45 Helen Keller Quotes on Life, Faith and Happiness

Helen Keller in the kitchen

Helen Keller was a famous lecturer, author, activist and educator who advocated for underprivileged individuals, such as women, people with disabilities and African Americans. So, it's no wonder that Helen Keller’s quotes are often profound and optimistic, ranging from topics like education and nature to love and dogs.

Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama in 1880, and she became deaf and blind at 19 months old due to an illness. Keller’s mother sought medical advice for Helen’s condition and was eventually referred to Alexander Graham Bell because, at the time, he worked with deaf children. Graham recommended that the Keller family visit the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts.

It was at Perkins where Keller met Anne Sullivan, the tutor she would work with for 49 years. Sullivan was partially blind, but she taught Keller how to spell by signing the alphabet in her hand until Keller learned all the letters. One of their most notable experiences was when Sullivan spelled “w-a-t-e-r” in one of Keller’s hands, while her other hand felt the cool water from a water spout. Keller went on to complete formal speech classes and learn braille and the art of manual lip-reading.

With assistance from Sullivan, Keller graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College in 1904. She even published her autobiography, The Story of My Life, in 1903. While she may be known for her loss of sight and incredible life, Keller was passionate about raising awareness for causes such as women’s suffrage and the labor movement. In 1924, The American Federation for the Blind designated Keller as their official spokeswoman.

Here are 45 Helen Keller quotes that reflect her varied life experiences and passions.

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45 Helen Keller Quotes



1. "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched—they must be felt with the heart."

2. "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."

3. “Long before I learned to do a sum in arithmetic or describe the shape of the earth, Miss [Anne] Sullivan had taught me to find beauty in the fragrant woods, in every blade of grass, and in the curves and dimples of my baby sister’s hand.”

4. "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."



5. "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

6. "Nobody, who is not blind, as much as they may love their pet, can know what a dog’s love really means. Dogs have traveled all over the world with me. They have always been my companions. A dog has never failed me."

7. "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."

8. "Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow."

9. "What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us."



10. "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."

11. "The highest result of education is tolerance."

12. "What a blind person needs is not a teacher but another self."

13. "I knew then that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!"

14. "We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world."

15. "I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."

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16. "What I'm looking for is not out there, it is in me."

17. "The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome."

18. "We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough."

19. "True happiness... is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."

20. "No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit."



21. "Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."

22. "When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."

23. "Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight."

24. "The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

25. "Education should train the child to use his brains, to make for himself a place in the world and maintain his rights even when it seems that society would shove him into the scrap-heap."

26. "Life is an exciting business, and most exciting when it is lived for others."

27. "So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good."

28. "Each day comes to me with both hands full of possibilities."

29. "If I write what my soul thinks it will be visible, and the words will be its body."

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30. "Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow."

31. "Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."

32. "The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker."

33. "Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light."

34. "Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world."

35. "We can do anything we want to if we stick to it long enough."

36. "I thank God for my handicaps. For through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God."

37. "Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow."

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38. "A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn."

39. "The world is full of suffering, but it is also full of the overcoming of it."

40. "No one has the right to consume happiness without producing it."

41. "I believe that God is in me as the sun is in the colour and fragrance of a flower – the Light in my darkness, the Voice in my silence."

42. "Every child has a right to be well-born, well-nurtured and well-taught, and only the freedom of woman can guarantee him this right."

43. "We are never really happy until we try to brighten the lives of others."

44. "Four things to learn in life: To think clearly without hurry or confusion; To love everybody sincerely; To act in everything with the highest motives; To trust God unhesitatingly."

45. "Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same."

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