“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Rainer Maria RilkeRainer Maria Rilke

“Look inside yourself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives there. See whose face it wears.”

Audre LordeAudre Lorde

“Do not despise your inner world. That is the first and most general piece of advice I would offer… Our society is very outward-looking, very taken up with the latest new object, the latest piece of gossip, the latest opportunity for self-assertion and status. But we all begin our lives as helpless babies, dependent on others for comfort, food, and survival itself. And even though we develop a degree of mastery and independence, we always remain alarmingly weak and incomplete, dependent on others and on an uncertain world for whatever we are able to achieve…A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger. But for that very reason we are often ashamed of our emotions, and of the relations of need and dependency bound up with them. We are all going to encounter illness, loss, and aging, and we’re not well prepared for these inevitable events by a culture that directs us to think of externals only, and to measure ourselves in terms of our possessions of externals. What is the remedy of these ills? A kind of self-love that does not shrink from the needy and incomplete parts of the self, but accepts those with interest and curiosity, and tries to develop a language with which to talk about needs and feelings. Storytelling plays a big role in the process of development. As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves. As we grow older, we encounter more and more complex stories — in literature, film, visual art, music — that give us a richer and more subtle grasp of human emotions and of our own inner world. So my second piece of advice, closely related to the first, is: Read a lot of stories, listen to a lot of music, and think about what the stories you encounter mean for your own life and lives of those you love. In that way, you will not be alone with an empty self; you will have a newly rich life with yourself, and enhanced possibilities of real communication with others.”

Martha NussbaumMartha Nussbaum

“It is with acts of attention that we decide who to hear, who to see, and who in our world has agency. In this way, attention forms the ground not just for love, but for ethics.”

Jenny OdellJenny Odell

“Love was an action, an instinct, a response roused by unplanned moments and small gestures, an inconvenience in someone else’s favor.”

Michelle ZaunerMichelle Zauner

“To love is to enter into the inevitability of one day not being able to protect what is most valuable to you.”

Mohsin HamidMohsin Hamid

“It’s quite an undertaking to start loving somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment right at the start where you have to jump across an abyss: if you think about it you don’t do it.”

Jean-Paul SartreJean-Paul Sartre

“When you defend those who are absent, you retain the trust of those present.”

Stephen CoveyStephen Covey

“Derrida remarked that friendship’s driver isn’t the pursuit of someone who is just like you. A friend, he wrote, would ‘choose knowing rather than being known.’ I had always thought it was the other way around.”

Hua HsuHua Hsu

“Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart,
Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose looming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,
and once again I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.”

Wendell BerryWendell Berry