What We Can Change and What We Can't“The knowledge of the difference between what we can change and what we must accept in ourselves is the beginning of real change. With this knowledge, we can use our precious time to make the many rewarding changes that are possible. We can live with less self-reproach and less remorse. We can live with greater confidence. This knowledge is a new understanding of who we are and where we are going.”

“Much of successful living consists of learning to make the best of a bad situation.”

“The main skill of optimistic thinking is disputing. This is a skill everyone has, but we normally use it only when others accuse us wrongly. If a jealous friend tells you what a lousy executive or bad mother you are, you can marshal evidence against the accusation and spit it back in his or her face.”

“Once you acquire the skills of optimism, they stay… Disputing your own negative thoughts, in contrast, is fun. Once you are good at it, it makes you feel better instantly. Once you start doing it well, you want to keep doing it. If you have a low mood almost every day, you can choose to change the way you think. When you do so, you will find that your life is more worth living.”

“Failure, frustration, or sheer boredom can be marvelously productive in thrusting you from one stage to the next. Either way, the upheaval comes. You slowly and subtly stop doing what you used to do, stop being what you used to be, stop salivating to the old stimuli…”

“Childhood events — even childhood trauma — and childrearing appear to have only weak effects on adult life. Childhood, contrary to popular belief, does not seem, empirically, to be particularly formative. So, contrary to popular belief, we are not prisoners of our past.”

“The other clearest finding of the whole therapeutic endeavor, however, is that change is within our grasp, almost routine, throughout adult life. So even if why we are what we are is a mystery, how to change ourselves is not.”