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Gabriella van Rij quote on adversity
Sep 2, 2019

Here’s Why This Is My Favorite Quote

“A cause that you are passionate about hides your own adversity. From that pain grows your biggest strength, which in turn makes you the cause’s best ally.”

This saying of mine did not just appear out of nowhere… it has been a very long time in the making in my life without knowing that it was there. Right? You don’t just sit down and, in a moment, write all these things that turn into quotes people love and say, “Now, that sounds good.” Not me, in any case. That is not my methodology.

While writing my first book there was already the moment I started talking about pain. In the book, I actually referred to the word “adversity” instead of “pain.”

Here’s an excerpt: “My life is made up of conformity, diversity and adversity… and thus these three words have a life of its own inside my mind first while writing and the secondly by being interviewed.”

Slowly but surely, one day the full and complete thought—which is now one of my most popular quotes—came out during an interview. Because it is when you are pushed to explain your theory or methodologies that you grab back at the words you wrote and explain the meaning of them. What those 3 words meant to me.

All of us have unfortunately had adversity in our lives. I explained to the interviewer that we only have two options when that happens: we move out of that state of pain and go on with our lives by hoping to impact others that go through the same, or we take that pain and we drown it out with every means possible. We numb ourselves so we cannot feel the pain any longer.

In my case, I chose the first one, but not by immediately impacting others. I never thought in my younger days that this is something you could do. I thought you had to work and plow your way through your pain so that you can be whole and an almost healthy, functioning adult.

It is only much later that I thought, But I am the cause’s best ally… because what is behind the pain is your invaluable experience and this is identical for every single human being. So, I made that choice one day that I was going to help others even if it meant helping just one person at a time.

This is how I became my cause’s best ally. The more I traveled, the more I saw that people’s passion hides their adversity. For example, if you are passionate on the topic of drunk driving, we can in all likelihood assume that you have experienced this pain up close, by losing someone close to your heart, or a close friend of yours did. The same goes for every single thing you hear people passionately talk about.

Although this might have started as my favorite saying, in the meantime it has become a favorite of many others during my talks. They find it very intriguing. To me, that is the ingredient of a good quote: something that evokes you to think. So much so, you need to hear it twice or read it again to fully understand what it means. You may even put the book down and think or ask the person in front of you to explain the quote fully.

These bite-sizes of wisdom have the ability to connect us to the feelings that are conjured up from reading it. You wonder how that person knew what you were thinking and feeling. Quotes have the ability to transcend cultures and bring us closer together.

Reflect on the quotes you love and why.