking out against injustice is a responsibility we all hold, whether we are ready to act on it or not. There is no perfect time to raise our voices, there is only now.

John Lewis quote: "When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something."

Land and nature are not a commodity, and our use of it in this way cannot continue. Climate change and the environmental damage we have inflicted so far will not sustain nature’s future (of which we are a part). It’s time to heal what gives us life and — for those of us who have forgotten — to rekindle our connection to the natural world.

Robin Wall Kimmerer quote: "Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us."

There must be consequences to words, thoughts and actions that cause personal harm or systemic injustice. However, if there’s no room for positive change those consequences will become empty and obsolete. If there’s no belief that someone or something can become better, or do better, then what are we hoping for? What are we working towards?

bell hooks quote: "For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed."

Be brave, step outside of your comfort zone every once in a while. Take a step towards something you don’t think you can do, allow yourself to try for things you believe are out of your reach. Take one step and repeat. We all have the capability to surprise ourselves, even when things don’t work out as planned or go how we want. Sometimes where we thought we would end up is not where we are meant to be — and that’s okay.

Anaïs Nin quote: "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."

What are your favourite motivational or inspirational quotes? What words do you live by?

Further Info:

New Research Shows What It Takes To Make Society Change For The Better – Science Daily

21 thoughts on “5 Quotes for Personal & Social Change”

  1. You write so beautifully✨Words have the power change the way we think —I love those quotes! These words so important especially now when we are more divided than ever before


  2. These are really powerful and important quotes! It is super important to speak out when we see something happening that we know is wrong. Staying silent is taking the side of the oppressor. Things cannot change if we don’t make an effort to change what we know needs changed. Thank you for sharing this!


  3. Some lovely quotes you’ve chosen here – my favourite is the Anais Nin one. I also like Saki, “When baiting the mousetrap with cheese, remember to leave room for the mouse.” It always makes me smile!


  4. I loved this ❤️ just what I needed as I’m going through a rather difficult stage of my life. Love all these quotes, probably the last just shades it as my favourite!


  5. These are some powerful quotes! I really liked the last one. Taking the first step is the most important thing in my opinion. Thank you so much for spreading the positivity.


  6. Wow, I love all of these quotes Molly! I think the one by John Lewis is especially relevant now, and I absolutely agree there’s no “right time” to speak up except for now.

    I also really love the last one about the world expanding or shrinking with our courage! So elegantly put, thank you!


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