7 Inspiring Mario Benedetti Quotes that Help You Understand Life

Mario Benedetti (1920 - 2009) was a Uruguayan poet, journalist and novelist.  He was much more well known in countries that speak Spanish than countries that speak English.  In his books “Love, Women and Life”, “Mailbox of Time” and “Biography to Find Myself”, there are some very thought provoking writings and poems about the subject of love.  The following is a list of some of the best quotes from Mario Benedetti that may trigger you to reflect on your relationship with your other half.  


“Love is not repetition. Each act of love is a cycle of its own, a closed orbit in its own ritual”

The above Mario Benedetti quote is a beautiful way of saying that every moment is unique and we have to learn how to live in the present.  We shouldn’t treat any action as a means, but as an end of its own.  It’s good to have goals but it’s often more important to love the process because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.  


“After all, death is a symbol that there was life.”

The world is a very interesting place.  Where something bad exists, you can almost assume that something good, the opposite, exists, and vice versa.  That’s very similar to the concept of “yin and yang” from Laozi’s book “Tao Te Ching”.  It’s almost like when someone created something good, the opposite bad thing will exist.  More accurately, in most cases, the opposite already exists.  It’s the discovery that someone is good that makes the bad people look more obvious.  Reflecting on death, or being aware that we are going to die one day, can make it easier to know what’s important in life.  


“That someone makes you feel things without putting a finger on you, that’s admirable.”

It’s good to make people you love feel good; it’s even better to make them feel good without doing too much.  For example, when your child has a problem, it may be nice for you to help the child solve the problem completely.  But could your child learn if you do all the things?  Would you make your child feel small?  A possibly better way to help your child is to guide him or her subtly and provide just enough guidance and resources to inspire your child to solve the problem.  Making people feel better and helping people without putting too much “you” to the situation is an art that’s worth learning.  


“Five minutes are enough to dream a whole life, that is how relative time is.”

The above quote is probably one of the most famous quotes by Mario Benedetti.  It does sound good but the meaning may not be that easy to get.  Here’s another translation of the famous quote which sounds less artistic but more understandable: “Five minutes are enough to live a whole life, so time is relative.”  In simple terms, if you can have a very meaningful five minutes of your life, your life is very fruitful.  Time is only meaningful when it’s used in a meaningful way.  


“No one warned us that missing someone was the price of good times.”

Life balances itself out a lot of the time.  You only miss someone because you love someone.  You get hurt because you care.  So should we stop loving and caring?  No.  Life has ups and downs and we should enjoy this nature of life.  Having said that, it’s our choice to choose how high we want our emotion to get when happiness comes and how low we allow ourselves to reach when bad things happen.  There's no right or wrong answer for that.  For people that prefer having a more mindful and calm life, they may want to keep the emotion mild.  There is a very subtle and satisfying feeling of peace and joy when you keep your happiness and sadness relatively mild.  But no approach can be labelled as the perfect one as everything is subjective and relative.  It’s a choice.  


“Perfection is a polished collection of errors.”

There are two layers to this quote.  First, we learn from mistakes and we can relatively reach perfection after learning enough from mistakes, whether they are ours or someone else’s.  As the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect.”  Second, nothing is truly perfect.  There are always special cases that make a solution fail to work.  Sometimes, it’s better to know when something is close enough to perfection.  That doesn’t mean that you cannot use “perfection” as your goal because using “perfection” as the aim can work for some people.  It’s just that we should be aware that there is no such thing as “perfection”.  


“Generosity is the only legitimate selfishness.”

This Mario Benedetti quote is really interesting.  How is generosity selfishness?  An even more interesting follow-up question would be: should we be generous if being generous is being selfish in one form or the other.  First of all, let’s look at how generosity equals selfishness.  Let’s use the example of donating money.  Let’s say that you have donated money and let people know that you did.  In that case, it’s obvious that one part of your incentive, could be just a small part, is to let people know that you are a nice person.   So, someone can argue that you do it mainly to make yourself feel good and look good.  Now, what about if you donate without letting people know.  Someone can still argue that you still do it mainly to make yourself feel good.  Is that really selfishness?  It really depends on how you define the word “selfishness”.  Yet, it is hard to argue that one part of the incentive to do such a generous act is for yourself.  Then should we keep doing generous things if these actions are benefiting yourself?  Why not?  Why not do these win-win actions?  People build things that improve the world we live in and they get their rewards in different forms.  It can be useful to be aware that everyone is selfish to a degree and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Balance is the key.  


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