eleanor roosevelt quotes

95+ Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes About Life and Equality

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was an American politician, diplomat, activist, and United Nations spokeswoman. Married to Franklin D. Roosevelt, she served as the First Lady during his presidency in office from 1933-1945. She is an inspiration to women around the world. Here are the best Eleanor Roosevelt quotes to show how much of an inspiration she was:

Eleanor Roosevelt: Career

Between 1906 and 1916, Eleanor gave birth to six children with Franklin Roosevelt, including one that died in infancy. In 1918, she filed for divorce from Franklin after discovering that he was having an affair. When he refused–fearing the loss of his political career–they agreed to endure their marriage with different routines, distance, and respect.

Eleanor found a political wife’s duties to be boring, so she continued volunteering at the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. She also joined the Women’s Trade Union League and was active in the New York State Democratic Party. In the White House, she scheduled conferences for female correspondents. She was also vocal about child welfare, housing reform, and equal rights for women and racial minorities. Shortly after Franklin died in 1945, she was appointed as a delegate to the United Nations, where she served on the Commission on Human Rights from 1946 to 1951. She then died in 1962.

Saying that Eleanor Roosevelt was a passionate, vocal member of the Democratic Party would be an understatement. She was a strong and capable woman fighting for equal human rights. Her life can inspire anyone with a good heart and the utmost potentiality. 

Let these quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt serve as motivation, wisdom, and inspiration to step out of your comfort zone and go after your dreams:

eleanor roosevelt quotes
Public domain – Wikipedia

Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes on Women, Men, and Equality

“A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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

“There are practical little things in housekeeping which no man really understands.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“The battle for the individual rights of women is one of long-standing, and none of us should countenance anything which undermines it.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Men and women who live together through long years get to know one another’s failings, but they also come to know what is worthy of respect and admiration in those they live with and in themselves.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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

“No man is defeated without until he has first been defeated within.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Feminist text

Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes on Bravery and Confidence

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to 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.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”-Eleanor Roosevelt

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Courage is exhilarating.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how the character is built.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“It is a brave thing to have the 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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

 “Be confident, not certain.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes for Character Building

“Have convictions. Be friendly. Stick to your beliefs as they stick to theirs. Work as hard as they do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” -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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“I have never felt that anything really mattered but knowing that you stood for the things in which you believed and had done the very best you could.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“To be mature, you have to realize what you value most… Not to arrive at a clear understanding of one’s own values is a tragic waste. You have missed the whole point of what life is for.”

“It is not more vacation we need — it is more vocation.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Anger is one letter short of danger.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Character building begins in our infancy and continues until death.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“It seems to me of great importance to teach children respect for life.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

woman jumping on body of water

Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes on Happiness

“Probably the happiest period in life most frequently is in middle age, when the eager passions of youth are cooled, and the infirmities of age not yet begun.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping-stone to the optimist.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“The most unhappy people in the world are those who face the days without knowing what to do with their time. But if you have more projects than you have time for, you are not going to be an unhappy person. This is as much a question of having imagination and curiosity as it is of actually making plans.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness you are able to give.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“If anyone were to ask me what I want out of life, I would say- the opportunity for doing something useful, for, in no other way, I am convinced, can true happiness be attained.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product of a life well-lived.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes on Humanity

“Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual; you have an obligation to be one. You cannot make any useful contribution in life unless you do this.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“If someone betrays you once, it’s their fault; if they betray you twice, it’s your fault.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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

“When all is said and done, and statesmen discuss the future of the world, the fact remains that people fight these wars.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes on Politics, War, and Leadership

“No one won the last war, and no one will win the next war.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Will people ever be wise enough to refuse to follow bad leaders or to take away the freedom of other people?” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader. A great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

 “Never allow a person to tell you ‘no’ who doesn’t have the power to say ‘yes’.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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Eleanor Roosevelt on Life

“Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Life is like a parachute jump; you’ve got to get it right the first time.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“When life is too easy for us, we must beware, or we may not be ready to meet the blows which sooner or later come to everyone, rich or poor.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Life must be lived, and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“If life were predictable, it would cease to be life and be without flavor.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“It’s your life, but only if you make it so. The standards by which you live must be your own standards, your own values, your own convictions in regard to what is right and wrong, what is true and false, what is important and what is trivial.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes About Love and Friendship

“Enjoy every minute you have with those you love, my dear, for no one can take joy that is past away from you. It will be there in your heart to live on when the dark days come.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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

“It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Friendship with one’s self is all-important because, without it, one can not be friends with anyone else in the world.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“You always admire what you really don’t understand.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“The most important thing in any relationship is not what you get but what you give.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Love can often be misguided and do as much harm as good, but respect can do only good. It assumes that the other person’s stature is as large as one’s own, his rights as reasonable, his needs as important.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Before we can make friends with anyone else, we must first make friends with ourselves.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“If you lose money, you lose much. If you lose friends, you lose more. If you lose faith, you lose all.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

macro photo of five assorted books

Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes About Education and Knowledge

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

“The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life. ” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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

“I am convinced that every effort must be made in childhood to teach the young to use their own minds. For one thing, is sure: If they don’t make up their minds, someone will do it for them.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“If you can develop this ability to see what you look at, to understand its meaning, to readjust your knowledge to this new information, you can continue to learn and to grow as long as you live, and you’ll have a wonderful time doing it.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“The giving of love is an education in itself.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“The mind must be trained, rather than the memory.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“I never waste time looking back.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“All life is a constant education.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Strength that goes wrong is even more dangerous than weakness that goes wrong.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Do Something Great neon sign

Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes on Success and Going After Your Dreams

“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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“As for accomplishments, I just did what I had to do as things came along.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“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.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Choose a challenge instead of competence.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“The very next thing you need to be doing is the thing that terrifies you the most.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Success must include two things: the development of an individual to his utmost potentiality and a contribution of some kind to one’s world.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Your ambition should be to get as much life out of living as you possibly can, as much enjoyment, as much interest, as much experience, as much understanding. Not simply be what is generally called a ‘success.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, ‘It can’t be done.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Other Quotes Eleanor Roosevelt Has Said

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. ” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Work is always an antidote to depression.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Never be bored, and you will never be boring.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“I could not at any age be content to take my place in a corner by the fireside and simply look on. ” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Each of us has… all the time there is. Those years, weeks, hours, are the sands in the glass running swiftly away. To let them drift through our fingers is tragic waste. To use them to the hilt, making them count for something, is the beginning of wisdom.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“My experience has been that work is almost the best way to pull oneself out of the depths.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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

“What one has to usually do can be done.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“The only things one can admire at length are those one admires without knowing why.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“I’m so glad I never feel important; it does complicate life!” -Eleanor Roosevelt

More Quotes:

About the author
January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. January graduated with an English and Literature degree from Columbia University. Read more articles from January on Thought Catalog.

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