What does this quote mean to you?

Quote of the Day - How to Understand People

Today's quote comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American lecturer, poet, and essayist who championed individualism and played a central role in the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Even though Emerson lived in the 1800s, I feel this quote is still quite relevant in today's world. When he says "the world," he is really referring to society as a whole, which often pressures us to live up to certain expectations.

There's always going to be something about you that people take issue with. This might include the fact you're:

  • A virgin
  • Not into drinking, smoking, drugs, or other substances
  • Not married
  • Child-free (and may never plan to have any children)
  • Shy or introverted
  • In a non-traditional, low-paying field (teaching, etc.)
  • Of a certain religion
  • Dating someone a lot older, younger, or of a different race
  • Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender
  • And the list goes on...
Unfortunately, many people will try to goad you into changing this aspect of yourself. The reason for this, as you may have already noticed, is that when something about someone is a little different, it tends to make other people very uncomfortable. They can't fathom, for example, how someone could not want to drink or hit up the clubs every weekend. 

Take the movie "The 40-Year Old Virgin." Remember how Andy's friends reacted once they realized he'd never before had sex? They found it acceptable and immediately resolved to end his slump by trying to pair him with everyone from a drunk woman to a transvestite prostitute.

Though the world may try to change who we are, we must always stick to our guns, provided we don't want to change this given attribute. No one should coax you into doing something you don't want to do just to satisfy his or her ego.

If there's something about you someone doesn't like or comprehend, they'll just have to live with it. If you're introverted and enjoy being this way, don't let someone try turning you into a social butterfly. If you're against drinking or smoking, whether in principle or for health reasons, resist others' efforts to get you to compromise your stance.
Don't succumb to pressure -- stand firmly by your principles and love yourself for who you are!

What does this quote mean to you

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To check out earlier posts, click here: How to Understand People


Anonymous said...

The quote is so true. There are so many times when I've tried to live up to the expectations of others and have failed. I can't be "me" with some people. I hate that. I think that's why my marriage has lasted so long. We have total trust and mutual expectations, which is something that is lacking in relationships most people have.

Jeff M. said...

What a great reply! Thanks for sharing. It's a shame we're afraid to be our true selves around certain people. Unfortunately, peer pressure is not exclusive to middle and high schools. We get pressured to go against the grain as adults as well.