Quote Origin: One Day in Retrospect the Years of Struggle Will Strike You As the Most Beautiful

Sigmund Freud? C. G. Jung? Apocryphal?

Question for Quote Investigator: Apparently, a famous psychoanalyst once said that when one looks back at one’s life the periods of struggle will be considered the most beautiful. Do you know whether something like this was said by Sigmund Freud or C. G. Jung?

Reply from Quote Investigator: In 1907 psychotherapist Sigmund Freud wrote a letter to his colleague C. G. Jung in which he encouraged Jung to continue his efforts despite opposition. Freud wished to found a journal which would be called “Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse”. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:1

Let us found our journal. People will grumble, buy and read it. One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.

Freud penned the original statement in German. The translation above by Tania and James Stern appeared in the “Letters of Sigmund Freud” in 1960.

Additional details and citations are available in the article on the Medium platform which is located here.

Image Notes: Picture of a person climbing a cliff from Patrick Hodskins at Unsplash. The image has been cropped.

Acknowledgement: Great thanks to Jon Miltimore who wrote an article that referred to this quotation. Miltimore searched Wikiquote and the Quote Investigator website for the quotation and found nothing relevant. Miltimore also asked ChatGPT which replied that the quotation was “commonly attributed to Sigmund Freud. However, there is no concrete evidence that he actually said or wrote these words.” Now, a search at the Quote Investigator website will find this webpage of helpful information.

[1] 1960, Letters of Sigmund Freud, Selected and edited by Ernst L. Freud, Translated by Tania and James Stern, Letter Number 127, Letter from: Sigmund Freud, Letter to: C. G. Jung, Letter location: Rome, Date: September 19, 1907, Start Page 257, Quote Page 258, Basic Books, New York. (Verified with scans)

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