Calming, inspiring words needed, please!
October 28, 2017 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find a calming, inspiring phrase that I can post at my desk at work.

Life at my job is not the greatest right now. I have hopes that things will be changing for the better soon (soon being a relative term) but for now I need to suck it up and ride it out.

I want to post a quote or phrase at my desk that I can read when things get frustrating and upsetting—something to remind me that I’m better than what’s going on around me, and that I can only control my own behavior and reactions.
Do you know of any quotes out there that reflect this? Or any phrases you may use in similar situations? Anything with NSFW language is obviously out as co-workers may see it (trust me, there’s enough of that going on in my head these days), but any other suggestions are welcome!
(I REALLY hope this is my last work-related question for quite awhile!)
posted by bookmammal to Grab Bag (29 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
There are too many Kundalini Yoga mantras to cite, but I recommend you click around Google, Youtube, and streaming services like Spotify to see what resonates with you. Bonus points if it reminds you to do a few therapeutic deep breaths every once in a while, which will support your nervous system.
posted by jbenben at 8:38 AM on October 28, 2017

And all shall be well, and all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:46 AM on October 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm a fan of The Four Agreements.

Tom Petty lyrics are great for something snappier, without being so edgy, but they are so sad now! Learning To Fly, Won't Back Down are both fill of calming and inspiring one liners. I also like "Most things I worry about never happen anyway".

I usually have a regular mantra I try to repeat to myself to stay calm and stay positive. I switch them out when they get stale. You can also make it your rotating password! It really helps.
posted by pazazygeek at 8:49 AM on October 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

One of the things I used to have up on my wall in a previous toxic workplace was a line from Guided by Voices' "Smothered in Hugs" on a Post-it.

"In the summer that you came,
there was something eating everyone...
And the sunshine fund was low—
we couldn't greet you with a simple hello."

It wasn't totally positive, and it's probably better at Post-it size to avoid questions, but it was a good reminder to keep external things external—that even from the summer I'd started, things had been that way, and it wasn't about me.

I also had a line from Fall Out Boy's "Champagne for My Real Friends, Real Pain for My Sham Friends" on another Post-it, which is perhaps also best at that small size.

"And we're friends—yeah, we're friends—
just because we move units."

Same idea—it was a reminder that this is a business relationship and it should be kept professional and detached.

Anyway, I'm not sure those are the positivity you seek, but I would suggest looking to song lyrics you love for something apropos.
posted by limeonaire at 8:50 AM on October 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Smooth seas do not make for skilled sailors.
posted by saturdaymornings at 8:51 AM on October 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

In The Joy of Homebrewing, Charlie Papazian says “Do not worry. Worrying is like paying interest on a debt you may never have owed.”
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:31 AM on October 28, 2017

I had a framed Keep Calm and Carry On poster in my office at my last job.
posted by amro at 9:42 AM on October 28, 2017

Always stay humble and kind
posted by saucysault at 10:05 AM on October 28, 2017

The trick is not seeming passive aggressive. "It is a skillful man who, though he be surrounded by awful human beings, can maintain a placid and friendly demeanor." - Anon
posted by salvia at 10:18 AM on October 28, 2017

One of my favourite sayings is simply "This too shall pass."
posted by billiebee at 10:33 AM on October 28, 2017 [8 favorites]

Having read the first half of 'White Collar Zen', I came up with:

I will not curse the rock that stands in my way,
I am the stream that finds a new course.

Changed my (work) life.
posted by Sauter Vaguely at 12:12 PM on October 28, 2017 [8 favorites]

I love this embroidered version of a Jenny Holzer Truism: It can be helpful to keep going no matter what." The same store has other embroidered phrases that may be inspiring to you, and/or look at the lists of Truisms that are out there, e.g. this randomly googled example.
posted by MadamM at 12:13 PM on October 28, 2017

What part of this other person's day do I want to be?
posted by elf27 at 12:15 PM on October 28, 2017 [4 favorites]

Start with, "Hello, Bookmammal!" (for people who come up behind you.)
posted by Oyéah at 1:18 PM on October 28, 2017

I like this album cover.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:02 PM on October 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

The one I have had up for a long time at work is a quote from The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo. I have it up because I find the last line calming. Here's the full quote:
"Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things."
posted by gudrun at 5:52 PM on October 28, 2017

"I got my own back" - Maya Angelou
"In the midst of winter, I found there was within me an invincible summer" - Albert Camus
"Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it's the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'" - Mary Anne Radmacher
posted by yawper at 6:44 PM on October 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

At my desk I have this Carl Sagan quote as well as the following quote from To Kill A Mockingbird:

“I wanted you to see what real courage is...It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

The Atticus Finch quote reminds me to keep going when things are tough and the Sagan quote offers perspective.
posted by christinetheslp at 7:15 PM on October 28, 2017

This too shall pass?
posted by No-sword at 9:35 PM on October 28, 2017

The fastest way out is through

Action before motivation

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
posted by samthemander at 10:18 PM on October 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I also have the 4 main tenets from the Now Habit:
1) I can take one small step. (As opposed to “I must finish”)
2) I can be perfectly human. (As opposed to “this must be perfect”)
3) I choose to []. (As opposed to “I have to”)
4) When can I start? (As opposed to “I should already be done”)

And I try to remember: “I must make time for play.”
posted by samthemander at 10:23 PM on October 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

This one has gotten me through many a difficult time:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
- Theodore Roosevelt
posted by ochenk at 10:24 PM on October 28, 2017

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

If you enjoy discussing Dune, this may also spark some fun conversations.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 4:00 AM on October 29, 2017

I found this right here on Metafilter quite some time ago:

“I would be the rock about which the water is flowing; and I would be the water flowing about the rock. And am both and neither - being flesh.” Charles Reznikoff
posted by citands at 4:04 AM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Thanks so much to all who took the time to respond—I appreciate ALL the suggestions. The ones marked as best answers are the ones that particularly resonated with me for this situation. I’m feeling more hopeful about heading into a new workweek—I will NOT let this break me! Thanks again.
posted by bookmammal at 7:46 AM on October 29, 2017

I feel for you. I don't have a place to post a sign at work, but I do have Calming Manatee in my toolbar.
posted by peagood at 7:57 AM on October 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a fortune cookie insert taped to my monitor that reads "Avoid compulsively making things worse".
posted by crazycanuck at 5:41 PM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

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