Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Self-Reliance - Los Angeles Post-ExaminerLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Self-Reliance

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s wisdom was instrumental in shaping Dr. Ernest Holmes and the Science of Mind philosophy. One of the most powerful classes I took when studying to become a Licensed Religious Science Practitioner was on Emerson’s writings. Most of us in class found them to be a little hard to understand because of the writing style of his time. It was suggested to read for the “glimmers” or “the ideas that seem to jump off the page” at us.

One of the “glimmers” that expands my thinking comes from the essay entitled, “Self Reliance,” and it says: “I must be myself.  I cannot break myself any longer for you …”

In reading that section, I am shown the depth of what it means to be true to myself. I realize that I have only scratched the surface in practicing spiritual principles. It is easier for me to be honest about myself when I am home alone or when I am writing something that nobody will ever see.

Even then, I think I fib a little (maybe a lot). It is entirely different to be open and verbal; to show myself to the world as I truly am. Each thing I do must be of my own truth and not an attempt to please or mimic others: the clothes I wear, the color of my hair, if I wear makeup, who I marry, how I raise my children, my spiritual beliefs, my work ethic, my stand on judgment of other …

Am I willing to give up friends, family, a job, and even my life for the sake of being true to myself? Hmmm … The truth is that unless I am willing to find out who this “myself” is and answer yes to that last question, I will, at some level, think very little of myself. If I cannot answer yes, and instead choose to remain untrue to myself, I may as well be physically dead because there is no doubt that I would be emotionally and mentally dead.

“To thine own self be true.” I cannot imagine going through life not following through with this thinking. After many years of being a “chameleon,” I can no longer knowingly play that game. No matter what, whenever I am false about anything I do or say, I know it shows. Whenever I “follow the crowd” in thinking, acting, or speaking, I sense a darkness within myself.

On the other hand, when I am true to my beliefs, even though the crowd rejects me and I feel a lot of hurt and sadness, I am able to walk forward with pride and with my head held high.

Is it worth it to continue monitoring my truthfulness to myself? Yes, of course it is. And I believe that it is worth it for everyone else, as well.


About the author

Cheryl Gleghorn

Cheryl Gleghorn grew up in Milwaukee, WI where she attended St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church. The second of eight children, she started learning early on the power of love and compassion. Spirituality was her calling. Because of her affiliation with a marketing group while in her early twenties, she was introduced to the world of self-help and positive thinking … which led to the notion that there was probably a connection to God somewhere in all of that. In 1996, Cheryl found Science of Mind; A faith, a philosophy, and a way of life. This is the connection to God she was looking for. This movement was started by Dr Ernest Holmes in the early part of the twentieth century... In 2002, after several years of study, she became a licensed practitioner under the umbrella of United Church of Religious Science (later- Centers for Spiritual Living). Today she attends the Center for Spiritual Living in Bradenton, FL. Cheryl teaches this philosophy, does spiritual coaching, gives prayer support, leads meditation and facilitates visioning groups. Contact the author.
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  1. Essays Chief says:

    The post is exciting. The content explores Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay self-reliance. It denotes that Ralph Waldo Emerson’s wisdom was influential in determining Dr. Ernest Holmes and the Science of Mind philosophy. One of the most influential classes that pupils took when studying to develop into a Licensed Religious Science Practitioner was on Emerson’s writings. Most of the pupils in the class found them to be a little difficult to recognize due to the writing style of his time.

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