30+ Quotes About Strength & Courage In Hard Times

Updated

Courage and strength are virtues we have read about since the beginning of time. There are myths, folk tales, fairy tales, and epics written about courage and the strength to move forward. Even with the wide berth of stories about strength and courage, words can fail us when we need them. It’s no easier when writing to someone who is dealing with a particularly terrible time.

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Whether you’re writing a sympathy card or consoling someone, finding the right words to support can be like looking for gold. At times your words can feel like a dud, or you might not put them together ‘eloquently.’

But you can look for words from powerful artists, authors, and communicators that have said it better in the past. We’ve curated a list of quotes to help bolster your own courage to give comfort to those who need it.

Emotional Quotes About Strength

Strength is often praised as a result of enduring difficulties. What is usually missed is the emotional and taxing grind to gain strength, which is why these reminders matter. Whether you’re looking for similar quotes from books on grief, to inspirational snippets, these are great for cards.

1. "Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." — Dale Carnegie, Author

When the brick wall is insurmountable and you’ve lost any hope, that’s exactly when you have to grit your teeth and just do it. Carnegie insists that’s exactly when the tide turns in your favor.

2.“Courage is not limited to the battlefield or the Indianapolis 500 or bravely catching a thief in your house. The real tests of courage are much quieter. They are the inner tests, like remaining faithful when nobody’s looking, like enduring pain when the room is empty, like standing alone when you’re misunderstood.”  — Charles Swindoll, Preacher

Quiet strength when no one is looking can be braver than saving the world. 

3. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face...The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line, it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady

Roosevelt reminds us that it’s okay to be afraid, but it’s never okay to stop trying. 

4. "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”  — Muhammad Ali, Boxer

As one of the most famous risk-taking legends both in and out of the boxing ring, Ali had the hard-won experience of defying the odds.

5. “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, First Lady

Courage can be infectious, and First Lady Michelle Obama makes sure to carry that across many of her works.

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Quotes About Finding Inner Strength

Being strong is more than just physical workouts and weightlifting, it’s about your heart and spirit. 

6. "Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." — A.A. Milne, Author 

Inner strength is hard to find sometimes. That’s because it requires believing in yourself, even if you feel like you don’t have what it takes. 

7. "And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about." — Haruki Murakami, Author

It’s natural to be afraid of change, but humans are always changing. You might not even recognize yourself afterward, as noted by Murakami. 

8. "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, Author

As humans, we like to avoid defeat at all costs. It’s uncomfortable and heartbreaking. But Angelou insists that defeat can be the best thing that ever happened to you. 

9. "If you can't fly then run if you can't run then walk if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." — Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Minister and Activist

Strength is not always for show nor is it about speed, as some quotes have mentioned above. Civil rights activist King Jr. knew a thing or two about slow, steady progress making all the difference in the world. 

10. "There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise to meet."—William Frederick Halsey, Jr., Naval Officer

It’s easy to imagine that some people are born to be heroes. Real heroes are defined by their choices. 

Religious or Biblical Quotes About Strength

For some people, their faith is what gets them through hard times. 

11. "But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts." — 1 Peter 3:14-15

At the time, the early Christian church was suffering from intense persecution. Peter reminds them that terror pales next to the power of Christ. 

12. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God." — Isaiah 41:10

Powerful verses exist in multitudes in the Bible, including this one from Isaiah. During the toughest times, Isaiah writes that people are never truly alone.

13. "All shall be well, all shall be well...for there is a Force of Love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go."  — Julian of Norwich, Nun

Faith does not belong to religion alone. Having faith in the power of love can also provide energy in difficult times.

14.  "In your faithful love you lead me whom you have saved; by your strength you guide me to your dwelling place."  — Exodus 15:13

It’s comforting to have confidence in your faith and a love that’s more powerful than your own. 

15. "Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong." — 1 Corinthians 16:13

When you lack direction, sometimes all you need is guidance in plainspoken words.

Quotes About Finding Strength in Illness

Feeling physically ill can drain any energy reserved for strength, courage, and morale. Despite the drain, hanging onto a choice phrase or mantra may give you a boost. You can read our picks for encouraging quotes if you're looking for more.

16. "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."— Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Minister and Activist

It can be easier to show strength when the winds are in your favor. As Rev. King says, it’s when you are buffeted by change that shows your true character.

17. "Tough times never last, but tough people do." — Robert H. Schuller, Preacher

Moments of difficulty are just that, simply moments. Knowing that everything eventually ends at some point can provide some solace.

18. "We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated." — Maya Angelou, Author

Any failure can make a person stronger, not weaker. It’s all about your point of view and willingness to try.

19. "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." — Nelson Mandela, Activist

Political leader and figure Nelson Mandela has a lot of wise words about life, but taking them with knowing his plight in life can inspire further courage in spite of fear.

20. “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman Statesman 

Knowing that you’re alive in spite of a serious illness can truly feel like a feat of strength and courage.

Quotes About Family Strength

Leaning on your family during hard times is a great survival mechanism. 

21. "In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony." - Eva Burrows, Entrepreneur

Family is not the only thing that unites us in times of hardship, but love for each other.

22. "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” - Lao Tzu, Scholar 

Lao Tzu strikes at the vulnerable core of loving someone, because nothing can be more inspiring and also more terrifying than love. That is strength.

23. “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” — Frederick Buechner, Author

Memories of people, their voices, their hugs, and affections can push us through even when we are alone.

24. “The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.” — Charles Kuralt, Journalist

After all, family and friends are the ones that show up during tough times, as wealth and privilege cannot shield everyone during an impossible moment. 

25. “Nothing purchased can come close to the renewed sense of gratitude for having family and friends.” - Courtland Milloy, Author

Getting satisfaction from the people around you is the most rewarding thing. 

Quotes About Finding Physical Strength

Being physically strong starts with mental strength.

26. "I always felt that my greatest asset was not my physical ability, it was my mental ability."  — Caitlyn Jenner, Athlete

Even if you feel physically weak, your mental strength is what enables you to cross the finish line. 

27. "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." — Confucius, Scholar

Failure and falling feel the same mentally and physically. The difference afterward is always whether or not you get up again.

28. "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."  — Babe Ruth, Baseball Player

Like mentioned above, failure and falling are inevitable. Trying again increases the chance of getting better.

29. "It always seems impossible until it's done." — Nelson Mandela, activist

The fear of starting something, or even finding the energy to finish a task can be daunting. When you keep moving, you can look back on what you’ve accomplished, while getting closer to your final goal.

30. "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."  — Anaïs Nin, author

Sometimes, your own self-perception limits can limit your opportunities.

Consoling Others Through Written Words

Tales of strength and courage can provide inspiration to imagine a better world, or an easier time. With quotes of encouragement, you can send all the best goodwill available to motivate a loved one to push through a hard task. For example, if a loved one started an end-of-life plan, you might be able to help them execute it. Otherwise, taking the time to share words from others who have survived the insurmountable might just be enough. 


Sources

  1. Acosta, Gabriel. “30 Inspirational Quotes for When the Going Gets Tough.” University of Southern California. 28 February 2014, msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/31-inspirational-quotes-for-when-the-going-gets-tough/
  2. Hopler, Whitney. “Famous Quotes on Courage and Leadership.” George Mason University. 18 October 2017, wbu.gmu.edu/famous-quotes-on-courage-and-leadership/
  3. Hopler, Whitney. “Famous Quotes on Family, Friends, and Well-Being.” George Mason University. 19 September 2017, wellbeing.gmu.edu/articles/11102
  4. Xavier University. “Courage Quotes.” n.d., www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/quote-archive1/courage-quotes
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