Psychology’s Defining Words And How They Came Into Being

A lot of people would argue speech is what made us the way we are right now.

On a biological level, the ability to speak, read and write has led to massive differences in our brains, and on a psychological level, the effects are sometimes even more significant.

The talent to use words correctly in any form is undeniable in some people, and we can see how they can single-handedly turn the whole world upside down with just a few speeches.

In all the different spheres of psychology, words are the most used tools, which is a statement of how powerful they are.

The right sentences can change the minds of everyone reading or hearing them and do so with ease.

Here we have listed some of the most famous quotes by modern psychologists in an attempt to show just how magical and powerful words can be.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

– Wayne Dyer

This first quote teaches us about perspective. How we look at something, what we feel, and how we decide to change it are all questions that matter more than what the thing itself is.

This focus on perception was first attributed to Max Planck.

However, Wayne Dyer expanded on this in his book “The Power Of Intention.”

The idea behind this powerful quote is very simple – Most things are fairly neutral when our senses detect them.

When detected, however, we have a certain perception, feeling, and belief about what we’re seeing/feeling/hearing, etc.

Therefore, we don’t sense things as they are but as we perceive them to be.

Change your perception, and you’ll change your reality.

“Don’t compare yourself with other people. Compare yourself with who you were yesterday. “

-Jordan Peterson

This is one of the rules that Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson suggests in his book.

The book itself is called “The 12 Rules Of Life and Antidote To Chaos,” and in it, the author shares that he often compares himself to his wife, his colleagues, his former classmates, and random people and focuses on how that affects him.

Although it provides a larger perspective regarding the outside world, we often start seeing life as a race when we compare ourselves to anyone else.

This can be rather tiring especially given the fact that in our heads, we often don’t come up on top of the race.

Comparing yourself to your own past, however, shows how far you’ve gotten, and this not only gives you more energy but it makes you want to achieve even more.

“The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well. “

– Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler was an Austrian psychotherapist who founded the school of individual psychology.

In this quote, he is regarding people who are higher up and how they might seem the epitome of the norm, but that’s never truly the case.

To him, the norm is something we believe in, but it is never as we imagined.

With these words, Adler reassures that nothing is as perfect as it seems and therefore, we shouldn’t feel threatened by the accomplishments of others.

“Immature love says I love you because I need you. Mature love says I need you because I love you.”

– Erich Fromm

This is maybe one of the most influential social psychologists – he was a german jew who managed to flee the nazi regime and settle in the US.

In one of his many books, “The Art Of Loving,” he shares his ideas on man’s most defining feelings, including love.

His idea is that love is a process and a very difficult one and that most people have the wrong idea about it.

The first part defines how most people view love through a lens of dependency – as an object to be received, which only brings hardship.

The second one is based on the uniqueness of both people and their emotions – it reveals that love should come before need and that only then, it is genuine.

“Becoming is better than being.”

– Carol Dweck

This quote is from a book called “Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success” that was written in 2006 by American psychologist Carol Dweck.

The sentence following this quote gives the reason why becoming is better than being.

This implies that if you have a fixed mindset, you don’t have the luxury to evolve – you have to already be the thing in question.

The author distinguishes two kinds of mindsets – the fixed one, explained above, and the growth one, which stimulates motivation and thus progress.

The way it does that is it eliminates the boundaries one has set on themselves and allows them to push forward despite setbacks, mainly because they do not see anything as set in stone.

“Trauma is not what happens to us but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathic witness.”

– Peter A. Levine

Peter A. Levine is an American biophysicist, psychologist, and trauma therapist.

He is the inventor of Somatic Experiencing Therapy and has written many studies and books regarding the subject, his most famous being “Waking The Tiger: Healing Trauma”.

This quote explains that trauma is an inner feeling and not the event itself.

Therefore, it can be healed or prevented if the person is in the right environment.

This look at traumatic experiences gives hope to people dealing with disorders such as PTSD.

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”

– Scott Peck

Scott Peck was an American Psychiatrist best known for his book “The Road Less Travelled,” in which he shares the attributes he believes make people feel fulfilled.

He supports self-discipline and self-reliance, which lead to an optimal way of life.

The confidence which comes with knowing your values and standing up to them allows you to give yourself the credit you deserve and demand what you know you’re due.

The author of this quote lived a busy life filled with important people, and he shares that this realization really helped him keep his head above water and remember his worth.

“Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it.”

– Albert Schweitzer

This man was a monument for human possibilities – he was a philosopher, theologian, physician, humanitarian, writer, organist, and musicologist.

He received the Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy of “Reverence Of Life” and worked against nuclear weapons and tests with Albert Einstein.

His view against colonialism led him to become a physician in Africa and later advocate for ethical improvement.

To Albert, happiness was real, only if you had a solitary worldview, which made it multiply once shared.

You can see through his fascinating life how many possibilities this way of thinking unlocks.

“We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.”

– William Glasser

This is the essence of the choice theory – an idea that all behavior is purposeful, and it’s nothing but an attempt to satisfy one or more of our basic human needs, which stem from our genetics.

William Glasser was an American psychiatrist who advocated educating all of society on mental issues in order to help better our surrounding environment.

He believed that most mental problems were due to personal unhappiness and a lack of meaningful connection with important people for the individual.

He stood against old-school teachings of psychiatry, which diagnosed many patients with mental disorders and prescribed numerous medications.

“There is no certainty. There is only adventure.”

– Roberto Assagioli

This Italian psychiatrist invented the movement known as psychosynthesis and had some pioneering theories in humanistic and transpersonal psychology.

The fascists arrested him during the second world war with accusations of “praying for peace.”

Because of that, he had his farm burned and went into hiding with his wife and son, who passed away at the early age of 28 due to lung disease.

After the war, he continued working on his legacy (Psychosynthesis) and had a long and happy marriage until his death in 1974.

Although many people may have been unable to survive such tragedies, Roberto saw life as an ever-changing flow and tried focusing on its more positive events.

This is how he came to the conclusion that there is only adventure.

“Genuine feelings cannot be produced, nor can they be eradicated. The body sticks to the facts.”

– Alice Miller

Alice Miller was a Polish-Jewish psychologist, psychoanalyst, and philosopher, mainly famous for her books on child abuse.

Her most famous book, “The Trauma Of The Gifted Child,” shows her views against the loss of love in childhood, for which this quote is very accurate.

However, she doesn’t implement this way of thinking in just a negative aspect.

She also believes that our body remembers positive emotions and experiences and that this is the way we choose what to do in future similar situations.

“If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you will be unhappy for the rest of your life.”

– Abraham Maslow

Maslow is known by the world for his pyramid diagram, which explains the hierarchy of needs.

This quote, however, focuses on something different. 

Here, the American psychologist offers some much-needed perspective on how we view ourselves.

A very common human flaw is that we undermine our own activities because we don’t believe in ourselves enough.

Stopping yourself in this way can nullify all of the progress you otherwise would be able to achieve.

Maslow believes that we are capable of way more than what we give ourselves credit for and that we should act accordingly.

“It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly light-hearted. Yet everyone takes the happy person for granted.”

– Gretchen Rubin

This five-times best-selling author specializes in habits, happiness, and human nature.

In this quote, she shares her view on how happiness looks on the outside versus what it actually takes.

For her, being happy is a selfless act not just because of the effort the person dedicates to it, but because other people depend on the person way more – from their perspective, you have fewer worries, and therefore they don’t feel like a burden when asking for help.

Rubin has a very specific look at what being satisfied and joyous is and how you can achieve it so that it’s consistent, and she shares these insights in her books, her blog, and her podcast.

“Knowledge is an antidote to fear.”

– Gerd Gigerenzer

This German psychologist studies how our brains learn and rationalize.

Mr. Gigerenzer has written several books regarding the matter, especially in the context of risk-taking.

This quote states that people who have more extensive knowledge tend to act more rationally because they’re not as afraid as others.

Knowing more in a situation gives you clear-headedness, and you can be objective about the grander picture, thus making a more calculated decision.

“Perception is a clash of mind and eye, the eye believing what it sees, the mind seeing what it believes.”

– Robert Brault

This author has been dealing with the human condition and thought process for over 40 years.

In this quote, he explains how different the outside world and our perceptions of it may be and how much we depend on both.

In his eyes, the complete picture of how we view the world is entirely dependent on what is objectively there, and our interpretation of it based on our emotions.

He believes that this is why we all see our surroundings in a unique way and where all the beauty of the world is.

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote is attributed to an American essayist, philosopher, and lecturer who led the transcendentalist movement.

In it, he explains that our ideas have much more power than the credit we sometimes give them.

Although neurology research proves there is a physical change in our brains when we acquire new information, Emerson isn’t talking about that in this quote.

What is important here is the notion that ideas as a concept are so powerful that they can widen our perceptions of the world as a whole.

With this in mind, the author suggests that we should allow ideas to change our minds and maybe potentially open up ways in which we can then change the world.

So you see, words carry an immense amount of power.

Every part of our existence is in some way connected to words and their meaning.

The people that have a talent in writing or speaking have the power to reshape everything around them, not just in the current moment but to have a lasting effect on their audience, their emotions, thoughts, and actions.

Psychologists through the years have proven how correctly delivered ideas can reshape people’s lives, and many choose to help in just this way.

So hey, take a note of these famous quotes and remind yourself of them every now and then!

With time, you will even come up with your own quotes, which you should write down, too!


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