"I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer."
- Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
"There is no final, satisfying way to balance our need to be known with our need to be alone. The balance is always uncertain and provisional; it’s always a matter of dissatisfaction, give-and-take, and sacrifice…It’s up to each of us to balance the risks and rewards—to trade, in right proportion, loneliness for freedom, explicability for mystery, and the knowable for the unknown within ourselves."
- Joshua Rothman, “Virginia Woolf’s Idea of Privacy”
"If you don’t love, believe in, and accept yourself, you will try to find someone else to do it for you and that can be as addictive as any drug. Consistently boosting your esteem externally can cause you to become a bottomless pit."
- Self Matters, Phil McGraw
"I’m not the person you left behind anymore. There’s no one here to miss."
- Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You
"My father was one of those people who were born mean. He had fists like bricks. I’ve crossed paths since with men like him. I wish I could say differently, but I have. And what I’ve learned is that you dig a little and you find they’re all the same, give or take. Some are more polished, granted. They may come with a bit of charm - or a lot - and they can fool you. But really they’re all unhappy little boys sloshing around in their own rage. They feel wronged. They haven’t been given their due. No one loved them enough. Of course they expect you to love them. They want to be held, rocked, reassured. But it’s a mistake to give it to them. They can’t accept it. They can’t accept the very thing they’re needing. They end up hating you for it. And it never ends because they can’t hate you enough. It never ends - the misery, the apologies, the promises, the reneging, the wretchedness of it all."
- And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini