• Clodagh Meaney

24 empowering quotes from inspirational people

For today, and any day you need to be uplifted

By Clodagh Meaney

Earlier this week, I watched Beyoncé's Commencement speech given to the Class of 2020, as part of a virtual event hosted by Michelle and Barack Obama.

As someone graduating this year, her words empowered me and helped me to shake off some of the negative feelings I was having.

So, I decided to pull together a list of empowering quotes so that you too can be uplifted today, and any other day!

"To all those who feel different, if you're part of a group thats called other, a group that does not get to be part of centre stage, build your own stage and make them see you."

Beyoncé Knowles Carter

"When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you're winning!"

Greta Thunberg

" The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognising how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations."

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

"Let go of the idea that you are incomplete if you are single. Partners are meant to complement you, not complete you. You are a whole person, not a half. Fill the part of you that feels alone with self love, heal that part of you with ambitions and experiences. Then find someone on your level, who has also done the work, rather than being or dating someone looking to be healed by someone else. Do the work yourself."

―Munroe Bergdorf

"Hating our bodies is something that we learn, and it sure as hell is something that we can unlearn."

―Megan Jane Crabbe

"If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be."

―Maya Angelou

"I seek to dismantle the idea that having a job is a good thing because jobs are an excuse for a social construct whereby a minor social class hoard the means of survival and portion them out as and when they see fit to ultimately allow them to hoard more."

―Naoise Dolan

"I finally realised that owning up to your vulnerabilities is a form of strength."


"Disability is articulated as a struggle, an unnecessary burden that one must overcome to the soundtrack of a string crescendo. But disabled lives are multi-faceted - brimming with personality, pride, ambition, love, empathy, and wit."

―Sinead Burke

"There's something so special about a woman who dominates in a man's world. It takes a certain grace, strength, intelligence, fearlessness, and the nerve to never take no for an answer."


"I am coming down from the mountaintop to tell every young person that is poor and working class, and has been told regardless of the colour of your skin that you don't belong, don't listen to them. They don't even know how they got at those seats,"

―Michelle Obama

"Don't give it five minutes if you're not going to give it five years."

Meghan Markle

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”

Malala Yousafzai

"We gotta break these double-standards and get women to loosen up a bit. We gotta show them that we can do what we want to do how we want to do it. If someone doesn’t like it, they can get to stepping."

– Megan Thee Stallion

"I’m fat and happy. Don’t force your ideals on me and my body because I’m doing just fine without your approval."

– Tess Munster

"I would tell younger Emma that it gets easier. You’ll realise you’re not the only person experiencing this. I’d tell her that one day, not that far in the future, there will be women paying a lot of money to try and look like you, be it from your hairstyle to the features that you’re slagged off for having, like your lips and your bum."

– Emma Dabiri

"Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?"

Frida Kahlo

"I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own."

– Audre Lorde

"Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable."

Janelle Monáe

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.”

– Oprah Winfrey

"History isn't something you look back at and say it was inevitable, it happens because people make decisions that are sometimes very impulsive and of the moment, but those moments are cumulative realities."

– Marsha P. Johnson

"Do not allow people to dim your shine because they are blinded. Tell them to put on some sunglasses because we were born this way."

– Lady Gaga

“I'm beginning to wonder that if, when we call a woman crazy, we should take a look at the man by her side, and guess at what he has done to drive her to insanity.”

Louise O'Neill

"A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn."

– Helen Keller

© 2020 by EMPWR

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