This week, we’re celebrating Virginia Satir (1916-1988), a pioneer in the field of marriage and family therapy, who was born June 26, 1916.
Virginia Satir served as PAIRS Foundation‘s honorary founding chair when the nonprofit was established 30 years ago. Her work continues to influence leading marriage and relationship skills classes taught throughout the world.
Here are some of our favorite Virginia Satir quotes. If you know of other memorable Virginia Satir quotes, please share them by posting feedback on FatherhoodChannel.com.
- “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
- “Life is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”
- “Every word, facial expression, gesture, or action on the part of a parent gives the child some message about self-worth. It is sad that so many parents don’t realize what messages they are sending.”
- “We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us.”
- “Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible – the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.”
- “What lingers from the parent’s individual past, unresolved or incomplete, often becomes part of her or his irrational parenting.”
- “We can learn something new anytime we believe we can.”
- “Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves.”
- “I want to love you without clutching, appreciate you without judging, join you without invading, invite you without demanding, leave you without guilt, criticize you without blaming, and help you without insulting. If I can have the same from you, then we can truly meet and enrich each other.”
- “Over the years I have developed a picture of what a human being living humanely is like. She is a person who understand, values and develops her body, finding it beautiful and useful; a person who is real and is willing to take risks, to be creative, to manifest competence, to change when the situation calls for it, and to find ways to accommodate to what is new and different, keeping that part of the old that is still useful and discarding what is not.”
- “So much is asked of parents, and so little is given.”
- “The symbol in Chinese for crisis is made up of two ideographs: one means danger, the other means opportunity. This symbol is a reminder that we can choose to turn a crisis into an opportunity or into a negative experience.”
- “Negotiating the adolescent stage is neither quick nor easy. . . . I have often said to parents, “If it isn’t illegal, immoral, or fattening, give it your blessing.” We do much better . . . if we find and support all the places we can appropriately say yes, and say only the no’s that really matter.”
- “Put together all the existing families and you have society. It is as simple as that. Whatever kind of training took place in the individual family will be reflected in the kind of society that these families create.
- “Taste everything, but swallow only what fits.
- “I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.”