Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string

green eyed girl

Be. Here. Now.

We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope.

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.

by Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882)
Essays: First Series – Self-Reliance (1841)
image – tibchris


For me, this passage is about fully being, fully here, fully now, meeting my own gaze, aiming high, and being a little weird, if weird is the genuine and inspired best of my aspired-to best. It’s about opened eyes and holding myself accountable – like Thoreau’s open soul, as he was hearing a different drummer.


Feeling unsafe about taking chances is a bad habit that can be hard to shake.

When I was a kid, my mother taught me not to take dares. She thought that would help to keep me safe and out of trouble, and maybe it did. I don’t know what she was worried about when I was young, but as an adult I know I could have been less safe and more alive. No matter how much we hate to see our kids fall down, the true goal of any parent is to raise a child who picks themselves up. Scrapes and indignities will heal.

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One Response to “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string”

  1. mcisco Says:

    It’s not just about taking chances or being brave; read the first stanza. It is also concerning a child becoming a man and a man’s realization that his actions reverberate far past the point of decision.