Eleanor Roosevelt's Most Inspiring Quotes

Eleanor Roosevelt was a human rights activist, feminist, and filled to the brim with gumption. To celebrate her impressive legacy, we've rounded up the former First Lady's greatest pieces of wisdom.

united states september 01 eleanor roosevelt during the franklin roosevelt electoral campaign at kansas city in missouri on september 1932 photo by keystone francegamma keystone via getty images
(Image credit: Keystone-France)

"Have convictions. Be friendly. Stick to your beliefs as they stick to theirs. Work as hard as they do."

"With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts."

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

"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 at democratic national convention

(Image credit: Bettmann)

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway."

"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."

"Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn't have the power to say yes."

"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 and mei ling chiang

(Image credit: Bettmann)

"It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself."

"If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor."

"The battle for the individual rights of women is one of long standing and none of us should countenance anything which undermines it."

"Hate and force cannot be in just a part of the world without having an effect on the rest of it."

"It is not more vacation we need — it is more vocation."

eleanor roosevelt

(Image credit: Fotosearch)

"The giving of love is an education in itself."

"Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."

"Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life."

"Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give."

"A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water."

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(Image credit: ARCHIVES)

"Do one thing every day that scares you."

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

"Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart."

"No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful."

"You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude."

eleanor roosevelt in closeup pose

(Image credit: Bettmann)

"To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart."

"If someone betrays you once, it's their fault; if they betray you twice, it's your fault."

"Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be."

"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

(Image credit: Keystone)

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Hallie has worked in beauty editorial for ten years and has been editorial director at Byrdie since 2021. Previously, she was a senior editor at Byrdie since 2016. During her time at Byrdie, she's written hundreds of high-performing stories on skincare, wellness (including fitness, diet, mental health, body image, et al) makeup, and hair. She's a regular on set, helping to source inspiration for makeup and hair looks, as well as interviewing celebrities, models, and other notable women and men in the beauty space.

Before that, Hallie ran Marie Claire's social media and wrote beauty and culture stories for the site, and helped launch Time Inc.'s digital-only beauty brand, MIMI. After college, she contributed to Time Out New York’s Shopping & Style section before landing her first beauty editor gig at Hearst's Real Beauty. Hallie's writing has also appeared in ELLE, Cosmopolitan, and InStyle. Hallie graduated with a BA in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.