50 Anne Lamott Quotes That Give Life A Positive Perspective

These Anne Lamott quotes will brighten your mood and remind you to be grateful for the life you’re living.

Anne Lamott is a best-selling author who writes both non-fiction and novels.

Her books focus on themes that are relevant and relatable to everyday life.

Lamott writes honestly on themes that are often sugar-coated like motherhood, alcoholism, and faith.

Her books are down-to-earth, funny, and, at their core, totally human.

So if you are in need of an attitude pick me up, a dose of perspective, or just a little extra positivity in your day, check out these Anne Lamott quotes.

We’ve listed 50 of our favorites down below.

Don’t forget to also check out these Upton Sinclair quotes from the American author and activist.

If you like this article, we suggest you explore our most popular quotes article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily encouragement. 

Read more related content on our inspirational quotes category page.

Inspiring Anne Lamott quotes

1. “It’s good to do uncomfortable things. It’s weight training for life.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes to do uncomfortable things

Everyday Application: Weight training and exercise strengthens your muscles. Practically, this helps you when you need to lift heavy things, build endurance, and keep your body functioning optimally. Doing uncomfortable things does the exact same things for your mind. It helps build resiliency, perseverance, and teaches you the skills you need to live your best life.

2. “I do not understand the mystery of grace — only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about understanding mystery

Everyday Application: We do not have to actually understand the mystery of grace. We just have to be willing to accept it (and offer it when we can). A little grace can go a long way in helping us pick ourselves up and move forward from the situations we might find ourselves in.

3. “If you don’t die of thirst, there are blessings in the desert. You can be pulled into limitlessness, which we all yearn for, or you can do the beauty of minutiae, the scrimshaw of tiny and precise. The sky is your ocean, and the crystal silence will uplift you like great gospel music, or Neil Young.” — Anne Lamott

Inspiring Anne Lamott quotes about blessings in the desert

Everyday Application: Even the things that seem really bleak and terrible afford us the opportunity to learn something, as long as we survive them. This quote is about looking for the positive and finding something to be grateful for.

4. “I used to tell my writing students that they must write the books they wished they could come upon – because then the books they hungered and thirsted for would exist.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about the books they hungered and thirsted for would exist

Everyday Application: This is true about anything in life. Be the kindness you want to see in the world. Love yourself like you want someone to love you. Put whatever you hunger for out in the world yourself.

5. “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about hope begins in the dark

Everyday Application: Hope is an incredibly powerful thing. Keep showing up, keep giving it your all. Learn how to adjust and adapt, but don’t give up your hope.

6. “I feel incredibly successful. I make a living as a writer and am able to help support a big family, my church, my bleeding-heart causes.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about I feel incredibly successful

Everyday Application: Part of feeling successful is defining what success means to you. Success has a different meaning to everyone, and you can’t get there if you do not know “where that is. Once you have a clear understanding of the things you want and value, then you can create goals to get you there!

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7. “When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about it sometimes floats forth and opens

Everyday Application: Hope for things that matter and make a difference. You can hope to be perfect at something all you want, but it won’t happen. It will just turn you into a perfectionist, who is a bundle of anxiety. Instead of hoping for perfection, hope for opportunity, growth, and love. Let the mistakes happen, it’s ok if your image has a few smudges!

8. “The reason I never give up hope is because everything is so basically hopeless.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about never give up hope

Everyday Application: We have all been there…that moment when everything just seems hopeless. We wonder what the point is. Surprisingly, the point is hope. Hope is what pushes us to keep looking for an answer, a cure, or love. Nothing is permanent, not even the situations that cause us the most despair. Hang in there!

Anne Lamott quotes about happiness

9. “Gorgeous, amazing things come into our lives when we are paying attention: mangoes, grandnieces, Bach, ponds. This happens more often when we have as little expectation as possible.” — Anne Lamott

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Anne Lamott quotes about happiness

Everyday Application: Practice gratitude. It doesn’t matter if the only thing you can be grateful for today is a mango. Love the heck out of that mango. When we pay attention to the things we are grateful for in life, we tend to find even more things to be thankful about.

10. “Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time. Let it be. Unto us, so much is given. We just have to be open for business.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes for business

Everyday Application: A business can not make money if the doors are closed. You can not take risks, chase your dreams, or be open to opportunities if you are closed off either. Be open and let life in! This means following your passions and keep learning.

11. “Maybe all we can do is make our remaining time here full of gentleness and good humor.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about make our remaining time here full of gentleness and good humor

Everyday Application: Imagine a world where the people in it were gentle and kind to themselves and each other. A world where people were positive, smiled, laughed, and were focused on being grateful. We have a ways to go until we get there, but if each us tried to be “full of gentleness and good humor” we could make a lot more progress.

12. “You can either practice being right or practice being kind.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about you can either practice being right or practice being kind

13. “These are the words I want on my gravestone: that I was a helper, and that I danced.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes that I was a helper, and that I danced

14. “Age has given me the gift of me; it just gave me what I was always longing for, which was to get to be the woman I’ve already dreamt of being. Which is somebody who can do rest and do hard work and be a really constant companion, a constant, tender-hearted wife to myself.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about age has given me the gift of me

15. “I try to write the books I would love to come upon that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness – and that can make me laugh.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes on honesty

16. “I’ve known for years that resentments don’t hurt the person, but they do hurt us.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about that resentments don’t hurt the person we resent

Everyday Application: Harboring the negative feelings of anger and resentment toward someone else is like ingesting a poison. These feelings don’t hurt the other person, they just harm ourselves. You can forgive a person and let go of resentment without having them in your life. Learn to set boundaries for your own mental health and sanity.

17. “I’m much calmer as I get older, but I’m still just as capable of getting that strung-out stressed-out feeling of mental and spiritual unwellness.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes of getting that strung out stressed out feeling of mental and spiritual unwellness

18. “I was raised in a family where none of us ever raised a voice, so there was no room to express feelings of rage or even unabashed joy – a little bashed joy, here or there, or being mildly disgruntled.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about a little bashed joy, here or there, or being mildly disgruntled

19. “It’s a great time to be alive.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about it’s a great time to be alive

Everyday Application: Being grateful for something as profoundly simple as waking up each day can have a major impact on your life. Anytime that you are given the gift of a new day is a great time to be alive. What will you do with this day? This moment right now can be everything you want it to be.

20. “My idea of absolute happiness is to be in bed on a rainy day, with my blankie, my cat, and my dog.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about my idea of absolute happiness is to be in bed on a rainy day

21. “I am going to notice the lights of the earth, the sun, and the moon and the stars, the lights of our candles as we march, the lights with which spring teases us, the light that is already present.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about the lights of the earth

Anne Lamott quotes about love

22. “Nothing heals us like letting people know our scariest parts: When people listen to you cry and lament and look at you with love, it’s like they are holding the baby of you.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes about love

23. “My parents and librarians along the way taught me about the space between words; about the margins, where so many juicy moments of life and spirit and friendship could be found. In a library, you could find miracles and truth and you might find something that would make you laugh so hard that you get shushed, in the friendliest way.” — Anne Lamott

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Anne Lamott quotes about many juicy moments of life

24. “I see that children fill the existential hollowness many people feel; that when we have children, we know they will need us, and maybe love us, but we don’t have a clue how hard it is going to be.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes that children fill the existential hollowness many people feel

25. “Life is really pretty tricky, and there’s a lot of loss, and the longer you stay alive, the more people you lose whom you actually couldn’t live without.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott quotes Life is really pretty tricky

26. “I don’t want something special. I want something beautifully plain.” — Anne Lamott

27. “All parents are an embarrassment to their kids. Often, grandparents are the relief. Kids don’t have to resist you.” — Anne Lamott

28. “When we’re dealing with the people in our family – no matter how annoying or gross they may be, no matter how self-inflicted their suffering may appear, no matter how afflicted they are with ignorance, prejudice or nose hairs – we give from the deepest parts of ourselves.” — Anne Lamot

29. “I am the woman I grew to be partly in spite of my mother, and partly because of the extraordinary love of her best friends, and my own best friends’ mothers, and from surrogates, many of whom were not women at all but gay men. I have loved them my entire life, even after their passing.” — Anne Lamott

30. “Your experiences will be yours alone. But truth and best friendship will rarely if ever disappoint you.” — Anne Lamott

Everyday Application: People might experience similar situations, but no one else will live through your exact set of circumstances. You bring your own thoughts, perceptions, and responses to everything, which makes whatever you are going through unique to you. Walk through your life being truthful and with those people who make up your inner circle beside you.

Anne Lamott quotes about life

31. “I like to read away as much of the afternoon as possible until real life rears its ugly head.” — Anne Lamott

32. “Some people seem to understand this – that life and change take time – but I am not one of those people.” — Anne Lamott

33. “Summer nearly does me in every year. It’s too hot and the light is unforgiving and the days go on way too long.” — Anne Lamott

34. “Presents can make up for some of the disappointments that life doles out, such as it makes almost no sense and is coming to an end more quickly than ever.” — Anne Lamott

35. “We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be.” — Anne Lamott

36. “No one tells you that your life is effectively over when you have a child: that you’re never going to draw another complacent breath again… or that whatever level of hypochondria and rage you’d learned to repress and live with is going to seem like the good old days.” — Anne Lamott

37. “Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.” — Anne Lamott

Everyday Application: Only you can answer the question of how you choose to spend this life. Hopefully, you live life to your fullest potential, becoming who were meant to be. Take the time to know who you are and what you want. You can do that through experiencing new things, meditation, self-reflection, and being willing to work hard.

38. “It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do.’ And mostly, against all odds, they do.” — Anne Lamott

Everyday Application: It is amazing what humans being can accomplish without having adequate tools. Our resourcefulness and will to survive is quite impressive. That is why every day that you beat the odds and survive another day or achieve a goal is a day to be grateful for. Now you can improve your tools along the way, and that definitely will make life easier. However, their will always be challenges, so celebrate your wins!

Wise Anne Lamott quotes

39. “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.” — Anne Lamott

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40. “Gratitude, not understanding, is the secret to joy and equanimity.” — Anne Lamott

Everyday Application: Gratitude is such a simple thing, yet it is difficult for us to show sometimes. You do not have to understand why bad things happen. You just have to focus on the good things you have and find true joy and thankfulness within them.

41. “Rest and laughter are the most spiritual and subversive acts of all. Laugh, rest, slow down.” — Anne Lamott

Everyday Application: Laughter really is the best medicine! There are so many benefits to laughing. Laughing fills you with oxygen-rich air, thereby stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles. It causes your brain to release more endorphins. Try and laugh everyday along with resting… that is good for you too!

42. “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.” — Anne Lamott

Everyday Application: When someone wrongs us it is in the past. We cling to anger and resentment because we want them to acknowledge what they did or fix it somehow. The truth is they can no more change the past than you can. Forgiveness takes you out of needing a better past and helps you create the future that you deserve.

More Anne Lamott quotes

43. “I accidentally forgot to graduate from college.” — Anne Lamott

44. “The whistle is always waiting to be blown, and in some ways, it gets me to do better work.” — Anne Lamott

45. “The worst part about celebrating another birthday is the shock that you’re only as well as you are.” — Anne Lamott

46. “Seeing yourself in print is such an amazing concept: you can get so much attention without having to actually show up somewhere… You don’t have to dress up, for instance, and you can’t hear them boo you right away.” — Anne Lamott

47. “The Giants are usually described as ragtag, kind of a great garage sale team, and the Democrats are described as the Mommies to the Republican Daddies; and everyone hates the mommies, but wait, wait – I didn’t intend to get into the pathos and thrill of being a Democratic Giants fan.” — Anne Lamott

48. “The women’s movement burst forth when I was fifteen. That was when I began to believe that life might semi-workout after all. The cavalry had arrived. Women were starting to say that you got to tell the truth now, that you had to tell the truth if you were going to heal and have an authentic life.” — Anne Lamott

49. “My mother might find a thin gold chain at the back of a drawer, wadded into an impossibly tight knot, and give it to me to untangle. It would have a shiny, sweaty smell, and excite me: Gold chains linked you to the great fairy tales and myths, to Arabia, and India; to the great weight of the world, but lighter than a feather.” — Anne Lamott

50. “The earth is rocky and full of roots; it’s clay, and it seems doomed and polluted, but you dig little holes for the ugly shriveled bulbs, throw in a handful of poppy seeds, and cover it all over, and you know you’ll never see it again – it’s death and clay and shrivel, and your hands are nicked from the rocks, your nails black with soil.” — Anne Lamott

What do you do when you need to lift up your spirits?

When you’re feeling blue or are in a bad mood, what do you do to crawl out of that hole of negativity and change your perspective?

For me, meditation is a great way to calm the mind, a bubble bath will help me relax, and picking up a good book will help me escape my reality by allowing me to jump into the story of the main character.

Seeing things from another perspective, like in a book or a movie, can help you evaluate the situations you’re facing in a new way.

Opening your perspective can help you find new resolutions and brighten your mood.

That’s why we love these Anne Lamott quotes so much.

We hope these quotes brought a bit of extra positivity to your day today.

Did you enjoy these Anne Lamott quotes and sayings?

Which quote was your favorite?

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