Barbara Johnson Quotes

Barbara Johnson (October 4, 1947 – August 27, 2009) was an American literary critic and translator, born in Boston. She was a Professor of English and Comparative Literature and the Fredric Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society at Harvard University. Her scholarship incorporated a variety of structuralist and poststructuralist perspectives—including deconstruction, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and feminist theory—into a critical, interdisciplinary study of literature. As a scholar, teacher, and translator, Johnson helped make the theories of French philosopher Jacques Derrida accessible to English-speaking audiences in the United States at a time when they had just begun to gain recognition in France. Accordingly, she is often associated with the "Yale School" of academic literary criticism.

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Barbara Johnson


Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.

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Live for today, but hold your hands open to tomorrow. Anticipate the future and its changes with joy. There is a seed of God's love in every event, every unpleasant situation in which you may find yourself.

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Stop what you are doing long enough to enjoy the sunset, listen to a special song that lifts you up, or pick up the phone and share some special thought with a caring friend.

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You have to look for the joy. Look for the light of God that is hitting your life, and you will find sparkles you didn't know were there.

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A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

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Grudges are like hand grenades: it is wise to release them before they destroy you.

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Whatever it is probably won't go away, so we might as well live and laugh through it. When we double over laughing, we're bending so we won't break. If you think your particular troubles are too heavy and too traumatic to laugh about, remember that laughing is like changing a baby's diaper. It doesn't solve any problems permanently, but it makes things more acceptable for awhile.

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Life is a refining process. Our response to it determines whether we'll be ground down or polished up. On a piano, one person sits down and plays sonatas, while another merely bangs away at "Chopsticks." The piano is not responsible. It's how you touch the keys that makes the difference. It's how you play what life gives you that determines your joy and shine.

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We are Easter people living in a Good Friday world.

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We can never untangle all the woes in other people's lives. We can't produce miracles overnight. But we can bring a cup of cool water to a thirsty soul, or a scoop of laughter to a lonely heart.

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If things are tough, remember that every flower had to go through a whole lot of dirt to get there. So do not grieve about a bitter experience. The present is slipping by while you are regretting the past and worrying about the future. Regret will not prevent tomorrow's sorrows; it will only rob today of its strength.

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Being codependent means that when you die, someone else's life passes before your eyes.

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Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.

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It never hurts your eyesight to look on the bright side of things.

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How will you use the years God gives you? Will you be remembered for being a fault-finder? Or will you be known for your quick smile, the laugh lines around your eyes, and the twinkle deep within? After all, God gives you your face, but you provide the expression!

Barbara Johnson


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