3 Elegant and True Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the founders of the mid-19th century transcendental movement, known for his profound and inspiring way of thinking, his eloquent speeches and his stirring writing style. These three profound Emerson quotes are always true, even though the language in them is a bit dated.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson image by Artist: Eastman Johnson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Emerson on the Law of Nature

“The law of nature is, do the thing, and you shall have the Power; but they who do not do the thing have not the Power.”

While Emerson used the word Power in this quote, note that he capitalized it because it meant more than the type of power we typically think of when hearing the word. The Power is the Result of your efforts.

This quote invites you to take the action in life that is going to give you the results you want. And, it also kind of warns you that if you choose not to act, you most likely won’t get what you want.

Emerson on Love

“Love and you shall be loved. All love is mathematically just, as much as two sides of an algebraic equation.”

The catch that goes with this quote is – we often try to ‘command’ love. For example – someone may think or say, “I love him, but he doesn’t love me back, so this quote isn’t true.”

The thing is, you can’t command love and you can’t or shouldn’t try to impose your will on someone else. The love you give might not come back to you from the person you give it to.

That doesn’t mean the equation is untrue, it means love comes to each of us in its own way and in its own time. And, the term love in the quote doesn’t necessarily mean romantic love, it may mean friendship.

It may be the love of a pet or someone ill who you are caring for, or someone who cares for you when you get sick or infirmed. It’s just so much bigger than the love you find in a  single relationship, and it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about love as only being romantic in nature.

Emerson on Pride and Weakness

“As no man had ever a point of pride that was not injurious to him, so no man had ever a defect that was not somewhere made useful to him. Every man in his lifetime needs to thank his faults. Our strength grows out of our weakness.”

I picked this Emerson quote to add here because vanity, pride, and boastfulness are such a waste of time and energy and they only bring down the ones who tap into them. People who are amazing don’t need to tell you that they are amazing – because you already KNOW.

Plus, some of the most amazing, talented people you could ever hope to encounter, developed that amazingness and their skills – in whatever field – through pain and weakness that was out of their control.

Ralph Waldo Emerson passed away in 1882, so the grammatical styles have changed even though his messages hold true today and always.

By Laure Justice

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