Helen Keller Quotes

Recharge Your Mind With Helen Keller's Words

Headshot portrait of American educator and activist for the disabled Helen Keller (1880 - 1968), wearing a pearl necklace and a dress with a semi-square cut neckline.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Although Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing at an early age, she lived a long and productive life as an author and activist. She was a pacifist during World War I and a socialist, an advocate for women's rights and a member of the fledgling American Civil Liberties Union. Helen Keller traveled to 35 countries during her lifetime to support the rights of the blind. Her indomitable spirit saw her through her handicap. Her words speak of the wisdom and strength that was the essence of her life.

Helen Keller's Thoughts on Optimism

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows."

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."

"Believe. No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars or sailed to an uncharted land or opened a new heaven to the human spirit."

"What I am looking for is not out there; it is in me."

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."

"Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourself a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere, and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles."

"Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world right in the eye."

The Importance of Faith

"Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light."

"I believe in the immortality of the soul because I have within me immortal longings."

"It gives me a deep, comforting sense that things seen are temporal and things unseen are eternal."

About Ambition

"It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our distant goal."

"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar."

The Joy of Companionship

"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."

"Relationships are like Rome—difficult to start out, incredible during the prosperity of the 'golden age', and unbearable during the fall. Then, a new kingdom will come along and the whole process will repeat itself until you come across a kingdom like Egypt ... that thrives and continues to flourish. This kingdom will become your best friend, your soul mate and your love."

Our Ability

"We can do anything we want if we stick to it long enough."

"I am only one; but still, I am one. I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something. I will not refuse to do something I can do."

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."

"When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life or in the life of another."

Thoughts on Life

"The best and most beautiful things in life cannot be seen, not touched, but are felt in the heart."

"We would never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world."

"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us."

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."

"Life is an exciting business, and most exciting when it is lived for others."

"Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain."

"True happiness ... is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."

The Beauty of Hope

"Once I knew only darkness and stillness. My life was without past or future. But a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness and my heart leaped to the rapture of living."

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it."

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

"To keep our faces toward change, and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate, is strength undefeatable."

The Challenges We Face

"The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse."

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved."

"I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers."

"Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in the world."

"The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision."

Random Musings

"Our democracy is but a name. We vote. What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real—though not avowed—autocrats. We choose between 'Tweedledum' and 'Tweedledee.'"

"People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant."

"Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all—the apathy of human beings."

"It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui."

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

"Knowledge is love and light and vision."

"Toleration is the greatest gift of mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle."

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Khurana, Simran. "Helen Keller Quotes." ThoughtCo, Sep. 3, 2021, thoughtco.com/helen-keller-quotes-2832699. Khurana, Simran. (2021, September 3). Helen Keller Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/helen-keller-quotes-2832699 Khurana, Simran. "Helen Keller Quotes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/helen-keller-quotes-2832699 (accessed May 28, 2023).