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    etty hillesum Quotes

    And I believe that I will never be able to hate any human being for his so-called 'wickedness,' that I shall only hate the evil that is within me, though hate is perhaps putting it too strongly even then. In any case, we cannot be lax enough in what we demand of others and strict enough in what we demand of ourselves.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: evil  believe  hate  human 
     
    There are moments when I feel like giving up or giving in, but I soon rally again and do my duty as I see it: to keep the spark of life inside me ablaze.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: moment  giving 
     
    That I should die next week, I would still be able to sit at my desk all week and study with perfect equanimity, for I know now that life and death make a meaningful whole.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: death  die 
     
    I don't want to be anything special. I only want to try to be true to that in me which seeks to fulfill its promise.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: true 
     
    How rash to assert that man shapes his own destiny. All he can do is determine his inner responses.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: men 
     
    I feel like a small battlefield in which the problems, or some of the problems, of our time are being fought out. All one can hope to do is keep oneself humbly available, to allow oneself to be a battlefield. After all, the problems must be accommodated, have somewhere to struggle and come to rest and we, poor little humans, must put our inner space at their service and not run away.
    — Etty Hillesum
    A large group of us were crowded into the Gestapo hall, and at that moment the circumstances of all our lives were the same. All of us occupied the same space, the men behind the desk no less than those about to be questioned. What distinguished each of us was only our inner attitude.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: men  live  attitude  moment  space 
     
    I really see no other solution than to turn inwards and to root out all the rottenness there. I no longer believe that we can change anything in the world until we first change ourselves. And that seems to me the only lesson to be learned.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: lessons  world  believe 
     
    Sometimes I long for a convent cell, with the sublime wisdom of centuries set out on bookshelves all along the wall and a view across the cornfields-there must be cornfields and they must wave in the breeze-and there I would immerse myself in the wisdom of the ages and in myself. Then I might perhaps find peace and clarity. But that would be no great feat. It is right here, in this very place, in the here and the now, that I must find them.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: peace  age  right  clarity  wisdom 
     
    A desire to kneel down sometimes pulses through my body, or rather it is as if my body has been meant and made for the act of kneeling. Sometimes, in moments of deep gratitude, kneeling down becomes an overwhelming urge, head deeply bowed, hands before my face.
    — Etty Hillesum
    We should be willing to act as a balm for all wounds.
    — Etty Hillesum
    Such words as 'God' and 'Death' and 'Suffering' and 'Eternity' are best forgotten. We have to become as simple and as wordless as the growing corn or the falling rain. We must just be.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: death  suffering  eternity  rain  god 
     
    Thinking gets you nowhere. It may be a fine and noble aid in academic studies, but you can't think your way out of emotional difficulties. That takes something altogether different. You have to make yourself passive then, and just listen. Re-establish contact with a slice of eternity.
    — Etty Hillesum
    Before, I always lived in anticipation . . . that it was all a preparation for something else, something "greater," more "genuine." But that feeling has dropped away from me completely. I live here and now, this minute, this day, to the full, and the life is worth living.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: living  live  worth 
     
    All disasters stem from us. Why is there a war? Perhaps because now and then I might be inclined to snap at my neighbour. Because I and my neighbour and everyone else do not have enough love. Yet we could fight war and all its excrescences by releasing each day, the love which is shackled inside us, and giving it a chance to live.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: chance  live  fight  giving  war 
     
    Despite everything, life is full of beauty and meaning.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: beauty  meaning 
     
    We have to fight them daily, like fleas, those many small worries about the morrow, for they sap our energies. We make mental provisions for the days to come, and everything turns out differently, quite differently. Sufficient unto the day. The things that have to be done must be done, and for the rest we must not allow ourselves to become infested with thousands of petty fears and worries.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: fear  mental  energy  fight  worries 
     
    As life becomes harder and more threatening, it also becomes richer, because the fewer expectations we have, the more good things of life become unexpected gifts that we accept with gratitude.
    — Etty Hillesum
    It is the only thing we can do. Each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others. And remember that every atom of hate that we add to this world makes it sill more inhospitable
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: world  hate 
     
    We human beings cause monstrous conditions, but precisely because we cause them we soon learn to adapt ourselves to them. Only if we become such that we can no longer adapt ourselves, only if, deep inside, we rebel against every kind of evil, will we be able to put a stop to it. ... while everything within us does not yet scream out in protest, so long will we find ways of adapting ourselves, and the horrors will continue.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: evil  horror  human  learn 
     
    Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: prayer 
     
    Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: peace  world  morals 
     
    We have to fight them daily, lake fleas, those many small worries about the morrow, for they sap our energies.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: energy  fight  worries 
     
    I know and share the many sorrows a human being can experience, but I do not cling to them; they pass through me, like life itself, as a broad eternal stream...and life continues...
    — Etty Hillesum
    Suffering has always been with us; does it really matter in what form it comes? All that matters is how we bear it and how we fit it into our lives.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: live  suffering 
     
    Sometimes I feel that every word spoken and every gesture made merely serve to exacerbate misunderstandings. Then what I would really like is to escape into a great silence and impose that silence on everyone else.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: silence 
     
    Every day I shall put my papers in order and every day I shall say farewell. And the real farewell, when it comes, will only be a small outward confirmation of what has been accomplished within me from day to day.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: real 
     
    If one finds the strength to deal with small things, one finds it to deal with the large ones as well.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: strength 
     
    I do believe it is possible to create, even without ever writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one's inner life. And that too is a deed.
    — Etty Hillesum
    The fact is I don't lead a simple enough inner life. I indulge in excesses, bacchanalia of the spirit. Perhaps I identify too much with everything I read and study. Someone like Dostoevsky still shatters me.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: facts  read  spirit 
     
    Sometimes I try my hand at turning out small profundities and uncertain short stories, but I always end up with just one single word: God.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: god  stories 
     
    Our desire must be like a slow and stately ship, sailing across endless oceans, never in search of safe anchorage. Then suddenly, unexpectedly, it will find mooring for a moment.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: desires  moment  ocean 
     
    To live fully, outwardly and inwardly, not to ignore the external reality for the sake of the inner life, or the reverse, that's quite a task
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: reality  live 
     
    Life is good, after all...and that's what stays with me, even now, even when I'm about to be packed off to Poland.
    — Etty Hillesum
    That fear of missing out on things makes you miss out on everything.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: fear  missing 
     
    Every word born of an inner necessity - writing must never be anything else.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: writing 
     
    I don't think I have nerves of steel, far from it, but I can certainly stand up to things. I am not afraid to look suffering straight in the eyes.
    — Etty Hillesum
    tags: suffering  eyes  afraid 
     
    Become simple and live simply, not only within yourself but also in your everyday dealings. Don't make ripples all around you, don't try to be interesting, keep your distance, be honest, fight the desire to be thought fascinating by the outside world.
    — Etty Hillesum
    Most people write off their longing for friends and family as so many losses in their lives, when they should count the fact that their heart is able to long so hard and to love so much as among their greatest blessings.
    — Etty Hillesum
    If one burdens the future with one's worries, it cannot grow organically. I am filled with confidence, not that I shall succeed in worldly things, but that even when things go badly for me I shall still find life good and worth living.
    — Etty Hillesum
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