Cheryl Strayed is a wonderful example of how anyone can be anything they want to be if they set their minds to it and believe in themselves. Today, Cheryl Strayed is a novelist, essayist, and podcast host. She has been featured on Oprah’s Book Club, had her memoir turned into a movie, and has a net worth of anywhere from $1-$5 million. Who was she before she wrote Wild, though? And how did that experience really shape who she would become? Keep reading for Cheryl Strayed quotes from the books Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things.
At 26, Cheryl Strayed was living in the epitome of a crossroads. Her mother had just passed away from lung cancer, and her marriage had ended in divorce. Cheryl set off on a journey to find… something. She was a novice hiker but decided that ‘the something’ she was looking for was out in the wild and she was going to seek it out.
Hence, she embarked on a solo, three-month, 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Cheryl was not equipped for the journey. In fact, she had no radio or phone with her. She also had no credit cards and brought little cash with her. Enjoy these Cheryl Strayed quotes and sayings!
Don’t forget to also check out these James Joyce quotes from one of the finest novelists.
Best Cheryl Strayed quotes from Wild
1. “I’m a free spirit who never had the balls to be free.” ― Cheryl Strayed
Everyday Application: Grow a pair! Dare to be free. It is scary to be unapologetically who you are. Do it anyway and live your best life.
2. “The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.” ― Cheryl Strayed
Everyday Application: The universe is an adiaphorous entity. It is not good or bad, it is morally neutral. Therefore, you never know what is going to happen. You can only control how you react to the things that happen.
3. “There’s no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another. What leads to what? What destroys what? What causes what to flourish or die or take another course.” ― Cheryl Strayed
Everyday Application: Don’t get caught up in catastrophizing and asking “what if.” Make the best decisions you can with the information you are able to gather. Listen to your instincts. Take the risk and if you make a mistake, then figure out what you can learn from it.
4. “I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it.” ― Cheryl Strayed
Everyday Application: It is interesting to think about what you actually require to survive. It isn’t the big fancy house or the newest model car. The most important thing you need is you! You are stronger than you think you are and you can carry what you need to in order to make it.
5. “Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid.” ― Cheryl Strayed
Everyday Application: Our thoughts are powerful. What we tell ourselves matters, as it becomes what we believe. We take those thoughts and turn them into habits and behaviors. The law of attraction explains how you attract the energy you focus on. Pick something other than fear to pay attention to!
6. “I didn’t feel sad or happy. I didn’t feel proud or ashamed. I only felt that in spite of all the things I’d done wrong, in getting myself here, I’d done right.” ― Cheryl Strayed
7. “I was a terrible believer in things, but I was also a terrible nonbeliever in things. I was as searching as I was skeptical. I didn’t know where to put my faith, or if there was such a place, or even what the word faith meant, in all of its complexity. Everything seemed to be possibly potent and possibly fake.” ― Cheryl Strayed
8. “I’d finally come to understand what it had been: a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way in.” ― Cheryl Strayed
9. “It seemed to me the way it must feel to people who cut themselves on purpose. Not pretty, but clean. Not good, but void of regret. I was trying to heal. Trying to get the bad out of my system so I could be good again. To cure me of myself.” ― Cheryl Strayed
10. “Uncertain as I was as I pushed forward, I felt right in my pushing, as if the effort itself meant something. That perhaps being amidst the undesecrated beauty of the wilderness meant I too could be undesecrated, regardless of the regrettable things I’d done to others or myself or the regrettable things that had been done to me. Of all the things I’d been skeptical about, I didn’t feel skeptical about this: the wilderness had a clarity that included me.” ― Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed quotes from Brave Enough
11. “Hello, fear. Thank you for being here. You’re my indication that I’m doing what I need to do.” ― Cheryl Strayed
12. “We don’t reach the mountaintop from the mountaintop. We start at the bottom and climb up. Blood is involved.” ― Cheryl Strayed
13. “Believe in the integrity and value of the jagged path. We don’t always do the right thing on our way to rightness.” ― Cheryl Strayed
14. “Accept that sorrow and strife are part of even a joyful life.” ― Cheryl Strayed
15. “Ask yourself: What is the best I can do? And then do that.” ― Cheryl Strayed
16. “The particularity of our problems can be made bearable only through the recognition of our universal humanity. We suffer uniquely, but we survive the same way.” ― Cheryl Strayed
17. “Be brave enough to break your own heart.” ― Cheryl Strayed
18. “Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life.” ― Cheryl Strayed
19. “The body knows. When your heart sinks. When you feel sick to your gut. When something blossoms in your chest. When your brain gloriously pops. That’s your body telling you the One True Thing. Listen to it.” ― Cheryl Strayed
20. “Bravery is acknowledging your fear and doing it, anyway.” ― Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed quotes from Tiny Beautiful Things
21. “Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go.” ― Cheryl Strayed
22. “Acceptance is a small, quiet room.” ― Cheryl Strayed
23. “Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.” ― Cheryl Strayed
24. “You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.” ― Cheryl Strayed
25. “Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself, even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you because it will.” ― Cheryl Strayed
26. “Forgiveness doesn’t sit there like a pretty boy in a bar. Forgiveness is the old fat guy you have to haul up a hill.” ― Cheryl Strayed
27. “If there’s one thing I believe more than I believe anything else, it’s that you can’t fake the core. The truth that lives there will eventually win out.” ― Cheryl Strayed
28. “Let yourself be gutted. Let it open you. Start here.” ― Cheryl Strayed
29. “Trusting yourself means living out what you already know to be true.” ― Cheryl Strayed
30. “But the reality is we often become our kindest, most ethical selves only by seeing what it feels like to be a selfish jackass first.” ― Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed quotes on love and forgiveness
31. “To love and be loved. That is the meaning of life.” ― Cheryl Strayed
32. “You don’t need those people. By stepping aside, they’ve done you a favor. Because what you’ve got left after the fools have departed are the old souls and the true hearts. Those are the über cool sparkle rocket mind-blowers we’re after. Those are the people worthy of your love.” ― Cheryl Strayed
33. “There are so many things to be tortured about, sweet pea. So many torturous things in this life. Don’t let the man who doesn’t love you be one of them.” ― Cheryl Strayed
34. “I can’t say when you’ll get love or how you’ll find it or even promise that you will. I can only say you are worthy of it and that it’s never too much to ask for it and that it’s not crazy to fear you’ll never have it again, even though your fears are probably wrong.” ― Cheryl Strayed
35. “Love is our essential nutrient. Without it, life has little meaning. It’s the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It’s worthy of all the hullabaloo.” ― Cheryl Strayed
36. “You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.” ― Cheryl Strayed
37. “The whole deal about loving truly and for real and with all you’ve got has everything to do with letting those we love see what made us.” ― Cheryl Strayed
38. “Romantic love is not a competitive sport. Some of those women your boyfriend used to fuck have nicer asses than you. Some are smarter or funnier or fatter or more generous or more messed-up than you. That’s okay. That has no bearing on you whatsoever. You’re not up against those women. You’re running your own race. We don’t dig or not dig people based on a comparison chart of body measurements and intellectual achievements and personality quirks. We dig them because we do.” ― Cheryl Strayed
39. “The story of human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light. Look hard. Risk that.” ― Cheryl Strayed
40. “We have to be whole people to find whole love, even if we have to make it up for a while.” ― Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed quotes about life
41. “It’s a long life, sweetheart, and time heals all wounds.” ― Cheryl Strayed
42. “Work hard. Do good. Be incredible!” ― Cheryl Strayed
43. “Only boring people get bored.” ― Cheryl Strayed
44. “One of the scariest things in our lives is actually doing what we know we want to do.” ― Cheryl Strayed
45. “You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success.” ― Cheryl Strayed
46. “Be about ten times more magnanimous than you believe yourself capable of. Your life will be a hundred times better for it.” ― Cheryl Strayed
47. “Don’t listen to those people who suggest you should be ‘over it’ by now. The people who squawk the loudest about such things have almost never had to get over anything. Or at least not anything that was genuinely, mind soul-crushingly life-altering.” ― Cheryl Strayed
48. “There is no why. You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding. And, dear one, you and I both were granted a mighty generous hand.” ― Cheryl Strayed
49. “We are all entitled to our opinions and religious beliefs, but we are not entitled to make shit up and then use the shit we made up to oppress other people.” ― Cheryl Strayed
50. “The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the mother-fucking shit out of it.” ― Cheryl Strayed
What did you learn from these Cheryl Strayed quotes?
Deciding to even go on this trip took some guts, but surviving it was another matter. She underwent both physical and emotional battles during her journey and came out the other side, different from how she’d started.
Then she spent two years writing her memoir from various places, including her kitchen table. She lives with her husband, filmmaker Brian Lindstrom, in the house “that Wild built.” They paid cash for it because Cheryl didn’t want to owe anyone anything.
Her books, podcasts, and essays are all a reminder that we can be and achieve so many things. My favorite Cheryl Strayed quote is, “There is no why. You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding.”
I have wished at many points when I was younger, that I had a different story or beginning. I am sure that many of us have had points in our lives where the hand we have is ugly and it’s hard to imagine winning. Play the hell out of it, anyway!
Share your favorite Cheryl Strayed quotes and sayings with us in the comment section below.