Inspiration

50 Motivational Quotes Every Woman Should Read

Life hits hard and throws curve balls at us at the most unexpected time. That's why these 50 motivational quotes for women, by women are here.

We may deal with job loss, rejection from work, serious illness, divorce, or even the death of a loved-one. When we are faced with insurmountable circumstances like these, we are sometimes crushed and left feeling weak and powerless.

One thing about us women though is that we are resilient. Women are tougher than what the tough times bring and, no matter what it takes, we will not surrender. These 50 quotes were compiled to motivate you to reclaim your inner power and encourage you to face life’s challenges again head on.

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping-stone to greatness. ~ Oprah Winfrey

oprah winfrey quote

The Queen of All Media couldn’t be more right about this. The truth is: We will fail. We will be rejected countless times. The important thing is we have to change our perspectives about failure. Instead of looking at it as the death of our dreams, let’s look at it as a detour.

If our first attempt didn’t work for us, let’s pick up the lessons we learned then take another route we think will work and apply the lessons learned to our second attempt. If we still do not succeed, let’s not lose heart. We’ll keep trying until we get one step closer to achieving our dreams.

You fail, and then what? Life goes on. It’s only when you risk failure that you discover things. ~ Lupita Nyong’o

There is so much reality in this saying. When we fail, we sometimes wonder how life can continue. We wonder why the world is still going about its business without regard for what we are going through. While we sit in disappointment, life goes on. Whether we fail or succeed, life does not care.

So, if we ever feel like we are failing people around us, failing at our jobs and sometimes failing ourselves, let’s not waste time by contemplating the “failure.” Let’s get back to living as soon as we can and continue following our dreams.

Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. ~ J.K. Rowling

Did you know that when Joanne Kathleen Rowling was writing her first book, she was unemployed and received government grants for her daughter?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was rejected 12 times before it became a best-selling book. It’s comforting to know that she didn’t get to the top in just one strike. It takes an enormous amount of tenacity and courage in order to try and try again. Like her, our eyes should be focused on the prize and not on the seemingly hopeless situation we are in. That’s how we win.

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it. ~ Maya Angelou

It is through the “defeats” we experience in life that we get to know ourselves more: our capabilities, our strengths and weaknesses, our inner power and beauty. This quote from internationally acclaimed author Maya Angelou enables us to thank our “defeats” as it is when we have hit rock bottom that we realize two things: We are powerful and we are unstoppable!

I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship. ~ Louisa May Alcott

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We can’t be best at sailing if we’ve never had to deal with having to sail while there’s a raging storm. So, for us to be skilled sailors, first, there must be a storm. Second, we must be able to sail through the violent winds. Finally, we should be able to continue sailing until the end of the storm. The key is maintaining courage and not backing down regardless of how strong and violent the storm can be.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. ~ Anais Nin

It’s okay to be “defeated.” What’s not acceptable is to “stay defeated.” We stay defeated when we allow negativity to take ahold of us and gain control of the situation. We stay defeated when we allow ourselves to be defined by what happened instead of being accountable for what happened and taking responsibility for changing our situation when we can.

There are some things that are beyond our control and, if they are, let’s stop fretting since we can’t do anything about them. What we have control over is our response to every difficulty we face. We can control our attitude towards it. So let’s make the right decision by responding with courage, no matter how dark the situation may be.

Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use. ~ Ruth Gordon

Tough times are essential for us to strengthen and develop our “courage muscles.” Without adversities, we don’t have a reason to exercise these muscles anyway. If they do, let’s make the most of the opportunity by not backing down and fighting with all the strength we have. That’s how we exercise our “courage muscles.” These wise words from the critically acclaimed stage and television actress Ruth Gordon always come handy when confronted with fear.

The most courageous act is to think for yourself. Aloud. ~ Coco Chanel

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Self-love is a tough thing when we constantly witness ourselves fail, but we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. We are human and we are going to make mistakes. Sometimes we don’t learn from the mistakes we’ve already made and so we make then again. That is okay. We are flawed and imperfect.

What matters most is that we forgive ourselves for our shortcomings, understand the lessons taught by failure, begin again and apply the lessons we learned when necessary. Positive self-talk does not have to be in our minds only. As the epic French fashion designer once said, we can think for ourselves out loud. It may sound silly and ridiculous but it helps. Try it. You’ll discover it works.

You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try. ~ Dolly Parton

Fear stops us from being the best we can be. If we have fear in our hearts, we do not realize our full potential. The first step in being victorious over fear is to find out where that fear is coming from.

We have to get to the root cause. Is it because of the numerous times we didn’t make it that’s why we’re afraid to try again? Is it because of the pain rejection brought us? Is it because we think we can’t make it? Once we’re able to identify the reason behind it, we have to tackle it with positive self-talk.

Our minds should be filled only with positivity. Our focus should be on the silver lining behind every cloud. When our minds have been renewed already, we find confidence and courage again. We can then start over, ready to face life and all the ups-and-downs it brings and stay unshaken no matter what the outcome is.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face…you must do the thing you think you cannot do. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

This word of wisdom from a former First Lady is timeless. When we’ve experienced repeated failure, negative thoughts can attack us and reduce us to small human beings. Fear then comes in and paralyzes us. When afraid, we see how big the situation is instead of how big we are.

However, we must not, even for a moment, let fear win. We have to stomp on it and crush it. We have to believe in ourselves because if we don’t, nobody will. No matter how many times we fall down, we have to find the courage to stand up again and continue.

This quote also tell us that even if we have been through the most horrible situations in life, it is still possible to triumph over fear and everything that gets in the way. There will be circumstances that will shake us and seem harder than previous storms we have had to weather. But if we made it through the previous storms, who says we can’t make it through this time? There’s nothing impossible if we believe.

If there are things you are afraid to do and territories you are afraid to conquer, then you must do them and conquer them now. Why wait when you can take action now? Sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zones in order to gain the strength, courage and confidence we need to be better people.

I think life is always dangerous. Some people get afraid of it. Some people don’t go forward. But some people, if they want to achieve their goal, they have to go. They have to move … ~ Malala Yousafzai

We can take inspiration from the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate when needing a push to achieve goals that seem impossible. The place where Malala Yousafzai lived was run by the Taliban who banned girls from attending school.

Despite how dangerous the situation could be, Malala fought back and stood up for her and other girls’ right to quality education. Because of her courage, the ban on women’s education was lifted and girls were then allowed to attend school. So, let’s take it from Malala. We have to take action so we can turn our dreams to reality.

I choose to make the rest of my life the best of my life. ~ Louise Hay

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This is a very powerful quote from a woman with a very dark past. Louise Hay grew up with an abusive stepfather who raped her when she was 5. She dropped out of high school when she was 15 and gave birth to her first baby at 16.

Her first husband then left her for another woman. Many “bad” things happened to her but she didn’t let these things dictate her future. She’s the author of the New York Times best-selling book You Can Heal Your Life, which is a self-help book that talks about how our thoughts can influence our bodies and is somehow responsible for the diseases we get.

Most of us dwell in our dark pasts, which prevents us from focusing on the now and achieving the tomorrow we’ve always dreamed of. We have to make a conscious decision to choose to be a victor rather than a victim in order to change the course of our lives, like Louise Hay did.

Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination. ~ Mae Jemison

This beautiful quote challenges us not to limit ourselves and others because of how limited our imaginations can be. We can be so much more than who we think we can be and who others think we can be. The limit is ours and other people’s imagination. The possibilities are endless.

Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. Keep fighting for your dreams! ~ Gabby Douglas

Speaking up for ourselves is something most women have a hard time doing since we have been raised in a world that often tells us to keep our thoughts and opinions to ourselves. However, we have to speak up if we want to be heard.

We must find our voices and use them to triumph over all the obstacles in our way.

Light tomorrow with today. ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Today is a result of yesterday. We can make tomorrow brighter by choosing to do better today. Focus on making the most out of the present, the now. If we do it often, we’ll eventually see results.

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. ~ Nora Ephron

Very clear message from a woman who had her fair share of life’s difficulties, Nora Ephron. She’s been divorced twice. When she was pregnant with her second child with her second husband, she discovered that he was having an affair with a mutual friend. To say that it was a heartbreaking situation is an understatement. Whatever our situation is now, we can choose to be the heroine or the victim. The choice is ours.

You have what it takes to be a victorious, independent, fearless woman. ~ Tyra Banks

Tough women are not damsels in distress. Sometimes we don’t need a knight in shining armor to rescue us because we can take care of the job on our own. Our self-reliance and independence shows that we can rise above any of life’s hurdles.

If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it. ~ Erma Bombeck

We can find humor in some situations we cannot fix. We can laugh at ourselves sometimes and not take life so seriously as said by American humorist Erma Bombeck.

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other. ~ Audrey Hepburn

The film and fashion icon said it best: We are not to hold onto our titles, our accomplishments and our material possessions. Instead, we have to hold onto our relationships. The reason that we are able to continue each day, despite how bleak the situation can be, is because we have friends, family and loved ones who support us and love us no matter what. Cherishing our relationships with them while we are still alive is a must.

When I’m tired, I rest. I say, ‘I can’t be a superwoman today.’ ~ Jada Pinkett Smith

This is very practical advice. Sometimes we get caught up in all the tasks at hand that we forget to take time to rest and reflect. There are days we can’t do everything—days when we are just normal women. There are days when we have to drop the “super.” And that is okay.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. ~ Sally Berger

When we fail, it causes us to be cautious of our next steps, which is understandable. But sometimes we spend so much time thinking what the best strategy is that we end up stuck in the planning stage. When this happens, let’s stop planning. Let’s just do it and we’ll be surprised on how everything follows after we decide to take action.

If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. ~ Mary Engelbreit

If you think you can change your situation, then by all means do it. If not, let it go. Don’t waste time, energy and resources on it. Change the way you think about the situation instead and you’ll find yourself accepting it and living with it in no time. It makes life easier and happier.

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. ~ Helen Keller

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Many of us complain of how hard life is for us but here’s Helen Keller, born deaf and blind, telling us to have a change of perspective. The American author was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Instead of using our circumstances as an excuse not to go on with life, we can view it as a challenge for us to be a better version of ourselves. Let’s keep looking at the bright side of life and we’ll get to our destination quicker.

Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about. ~ Marilyn Monroe

This quote sums up how we should live our lives every day. There is always a reason to be happy, a reason to be grateful and a reason to be positive, even if we are faced with the most impossible situations in life.

You are the one that possesses the keys to your being. You carry the passport to your own happiness. ~ Diane von Furstenberg

I couldn’t agree more with the iconic fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. Happiness is our choice. If we are living a miserable life, we can turn it around by choosing to be happy. Unlocking happiness is easy since we are the ones holding the key.

Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it. ~ Margaret Thatcher

We only achieve satisfaction when we’ve worked hard to accomplish something. If we do not take action to change a situation we have control over, or if we do not take start working on something, we lose.

I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. ~ Anne Frank

If there’s one person who has been through the most horrible experiences in life, it’s Anne Frank. She was one of the victims of the Holocaust. Her wartime diary, The Diary of a Young Girl, reflects how positive she was despite all the gruesome, atrocious and unspeakable things happening around her.

Let’s follow her example. No matter how dark the present situation is, let’s find the silver lining. Easier said than done, yes, but we can begin by taking small steps. Try to see the good in every bad situation. If we practice this every day, it will become a habit. Then we can develop a positive attitude, which is a necessary ingredient to a victorious life.

Seeds of faith are always within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth. ~ Susan Taylor

Our faith will never increase if we do not go through trials that test how much we believe in ourselves. The seeds will not grow into trees if we do not water them with courage and faith every day.

People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles. ~ Emily Dickinson

This is very much like the “courage muscles” mentioned earlier by Ruth Gordon. The message is crystal clear: We need the hard times. It’s an opportunity for us to be stronger.

Don’t be the girl who fell. Be the girl who got back up. ~ Jenette Stanley

We are going to get knocked down many times in life. As long as we are breathing, we can always get back up and get on with life. We have to keep on trying until we get to where we want to be. That’s how we should be remembered.

There are two ways of meeting difficulties. You alter the difficulties or you alter yourself to meet them. ~ Phyllis Bottome

Being able to adapt to any difficult situation life hands us is a skill. We develop it by not resisting change and seeing change as something positive, an opportunity to discover new things and new people. If we can’t change the situation and don’t have control over it, we can change ourselves instead. That will guarantee our victory.

Power is not given to you. You have to take it. ~ Beyonce Knowles

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The truth is, power is already within us. We just have to discover it in ourselves. So, when life throws us a challenge, be glad. It means two things. First, it means we are powerful as life does not challenge anyone it deems powerless. And secondly, when we accept the challenge, we discover how powerful we can be. So, let’s find the power within us, get in touch with it and use it to our advantage.

You can’t give up! If you give up, you’re like everybody else. ~ Chris Evert

Don’t give up or give in to life. We want to be like every survivor. We want to outwit, outplay and outlast every circumstance that threatens to thwart our plans. It’s possible if we set our minds to it.

I learned compassion from being discriminated against. Everything bad that’s ever happened to me has taught me compassion. ~ Ellen Degeneres

The most hurtful experiences in life sometimes teach us the most unexpected lessons. When we experience rejection and discrimination, it can be really heartrending. So, when we come across people going through a similar situation as our own, we can identify with them. We feel for them. That’s how we learn empathy.

Instead of retaliating against those who cause us pain, let’s extend them compassion. When they wake up one day and realize their mistakes, they will remember the compassion we generously extended to them and it will make a big difference in their lives.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Know when to laugh at yourself, and find a way to laugh at obstacles that inevitably present themselves. ~ Halle Berry

Laughter may not be the answer to our problems, but it helps. We may find it hard to laugh, or even smile, in the midst of our difficulties but we must at least try. Laughter makes our hearts stronger and when we are physically strong, we are able to perform in a more productive manner.

If you know someone who’s weathering a storm in their personal lives now, try to cheer them up. You’ll find that when you get them to laugh even for one second and they forget their troubles for one moment, you become happy, too.

But it’s a journey and the sad thing is you only learn from experience, so as much as someone can tell you things, you have to go out there and make your own mistakes in order to learn. ~ Emma Watson

It is true that we learn from other people’s experience, but we learn best when we’ve been there and we’ve experienced it firsthand. Why? Because we know exactly how it feels.

We understand exactly how it is to be in that situation. We comprehend clearly what it takes to survive and get out of that situation. It’s something that no one can ever take from us. It’s our own experience, our own lessons and our own journey. We can share the experiences and lessons learned on our journey to greatness, but others really won’t figure it out until they get there themselves.

Perseverance is failing nineteen times and succeeding the twentieth. ~ Julie Andrews

We will not succeed overnight. We will not achieve our dreams within a day or two. We will not fulfill our destinies by taking shortcuts. We will fail, be knocked down, laughed at, shamed, questioned and doubted numerous times. This will happen over and over again. However, one strength all women have is persistence. We aren’t shaken by delays or difficulties. We push through and persevere for until we get what we want.

You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own. ~ Michelle Obama

The First Lady’s message is spot on: We are not just doing ourselves a favor when we choose to be courageous. We are doing the world a favor, too. When people around us know of our story and the courage we possess, we serve as an inspiration to them. They may be battling their own demons and our story may just be what they need to be inspired, find hope and be motivated to rise up from where they are and conquer the world.

So, let’s be courageous not for ourselves, but also for a stranger, friend, neighbor or loved one.

My will shall shape the future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no one’s doing but my own. I am the force. I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice. My responsibility. Win or lose; only I hold the key to my destiny. ~ Elaine Maxwell

Taking responsibility sounds like a big deal and it is. We often encounter people who are afraid of taking responsibility for fear that they may not succeed. How can we know though if we don’t even try? Whatever happens to us, it is our own doing. We can’t blame it on our past, the people around us, our families, our upbringing or our present situation. Let’s stop the blame game. It’s our lives and we make the decisions.

Sometimes, if you want to achieve something great, there will be curve balls. You just have to dodge them every once in a while. ~ Katy Perry

Life is known for having the worst timing ever. It throws us a curve ball at the most impossible times without giving us time to prepare. Sometimes, we get hit in the face, but there are times we are able to dodge these balls. Whether life hits or misses us, there’s one thing to keep in mind: Life and curve balls are inseparable. We might as well prepare when we can.

Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

This piece of advice rings true to everyone who has reached the point where the situation is so hopeless that they are barely holding on. Just when we are about to give up, the situation will turn around. Just when we are about to lose our grip, the sun will shine. Remember, if we are able to hold on this long, why would we lose hold in the end? We can’t. We can do it and we will.

Champions keep playing until they get it right. ~ Billie Jean King

We can all learn from this great advice from a former World No. 1 professional tennis player. On the rare occasion that we get it right on the first try, we feel awesome. But coming from an accomplished tennis player who has 39 Grand Slam titles to her name, it requires a lot of patience in order to achieve what we are aiming for. It takes more than patience. We need that undying passion, relentless determination and indomitable will to succeed.

The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves. ~ Barbara Corcoran

It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be disappointed in yourself. It’s okay to feel stuck. This is all part of being human and a part of the painful process we have to go through in life. However, as the successful businesswoman Barbara Corcoran said, the time we spend crying makes all the difference.

When life hits us hard, it’s natural to weep since we are human beings with emotions, but if we spend too much time weeping rather than taking action to alter the course of our future, we’ll be left behind. Clichéd as it may sound, time is gold and we have to use it wisely.

I attribute my success to this—I never gave or took any excuse. ~ Florence Nightingale

This notion is very simple: Either we find an excuse or we find a way. If we use our circumstances as an excuse, we are stuck. We are not going anywhere. If we find a way to get out of our circumstances and take control of the things within our control (including our attitudes), we will eventually get past our difficulties. And there’s a bonus: We emerge as a new and improved version of ourselves. It’s up to us!

Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got. ~ Janis Joplin

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Another reminder for us to take care of ourselves from one of the famous singer-songwriters of the ‘60s. We tend to neglect ourselves when we deal with pain, loss and grief. Let’s do ourselves a favour by trying not to let ourselves go. We only live once. Let’s make this life matter.

I’ve learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. ~ Martha Washington

A very simple yet powerful thought from a former U.S. First Lady. The decision to be happy or miserable depends on us. Often, we look outside ourselves to be satisfied and achieve happiness. So, when we have problems, it becomes difficult to be happy. We focus on the problem and lose sight of things we possess that can be reasons for us to still be grateful.

The fact that we are still breathing is one reason we should be thankful and happy. When we wake up every day, no matter what we are dealing with, let’s practice finding one thing in our lives that make us thankful and happy. When we develop the attitude of gratefulness, happiness follows.

I am willing to put myself through anything, temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often painful process. ~ Diana Nyad

The American long-distance swimmer’s attitude to the unknown is admirable. She welcomes any kind of experience, even those that bring her pain, as long as it takes her to another level of greatness. It sounds tough at first—because it is—but if we never try, we’ll never know.

Proving people wrong is probably my favorite thing to do. ~ Zooey Deschanel

Regardless of where we are in life, people will always have a thing or two to say about us. And let them, it’s their opinion and their views. They can say whatever they want to say. The power to prove them wrong rests within us and we should use it whenever we need to.

Sometimes painful things can teach us lessons that we didn’t think we needed to know. ~ Amy Poehler

We think when we have been through a lot in life already, we know pretty much everything we need to know—and yet there’s so much we don’t know. There’s so much out there waiting for us to discover. There’s so much more to learn.

These circumstances that bring us pain, grief, sorrow, disappointment, and all varying levels of heartache are exactly what we need for us to move forward in life. They help us get to know ourselves and the people around us better. So if, at some point you, you think you’ve got it all figured out, stop. Life has more to offer us and whether it’s a good or bad thing, there’s a lesson to learn behind everything so let’s welcome all challenges with open arms.

Taylor Swift sums this all up in the following badass advice:

Be that strong girl that everyone knew would make it through the worst, be that fearless girl, the one who would dare to do anything, be that independent girl who didn’t need a man; be that girl who never backed down. Like these fifty ladies, have faith in yourself. If you think you can weather even the most violent storm, you can. And you will!

Did any of these quotes inspire you? Let us know your thoughts and share your experiences in the comments section below!

About the author

Maine Belonio

Maine Belonio is a twenty-something mom and writer who has a penchant for coffee, long distance running, Tolkien, Switchfoot, and Jesus.

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