Musings: I Stood Yesterday I Can Stand Today by Dorothy Dix

One of the most inspirational quotes I have ever read.  I wanted to keep a record of it here, thinking especially of a dear and special friend for whom these words apply more than most.

Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer cropped
Dorothy Dix c.1892 By Photographer unknown
[Public domain, Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I Stood Yesterday I Can Stand Today

by Dorothy Dix

“I have been through the depths of poverty and sickness. When people ask me what has kept me going through the troubles that come to all of us, I always reply: “I stood yesterday. I can stand today. And I will not permit myself to think about what might happen tomorrow.”

I have known want and struggle and anxiety and despair. I have always had to work beyond the limit of my strength. As I look back upon my life, I see it as a battlefield strewn with the wrecks of dead dreams and broken hopes and shattered illusions-a battle in which I always fought with the odds tremendously against me, and which has left me scarred and bruised and maimed and old before my time.

Yet I have no pity for myself; no tears to shed over the past and gone sorrows; no envy for the women who have been spared all I have gone through. For I have lived. They only existed. I have drank the cup of life down to its very dregs. They have only sipped the bubbles on top of it. I know things they will never know. I see things to which they are blind. It is only the women whose eyes have been washed clear with tears who get the broad vision that makes them little sisters to all the world.

I have learned in the great University of Hard Knocks a philosophy that no woman who has had an easy life ever acquires. I have learned to live each day as it comes and not to borrow trouble by dreading the morrow. It is the dark menace of the future that makes cowards of us. I put that dread from me because experience has taught me that when the time comes that I so fear, the strength and wisdom to meet it will be given me. Little annoyances no longer have the power to affect me. After you have seen your whole edifice of happiness topple and crash in ruins about you, it never matters to you again that a servant forgets to put the doilies under the finger bowls, or the cook spills the soup.

I have learned not to expect too much of people, and so I can still get happiness out of the friend who isn’t quite true to me or the acquaintance who gossips. Above all, I have acquired a sense of humour, because there were so many things over which I had either to cry or laugh. And when a woman can joke over her troubles instead of having hysterics, nothing can ever hurt her much again. I do not regret the hardships I have known, because through them I have touched life at every point I have lived. And it was worth the price I had to pay.”

This quote first appeared in the amazing 1948 book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie.  There are a couple of different versions where the paragraph “I stood yesterday, I can stand today” appear at the end of the text, but this is the original version as published from the original book.  A pdf of the book can be read here or you can buy the book on Amazon here.

Also well worth a read is her most famous column “Dictates for a Happy Life

  • Very powerful. Reminds me that I spend way too much time worrying about things that never happen. I wish all the best to your friend (I bet you are very special to your friend too).

  • very poignant 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing. Those words are so true and inspirational.

  • Words to live by if ever I saw any! Thank you so much for sharing this, it is truly inspirational and worth remembering! 🙂 I am going to buy that book.