11 inspirational quotes in Spanish

11 inspirational quotes in Spanish

by Alison Maciejewski Cortez

Updated August 8, 2023

Nothing says you’re fluent quite like an ability to call upon inspirational quotes in Spanish. Whether you’re texting with a friend or giving a speech at work, uplifting and motivational quotes in Spanish are a must-have in your lexicon. 

When learning a new language, we all have challenging days. Maybe you accidentally ordered a moco (booger) at the cafe when you meant to say “mocha.” Don’t get down on yourself! These inspirational quotes in Spanish — along with their English translations — will help you tackle the day with positive energy.

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Motivational quotes in Spanish

1. “Todo es hoy. Todo está presente. Todo está, todo es aquí. Pero también todo está en otra parte y en otro tiempo. Fuera de sí y pleno de sí…” – Octavio Paz

Translation: “Everything is today. Everything is present. Everything is, everything is here. But everything is also elsewhere and at another time. Outside of oneself and full of oneself…”

Octavio Paz is a noted writer and Nobel laureate from Mexico. In this quote, he reminds us to be present in our day and mindful of our existence. Actively practicing mindfulness is a great way to reduce stress and improve your daily life.

2. “Donde haya un árbol que plantar, plántalo tú. Donde haya un error que enmendar, enmiéndalo tú. Donde haya un esfuerzo que todos esquivan, hazlo tú. Sé tú el que aparta la piedra del camino.” – Gabriela Mistral

Translation: “Where there’s a tree to plant, plant it yourself. Where there’s a mistake to amend, amend it yourself. Where there’s an effort that everyone avoids, do it yourself. Be the one who removes the stone from the road.”

Gabriela Mistral is a poet and Nobel laureate from Chile. Here, she urges us to be the change in the world that we wish to see. Small acts of kindness or thoughtfulness, like planting a tree or fixing a mistake, can be courageous as well as inspirational.

3. “Podrán cortar todas las flores pero no podrán detener la primavera.” – Pablo Neruda 

Translation: “You can cut all the flowers but you can’t stop the spring.”

The Chilean writer and poet Pablo Neruda reminds us that there is always hope and beauty in the world.

4. “Hay momentos para recitar poesías y hay momentos para boxear.” – Roberto Bolaño

Translation: “There are moments to recite poetry and there are moments for boxing.”

Some days are easy, but sometimes we have to struggle and fight to make it through.

Inspirational quotes in Spanish about friendships and love

5. “El amor no se piensa, se siente o no se siente.” – Laura Esquivel

Translation: “Love is not thought out, you feel it or you don’t.”

Mexican writer Laura Esquivel is most famous for her book Like Water for Chocolate. In this quote, Esquivel acknowledges that love is tricky. We can’t will it to happen or control it, but when we find love, we definitely know it. 

6. “Te espero sin plazo ni tiempo.” – Gabriella Mistral

Translation: “I’ll wait for you without term or time.”

Mistral’s writings are quite romantic. She was LGBTQ+ in a place and an era in which it wasn’t safe to be open. Mistral’s work resonates with the themes of passion, unrequited love and longing. This quote would be a cute message to include in your romantic partner’s Valentine’s Day card, or even in a daily love note.

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7. “Un verdadero amigo es quien te toma de la mano y te toca el corazón.” – Gabriel García Márquez.

Translation: “A true friend is one who takes you by the hand and touches your heart.”

Gabriel García Marquez, the Colombian author of the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, captures exactly how we feel about our besties in this quote. 

8. “Amar es desnudarse de los nombres.” – Octavio Paz

Translation: “To love is to disrobe you of names.”

For this Mexican poet, love does not require labels. #LoveIsLove.

Inspirational quotes in Spanish about life

9. “Entre los individuos, como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz.” – Benito Juárez

Translation: “Between individuals, as between nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.”

This monumental quote from revered historical figure Benito Juarez is something nearly all Mexicans can recite. Juarez spoke these words after Mexican Republican forces defeated the invading second French intervention in 1867. Though Juarez was demanding that foreign powers respect Mexico’s national sovereignty, this quote rings true in our everyday life. 

10. “La educación es, tal vez, la forma más alta de buscar a Dios.” – Gabriella Mistral

Translation: “Education is, possibly, the highest form of seeking God.”

Mistral was, for much of her life, a dedicated teacher in a rural part of Chile. Here, she cannot understate the value of learning and education. Learning is something we should continually cultivate in our daily lives.

11. “Si no escalas las montañas jamás podrás disfrutar el paisaje.” – Pablo Neruda

Translation: “If you don’t climb mountains, you’ll never be able to enjoy the landscape.”

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda has seen some majestic mountains, considering the Andes mountain range towers over much of Chile with the highest peaks in the Western Hemisphere. Though climbing our personal mountains can be cold, dark and miserable, we’re always the better for it.

Find your inspiration

These inspirational quotes in Spanish can help you spread some hope while flexing impressive language skills. Use them in a sweet card or a love note, or as a mantra for your morning meditation. Don’t stop with these motivational quotes in Spanish, though. All these people above are noted authors and scholars with published books in Spanish. Explore their work and find your own inspiration.

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Alison Maciejewski Cortez

Alison Maciejewski Cortez is Chilean-American, born and raised in California. She studied abroad in Spain, has lived in multiple countries, and now calls Mexico home. She believes that learning how to order a beer in a new language reveals a lot about local culture. Alison speaks English, Spanish, and Thai fluently and studies Turkish. Her consulting business takes her around the world and she is excited to share language tips as part of the Lingoda team. Follow her culinary and cultural experiences on Twitter.

Alison Maciejewski Cortez
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