It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but 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
The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?
It's an interesting question.
It's a challenging question.
It's a question that I cannot truthfully answer.
I love the quote from Self-Reliance that has prompted this thoughtful challenge. I have always been comfortable in my own solitude, in being my own self. And in doing my best, with lapses in my teenaged years, to stay true to that self. It's how my parents raised me. It's how my grandparents, on both sides, raised them.
As I've move through my adulthood, and especially as I now linger in my mid-thirties, I find that I share more commonalities with the people I surround myself with than there are differences amongst us. And I don't mean this answer as a cop out. I challenged myself all day, from the morning when the prompt arrived to the late evening when I sat down to type this reply, to come up with an answer that was true. That meant something. That would be fitting of this question.
I cannot, though, dear readers, come up with something that I know, that I believe, that I believe that any person in my inner circle does not believe. Nothing that's of importance anyway.
I believe in love.
I believe in friendship.
I believe in the power of community.
I believe we are amazing alone and we can be even greater together.
These are the beliefs that I live by every day. These are the beliefs I share with you, gentle readers, as I attempt to answer this question. It might not be the answer that was asked for.
But I certainly believe it's the right answer.