The 9 Best Virginia Satir Quotes to Reflect On

· August 24, 2018

Virginia Satir has many interesting quotes. Her quotes speak of change, affection, and relationships. They’re gifts full of love and warmth for anyone who wants to reflect on the importance of connecting with oneself and others.

Virginia Satir was a social worker, psychotherapist, and writer. She was known for her focus on family therapy. In 1959, she joined Don Jackson, Jules Runkin, and Gregory Bateson to start the Mental Research Institute (MRI) in Palo Alto, California. This was one of the most representative psychotherapy institutions in the United States. It created the systematic model. There, Satir was training director and participated in the creation of the first formal family therapy program.

Those who knew her described her as a very warm person. Important issues such as human communication and self-esteem were some of her biggest concerns. She also cared about incorporating feelings and compassion into the therapeutic relationship. For Satir, care and acceptance were fundamental. These elements help others face their fears and make opening your heart to other people easier. Without a doubt, she saw love as a great help in the healing process.

Her most famous books are step-by-step guides to family therapy. Those titles include Peoplemaking, Making Contact, and Your Many Faces, all of which outline steps to love and be loved. In addition, she is also known for her model of the change process. The following are some of her best quotes.

Virginia Satir.

The importance of having a good attitude

“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.”

-Virginia Satir-

Sometimes life doesn’t meet expectations but actually does quite the opposite. This doesn’t mean you should give up or stray from your path. Although you can’t always change what happens, you can choose the attitude you have to face it.

Life happens and goes on without asking your permission. The way you choose to live it determines your attitude and your global experience as a whole.

The courage to define yourself

“We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us.”

-Virginia Satir-

People offer their advice every day. They give you their opinions and even demand things from you. They often try to define you by saying what you can or can’t do based on their own perspective. The problem is when you take those words as the absolute truth and accept them. When you do this, you’re living up to their expectations. You’re not giving yourself the opportunity to know who you really are.

Now, why define yourself based on someone else’s opinion? What they tell you can’t have more power than your own thoughts about yourself. Their perspective is limited by their history, their beliefs, and even their fears. They can’t know more about you than you. They don’t know your identity, your abilities, or your potential. Certainly, they don’t know your limitations and fears.


The great value of hugs

“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. And we need twelve hugs a day for growth.”

-Virginia Satir-

This is one of the quotes that best demonstrates just how much importance Satir attributed to affection and relationships with others. A hug is a small gesture, but it’s full of warmth when it comes from inside. It provides wonderful emotional support when we’re children and a nice way to touch someone else’s soul when we’re adults.

A hug is a powerful emotional component the everyone needs to strengthen their relationships. It’s an excellent way to communicate and a great way to show love to the people you care about.

Couple hugging.

The power to believe in yourself

“We can learn something new any time we believe we can.”

-Virginia Satir-

Learning is linked to ability. If you think you can’t learn something, then you surely won’t be able to. If you think you can’t pass an exam, give a speech, or simply drive a car or cook a meal, it’s very likely you won’t be able to.

The most essential ingredient to achieve a goal is to believe that you can, at least most of the time. Because if you don’t believe in yourself and you’re not on your own side, how are you going to achieve the goal? And even if you don’t reach your goal, you must fail in order to look for other options.

Authenticity as a fundamental pillar

“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.”

-Virginia Satir-

This is one of the Virginia Satir quotes we need to think about every day. We’re all different. Each of us travels down our own path and has a story. Therefore, comparing yourself to others is useless. We’re not in the same category.

Change from the inside out

“No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.”

-Virginia Satir-

Forcing others to change or making them behave differently or like you want them to doesn’t usually work. People change not because others impose it on them, but because they feel the need to change deep down.

We often go around demanding others to behave like we want them to. Even if they make the change we want, we often don’t respect them for it because the change isn’t authentic. In healthy relationships, you don’t try to change the other person. You accept them. If something about their behavior bothers you, you communicate it. Then that person can decide if they need to change or not.

Woman with sun and clouds in her head.

Difficulties are opportunities

“Consider all difficulties opportunities to create something new, learn, and grow.”

-Virginia Satir-

This is another quote you should reflect on. A difficulty always comes with an opportunity for growth. You may not notice it at first but, as some time passes, it’ll become clear. You always learn a lesson about the situation and about yourself in the way you handled it.

Usually, a problem is just a situation that you don’t know what to do about. You don’t know how to face it or you may think you don’t have enough resources to fix it. Hence, thinking about how you’re going to solve it is an opportunity to create a new resolution and learn from it. 

The practice of conscious love

As a final touch to this article on the best Virginia Satir quotes, we want to leave one of her reflections on sincere contact, or contact with yourself and others. The quote comes from her book “Making Contact”. The book expresses how to feel loved and valued by the people you most appreciate.

“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.”

-Virginia Satir-

As you can see, these Virginia Satir quotes tell us that love is a pillar of self-esteem and relationships with others. They’re powerful tools that you can reflect on for your own personal and social growth.