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28 Inspiring Sigmund Freud Quotes

Sigmund Freud was the famed (and controversial) psychoanalyst who introduced concepts like the Oedipus complex, the ego, the unconscious, and dream interpretation. He was also a prolific writer, publishing literally hundreds of books, essays, and articles during his lifetime.

If you want to know more about Freudian thought, exploring some of the many Sigmund Freud quotes can be a great place to start.

Sigmund Freud’s Theories of Psychology

Freud was a neurologist who founded the school of thought known as psychoanalysis. According to Freud, early childhood experiences shape adult personality. 

The unconscious mind also affects feelings and behaviors. It is the unconscious where all of our unacceptable or repressed memories, desires, and needs are hidden.

While the contents of the unconscious mind may be outside of awareness, they continue to shape behavior, influence our relationships, and even contribute to mental health problems. 

Freud also proposed other theories, including his concepts of the id, ego, and superego and his theory of psychosexual development.

While you’d need a lot more time to explore his ideas, you can get an overview of some of his main ideas and points in these Sigmund Freud quotes.

10 of the Most Inspirational Sigmund Freud Quotes

  1. “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”
  2. “Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”
  3. “Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love have, so to speak, pawned a part of their narcissism.”
  4. “Just as no one can be forced into belief, so no one can be forced into unbelief.”
  5. “In the small matters, trust the mind, in the large ones, the heart.”
  6. “The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing.”
  7. “Everywhere I go, I find a poet who has been there before me.”
  8. “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, make sure that you’re not surrounded by fools.”
  9. “When inspiration does not come to me, I go halfway to meet it.”
  10. “We are what we are because we have been what we have been.”

Sigmund Freud Quotes on Psychoanalysis

“The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.”

“The ego is not master in its own house.”

“The mind is like an iceberg; it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.”

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”

“The aim of psychoanalysis is to relieve people of their neurotic unhappiness so that they can be normally unhappy.”


Freud believed that the human mind was made up of three parts: the id, the ego, and the superego. The ego is the part of personality grounded in reality that is charged with mediating the demands of the primal id, the idealistic superego, and the constraints imposed by the real world. In addition to the things we are aware of in our conscious minds, Freud also believed that the much larger unconscious mind had a critical sway over the things we feel, think, and do. Through psychoanalysis, he suggested, people could uncover these elements and relieve the psychological distress that might make it difficult for them to function.

Sigmund Freud Quotes About Truth and Honesty

“Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.”

“From error to error, one discovers the entire truth.”

“I no longer count as one of my merits that I always tell the truth as much as possible; it has become my metier.”

“Even if all parts of a problem seem to fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, one has to remember that the probable need not necessarily be the truth, and the truth not always probable.”


As these Freud quotes suggest, the famed theorist believed that psychoanalysis could be used to help people uncover the truth and fit together the pieces of their minds.

Sigmund Freud Quotes About Emotions

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”

“Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.”

“Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair; they can transfer knowledge from teacher to student; words enable the orator to sway his audience and dictate its decisions. Words are capable of arousing the strongest emotions and prompting all men’s actions.”

“One must not be mean with affections; what is spent of the funds is renewed in the spending itself. Left untouched for too long, they diminish imperceptibly or the lock gets rusty; they are there all right but one cannot make use of them.”


Freud believed that the human mind is often influenced by unconscious emotions that people are unaware of. When these emotions are difficult or inappropriate, people may use defense mechanisms to manage them. Examples of defenses that people might use to deal with emotions that provoke feelings of anxiety include denial, suppression, repression, and displacement.

Sigmund Freud Quotes About Love

“We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love, never so forlornly unhappy as when we have lost our love object or its love.”

“How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.”

“Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.”

“Love and work, work and love…that’s all there is.”

“In the development of mankind as a whole, just as in individuals, love alone acts as the civilizing factor in the sense that it brings a change from egoism to altruism.”


Freud believed that our earliest experiences with love played a major role in shaping human personality. People who are hurt and have terrible experiences with love may carry their distress and pain into adulthood, which may then have a continued effect on a person’s ability to function and their adult relationships.

Exploring these complicated feelings about love through psychoanalysis is one way that Freud believed people could experience catharsis and relieve feelings of psychological distress.

Sigmund Freud Quotes About Dreams

Dreams played an important role in Sigmund Freud’s theories. He believed that dreams were a way to look at the contents of the unconscious mind. Here are just a few things he had to say about what dreams reveal:

“Dreams tell us many an unpleasant biological truth about ourselves and only very free minds can thrive on such a diet. Self-deception is a plant which withers fast in the pellucid atmosphere of dream investigation.”

“We are what we are because we have been what we have been.”

“The dream is the (disguised) fulfillment of a (suppressed, repressed) wish.”

“If we subject the content of the dream to analysis, we become aware that the dream fear is no more justified by the dream content than the fear in a phobia is justified by the idea upon which the phobia depends.”

“The desires which are realized in dreams are left over from the day or, as a rule, the day previous, and the feeling has become intently emphasized and fixed during the day thoughts. Accidental and indifferent matters, or what must appear so to the child, find no acceptance in the contents of the dream.”


These quotes about dreams reveal some of Freud’s main ideas about the function of dreams. Human behavior and personality is influenced by the unconscious mind, which contains all of the thoughts, wishes, desires, and memories that the mind keeps out of conscious awareness. In order to bring these unconscious feelings to light, Freud believed we must look at dreams and interpret their meaning to understand what they signify.

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