We Look Into Mirrors But We Only See the Effects of Our Times On Us—Not Our Effect On Others

Pearl Bailey? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: When you look into a mirror your self-image may be altered, but you are not forced to see yourself objectively. You do not perceive yourself through the eyes of others, and you do not really understand your effect on others. The U.S. actress and singer Pearl Bailey once said something like this. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1976 Pearl Bailey published a collection of short essays titled “Hurry Up, America, & Spit”. The piece titled “We Look Into Mirrors” begins with the following statement. Boldface added to excerpts: 1

We look into mirrors but we only see the effects of our times on us—not our effect on others.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading We Look Into Mirrors But We Only See the Effects of Our Times On Us—Not Our Effect On Others

Notes:

  1. 1976, Hurry Up, America, & Spit by Pearl Bailey, Chapter: We Look Into Mirrors, Quote Page 52, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York. (Verified with scans)

Some of the Biggest Failures I Ever Had Were Successes

Pearl Bailey? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Everyone experiences failures in life. Yet, each setback can be transformed into an energizing event and an episode of learning. Even the largest failures can be changed into successes. The prominent U.S. actress and singer Pearl Bailey said something like this. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1971 Pearl Bailey published the memoir “Talking To Myself” which included the following passage: 1

Some of the biggest failures I ever had were successes. A man has to try in order to grow, and try again. The point is that it’s the trying that does it, and not necessarily achieving what he is attempting to do.

For every failure, one grows a bit. Failure inspires some people to go on, at least that’s the way it affects the greats of show business as I’ve observed them.

This remark combines two contradictory words: “failures” and “successes”. The resulting figure of speech is called an oxymoron, and it seems inconsistent from a narrow overly literal viewpoint; however, a wider perspective reveals its insightfulness.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Some of the Biggest Failures I Ever Had Were Successes

Notes:

  1. 1973 (1971 Copyright), Talking To Myself by Pearl Bailey, Chapter: The measure of its contents, Quote Page 176, Pocket Books: A Division of Simon & Schuster, New York. (Verified with scans)