Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was one of the most famous civil rights activists in history. But did you know that he also spoke eloquently on love, passion, forgiveness, and communication?

Here are just a few inspirational quotes that can teach you how to navigate relationships of all kinds.


1. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

This is one of Dr. King’s most famous quotes, and it endures because it strikes a chord in everyone who reads it. If you’ve ever hated or even disliked someone, you know how much that it can bring you down. Studies have shown that it can even affect your brain chemistry. If you want to be happy, you’ll need to free yourself from the emotional burden of unhappy emotions.

2. “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

When you read the speeches and essays of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, you’ll realize that communication was one of his most exceptional skills. He fought for peace, but he knew that peace wouldn’t come without understanding, and understanding wouldn’t happen without people sitting down and talking to one another. If you’re having relationship problems with someone in your life, communication is critical.

3. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

Dr. King was a significant advocate for helping the poor and oppressed. He wasn’t just a civil rights leader. s In fact, this man also fought for everyone, from sanitation workers to military veterans. He believed quite strongly that people must help each other.

4. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a constant attitude.”

Forgiveness is hard. You might even need a little help in letting go. Once you’ve taught yourself how to move on from injuries and offenses, however, you’ll find that a forgiving attitude can help you improve all of the relationships in your life.

5. “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'”

If anyone can teach you a lesson in selflessness, it’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Many of his sermons were centered around helping people, building communities, treating others fairly, and thinking about the needs of your fellow man before your own. Fight the urge to be self-centered. It won’t nourish your soul as altruism does.

6. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

There are many inspirational quotes about love out there, but romantic love isn’t the only kind of love worth pursuing. You can love everyone in your life, including your enemies. Not only will it help you be a better person, but it might just transform the other individual as well.

7. “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”

Silence isn’t always golden. If you aren’t communicating with your partner, you might be hurting the relationship just as much as hurling insults or making accusations. Talk to the people that you love. Open up. Make an effort.

8.”Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”

How do you define happiness? How can you achieve it? These are big-picture questions that can prompt you to re-think everything from your attitudes to your habits, but if you ask Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the quickest path to happiness is to make someone else happy. The world would probably be a much better place if we all believed as he did.

9. “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

There are very few mustache-twirling villains in real life. Most people offer up both good and bad traits, and if we want to understand them, we’ll need to recognize the duality of their personality. This understanding applies to everyone, from bad bosses to nosy neighbors. Forgive the people around you for not being perfect. No one is.

10. “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”

You can’t be disappointed in someone if you didn’t have faith in them in the first place. If someone has failed to live up to your expectations, try not to scold them or judge them. Remember why you believed in them, and give them another chance. Your support might make all of the difference in their eventual success, but your intolerance or indifference will only bring suffering.

11. “One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right if the head is totally wrong. Only through the bringing together of head and heart – intelligence and goodness – shall man rise to a fulfillment of his true nature.”

This quote is a wise observation about balancing the needs of the heart and the head. You should never fully listen to either! Don’t ignore what your instincts are telling you, but don’t forget to be rational and reasonable as well. You have a mind and a soul in your body. Make use of them both.

12. “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Relationships are a two-way street. If you aren’t thriving, your partner can’t succeed either. The reverse is also true: If your partner is struggling, their struggles are going to have ripple effects on you. If you want to build a happy, healthy relationship, both parties need to commit to that goal wholeheartedly.

13. “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

This statement is another big-picture quote. However, it’s relevant to anyone who is wondering about the meaning of their life or the purpose of their relationships. What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of relationships do you want to have? If an alien was observing you from outer space, what conclusions would they draw about humanity?

14. “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”

Some people don’t know what they’re talking about. The bad news is that even Dr. King had to deal with individuals like this, so there’s no magical cure for making them understand what they’re doing wrong. However, you can learn some coping strategies for dealing with difficult people.

15. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Character builds through struggle. This fact applies to life, work, family, careers, finances and everything in between. Try not to let the bad times of a relationship overwhelm you; in their way, they’re just as important as the good ones. They’ll show you what you’re made of, and they’ll give you strength and experience to tuck into your belt and use for future hardships.

16. “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

Dr. King was speaking of racial tolerance when he delivered this line, but it can apply to smaller, day-to-day wrongs as well. For example, if you allow bad behavior to persist in a romantic relationship, you’re enabling it in a way that’s just as bad as perpetrating it. As you’ve learned from other quotes on this list, it’s always better to communicate than to silently seethe or stew.

happiness quotes
happiness quotes
17. “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”

This is one of our favorite inspirational quotes about hope because it acknowledges the reality of unhopeful days. You can’t stop them. Disappointments will happen; failures will occur. The critical thing to remember is that adverse outcomes are always temporary, but positive outlooks can be permanent.

18. “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

This saying is one of the all-time famous quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and it can teach us a valuable lesson about love, peace, and tolerance. No matter how much you might be justified in hating someone, it isn’t right for you, and it isn’t good for the world. Only love can conquer all.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of humanity’s greatest thinkers, speakers, and dreamers. Don’t brush his words aside. Even if you have to chew on them for a bit to truly understand them, they’re worth the contemplation.