Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

Ralph Waldo Emerson

            “Trust thyself.” The aforementioned phrase is repeatedly used by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his work entitled: Self Reliance, which is also the exact message that he wants to impart upon his readers. The concept of self-reliance also plays an important role in the life of an individual because he or she should be able to trust himself or herself, especially in making important decisions in ones’ life. An individual can rely on other people but at the end of the day it is still of utmost importance that he or she can depend on him/herself.

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Self-reliance or depending at oneself is the very explanation of Emerson for the phrase “trust thyself”.  He argued in his work that individuals have a unique genius that can only be revealed once a person is brave enough to trust his or her own knowledge, attitudes, and feelings. However, the quest for people to fully realize their unique genius is often hindered by societal disapproval and foolish inconsistencies. Emerson pointed out that people who have the courage to express and act on their unique genius can actually be regarded as part of the same level of the important remarkable personalities in history (Emerson, 1967).

Ralph Waldo Emerson was able to impart an important and very enlightening message in his work, Self-reliance. Indeed, it is essential that an individual can depend and trust in himself for herself, especially since he or she is the one responsible in making important decisions in his or her life. An individual can only reach his or her full potential if he or she can be able to master the courage to show his or her real self, which include his or her ideas, attitudes, and emotions. Societal constraints should not prevent people from doing what their heart desires but they should be mindful of their responsibility of not causing harm to other people while pursuing their goals. People should not merely follow the societal script that is dictated by the society but rather they should start writing their own script, which expresses their unique genius and perspective about life.


Emerson, R.W. (1993). Self-reliance and other essays. United States: Courier Dover



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