71 Inspirational Quotes on Understanding

How can a better understanding of ourselves and the world around us help us?

That’s what I want to explore in this post filled with the very best quotes on understanding.

These timeless, thought-provoking thoughts from the past 2300 years will help you to build a deeper, richer and more successful life.

And if you want more motivation and wisdom from the past then have a look at these you are enough quotes and this post with quotes on knowing your worth and value.

Quotes About Understanding Life and Yourself

A boy learning from a book.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
Carl Jung

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.”
Dale Carnegie

“Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow. Delay may give clearer light as to what is best to be done.”
Aaron Burr

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
Galileo Galilei

“You don’t need strength to let go of something. What you really need is understanding.”
Guy Finley

A woman learning and finding a deeper understanding.

“Everyone hears only what he understands.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”
Kahlil Gibran

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”
Marie Curie

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.”
Richard Bach

“You do not understand even life. How can you understand death?”

“Furious activity is no substitute for understanding.”
H.H Williams

“If we are to live together in peace, we must come to know each other better.”
Lyndon Johnson

Hot air balloons rising in the golden hour.

“A matter that becomes clear ceases to concern us.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

“The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather what he does not say.”
Kahlil Gibran

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Søren Kierkegaard

“Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”
John Steinbeck

“We are all so desperate to be understood, we forget to be understanding.”
Beau Taplin

“The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective.”
James Patterson

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

A Salvador Dali-esque image of two people at a bar floating in different directions.

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
Khalil Gibran

“If you know the why, you can live any how.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

“Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky

“Understanding your past can help you create a better future.”
Robert Tew

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see in truth that you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
Kahlil Gibran

“Just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist.”
Madeleine L’Engle

“Don’t you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand? Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn’t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don’t expect to see.”
Douglas Adams

A girl learning from a book while different colors swirl over her head.

The highest activity a human being can attain is learning to understand because to understand is to be free.”
Baruch Spinoza

“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”
Dalai Lama

Quotes About Understanding Love and Relationships

“Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.”
Paulo Coelho

“Do not seek the because – in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.”
Anaïs Nin

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.”

“One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people.”
John O’Donohue

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.”
Henri Nouwen

A loving couple looking over a lake in a watercolor painting.

“If I know what love is, it is because of you.”
Herman Hesse

“Love does not dominate; it cultivates.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”
Marvin J. Ashton

“You know it’s love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you’re not part of their happiness.”
Julia Roberts

“It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
Dr. Seuss

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.”
Roy T. Bennett

“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”
Anaïs Nin

The silhouettes of a woman and a man merging with roses on each side of them.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

“The art of love is largely the art of persistence.”
Albert Ellis

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
Elbert Hubbard

“To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.”
Criss Jami

“The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.”
Blaise Pascal

“Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s greatest gifts. It involves many things, but above all the power of going out of one’s self and appreciating what is noble and loving in another.”
Thomas Hughes

“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
James Baldwin

A woman running away on the side of a paved road.

“If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.”
Barbara De Angelis

“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

“A woman knows the face of the man she loves as a sailor knows the open sea.”
Honore de Balzac

“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.”
Albert Schweitzer

You might also find this post with quotes about toxic people helpful to navigate your relationships.

Quotes About Not Understanding

“Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.”
Lemony Snicket

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
Albert Einstein

“Rabbit’s clever,” said Pooh thoughtfully.
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit’s clever.”
“And he has Brain.”
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit has Brain.”
There was a long silence.
“I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that’s why he never understands anything.”
A.A. Milne

A woman trying to talk to a man that doesn't understand what she's saying.

“Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.”

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
Upton Sinclair

“Sometimes it’s not enough to know what things mean, sometimes you have to know what things don’t mean.”
Bob Dylan

“Knowing is not understanding. There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it.”
Charles Kettering

“I know you despise me; allow me to say, it is because you do not understand me.”
Elizabeth Gaskell

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Quotes About Patience and Understanding

“Be patient and understanding. Life is too short to be vengeful or malicious.”
Phillips Brooks

A woman meditating at the top of a mountain while butterflies fly around her.

“Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Have the patience to wait! Be still and allow the mud to settle.”
Lao Tzu

“Patience is the mark of true love. If you truly love someone, you will be more patient with that person.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.”
Paulo Coelho

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.“
Albert Einstein

“What do you first do when you learn to swim? You make mistakes, do you not? And what happens? You make other mistakes, and when you have made all the mistakes you possibly can without drowning – and some of them many times over – what do you find? That you can swim? Well – life is just the same as learning to swim! Do not be afraid of making mistakes, for there is no other way of learning how to live!”
Alfred Adler

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.”
St. Augustine

“An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.”
Charles F. Kettering

“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.”

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in your mind.”
David G. Allen

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • I always enjoy your inspirational quotes. Thanks for compiling these and I look forward to many more.

  • Great quotes. Thanks for sharing them.

  • Thanks. I´m glad you liked the quotes.

  • mamta sharma

    Inspiring quotations makes one think about the realities of life in simple words.They give positive energy and provide solution to our problems

  • mamta sharma

    Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom with us.Its an attempt that I appericiate

  • Inspirational words of wisdom.


  • Natalie

    Hi Henrik,

    I found your webpage by luck, in the right time of my life, when I really needed to those positive & wisdoms. I just wanted to share this with you and thank you; because you really samved my life
    Thank you

  • Shashwat

    After reading these quotes,when I look at the Sun I don’t hate it because of the heat but admire it for it’s beauty…………..

  • Hi,

    The quotes u have compiled, gave a new angle of thought.
    Liked the quote about delaying the work :)

    Good Work
    Keep Going


  • nidhi

    it’s grt 2 read these amazing , simple but true thots….keep up the good work…knowledge is 2 b shared like u doing…m a negative person n so its helpful for me..


  • Nagaraj.K

    Dear Henrik Edberg,

    I have gone through your articles they are really inspiring and also they do work. They surely change lives, if everyone do them with out failing and with consistancy.

    I have tried few and i getting results.

    You are Really great….

    please keep posting….


  • i like want dr.jung said ,and i believe that with all my mind