FOR ALL AGES

30 Best Self-Reliance Quotes By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self-reliance quotes are interesting.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, poet and philosopher who led the Transcendentalist movement in mid-19th century.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an advocate of individualism and wrote several essays including 'Circles', 'Nature', 'The Poet', and 'Experience' where he let his thoughts be known. He deeply believed in individual freedom and human beings' capability to realize their potential.

One of the most important essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson is 'Self-Reliance'. The main message of this essay is for each individual to be independent and stand on their own feet and do what they want. Emerson does not believe in falsely conforming with society's notions and ideals. Rather, humans can become happy just by changing their mindset. This article lists some of the best Ralph Waldo Emerson self-reliance quotes.

For more relatable content, check out [self-awareness quotes] and [focus on yourself quotes].

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes About Self-Reliance

Self-reliance quotes are inspiring.

Ralph Waldo Emerson did not believe in maintaining consistency but gave advice that every man should follow their own courage and have self-trust. He believed people should have spirit and trust in their opinion and genius. He believed one can only live their life well if they believe in God and their own spirit and are not afraid to show variety. This list has some self-reliance quotes and more from the philosopher.

1. "Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

2. "Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

3. "The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

4. "He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

5. "A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he. I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions"

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

6. "There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

7. "My life is for itself and not for a spectacle."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

8. "If we live truly, we shall see truly."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

9. "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Quotation About Self-Reliance

Self-reliance quotes are helpful.

For Ralph Waldo Emerson, all men and their child should follow the truth and try to reach the light as self-reliance was a good thing according to him. He said history did not matter as long as every one believed in peace and took their life into their own hands. For Emerson, the only way all humans could achieve joy was by carving their own way and following nature. The transcendentalism quotes show how he believed that happiness could be achieved in society as long as all humans in society put their mind into their work and let none and nothing distract them into conformity.  

10. "To be great is to be misunderstood."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

11. "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

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

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

13. "Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower there is no more; in the leafless root there is no less."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

14. "Let us answer a book of ink with a book of flesh and blood."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

15. "Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

16. "What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions, if I live wholly from within?"

- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

17. "Always do what you are afraid to do."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

18. "Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

19. "Infancy conforms to nobody: all conform to it."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

20. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divine."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

21. "For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure. And therefore a man must know how to estimate a sour face."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

Self-Reliance Quotes And Meanings

Each and every quote about self-reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson tells us more about his philosophy and thought. Emerson kept emphasizing on one thing, for him examples of self-reliance would be if someone followed their heart, they would attain greatness in the universe. People would also show self-reliance if they spoke to the truth and followed their nature. He wanted people to speak the words in their heart and forge their own way in life. For him, power could only be attained if people had faith in themselves.

22. "Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

23. "God will not have his work made manifest by cowards."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

24. "Misunderstood! It is a right fool's word. Is it so bad then to be misunderstood?"

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

25. "Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say ‘I think,’ ‘I am,’ but quotes some saint or sage."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

26. "It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourself."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

27. "Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

28. "I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

29. "Act singly, and what you have already done singly will justify you now. Greatness appeals to the future."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

30. "The great man is he who, in the midst of the crowd, keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Self-Reliance'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for self reliance quotes then why not take a look at be true to yourself quotes or find yourself quotes?


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The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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