Friday, May 23, 2008


This quote has been on my mind for some time.

"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men-that is genius." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I saw this quote first when I was a junior in high school. It has plagued me recently when a friend of mine complimented me on a characteristic I wasn't sure I liked. She said I handled people with the thought that they would act like me, or that they think like me, so I expect them to act in situations the way I would act. My friend on the other hand sees people with their faults and recognizes those and so doesn't expect more of them than who they really are.

So this quote has come back to haunt me. I am not even sure it is even pertinent to this particular situation. He could mean a person's faith, or deeper thoughts than just expectations of another person's actions. But it has really bothered me, I want to see people for who they are and not expect them to act and behave like I do for myself.

Just last night I was giving a massage to someone who told me that they hadn't known how to handle me when they first met me and it wasn't until later after I had borne my testimony about my son's death that they saw how real I was, and were able to approach me. I don't mean to make people uncomfortable with who I am, but I really hate "fake" people and try to stay as real to who I am, or who I think I am, as I can.

Anyway, I can see how both personalities would be good in different situations. It would be good to expect more of people and not limit them by what you think they can handle, say, while at work. While in situations where someone is acting contrary to what I would do and insulting people unintentionally and I tell them what they are doing, and they storm out and insist to everyone that I was attacking them, well in that situation it might have been better to have a little more flexibility in your thoughts of people so as to keep my big mouth shut... hypothetically of course.

So, what are your thoughts on this quote and what Emerson really meant by it?



I don't think what is true for me is true for you or others b/c everyone has their agency but I do think I am guilty of wanting others at times to think the way I think...

Sarah said...

I'm a perpetual optimist. As I think of that quote, the first thing that pops into my mind is the truth for me in the gospel. And I think it IS genius that it's true for all people. I think of beauty, love, kindness, truth. What I think right now is that you are too hard on yourself. I think you are a beautiful person, inside and out. I think you care about those around you. I think you want to make your Father in Heaven, your parent, your husband, those you love, proud of you. And they are!!! If you think with compassion, act with your heart, be yourself, then Emerson is right. It is genius. Love you.

Christine Nelson said...

I totally agree with you Sarah. That is genius. I did think about the Gospel in regards to this quote, and it makes plenty more sense this way.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to what Sarah said. Christi sticking up for others is never wrong. There are a lot of cruel and unfeeling people in this world and you are not one of them. BE YOURSELF! As for the quote it doesn't make too much sense to me. What does make sense is being your besst self and if you have a bad day that is ok because maybe it is your best self at that moment and maybe if you tell someone off the holy spirit used your mouth to do it's work. That doesn't mean that we can tell people off at will and blame it on God, we are responsible for our actions. But if you do something that is completely out of character maybe God just used you in a siuation. Don't be so hard on yourself. You are awesome!