I’ve been reading bits and pieces of Emerson’s Self-Reliance essay before going to sleep the past few nights. Last night, this passage really hit home:
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.
I don’t think he is advocating non-conformity solely for the sake of nonconformity. Just a regular call to be oneself, at all times. That’s rare in the real world, I’m learning.
***Update*** I’ve been thinking a bit about this topic all day. The reason is struck me is because it seems to be another push to those of us who find nonconformity a bit tough. I’ve long considered it a challenge to act as I deep down think I should act in any given situation, simply because of social norms or, most importantly, an urge to get on everyone’s good side. That’s the true problem, isn’t it? Fighting the need to always be liked. The Michael Scott Syndrome….just a bit less dramatic.