What inspires you? The joy, or otherwise, of inspirational quotes…

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we get more involved with social media here at The Terrace it has struck us that many people find posting inspirational quotes a good way to interact with followers and friends. Many seem to do little else other than post such quotes. This is fine, and many people can benefit from having a sentence that they can recall when times are tough and which offers them strength and hope. However, if you are faced with hundreds in your timeline, or some that are either misquoted or not attributed to the person who first said them, do you become numbed to their power to affirm, or find yourself flicking past them – irritated as they fail to inspire?

I am struck most strongly by a quote that has stayed with me and become a favourite. To me it is as relevant today as it was when it was written in the 19th century…..

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1803 and became a linchpin of American 19th century thinking as his essays, poems and lectures made him one of the most important exponents of the Transcendentalism movement and a critic of great foresight. He influenced Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau and Robert Frost; and many other great writers, whilst denying his role in their development, were undoubtedly affected by his work.

This quote is something we would offer as a mantra that perhaps we could all cling to as the world seems to demand more and more of us each passing year.

Do you have any similar favourites?

6 thoughts on “What inspires you? The joy, or otherwise, of inspirational quotes…”

  1. Viv says:

    That is a good one.
    I like one from HH the Dalai Lama.
    Whenever possible, be kind. It is always possible.
    Also one from Plato: be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.

    1. Great Viv – thank you. It is indeed always possible to be kind – though not always easy…

  2. Hello,
    I must admit I do use quotes on the social media accounts as an introduction to the day’s business, as I have shops that use and follow these accounts it is a way of giving them ideas for display posters, window displays etc. We also use it as a way of celebrating an author’s birthday as well! – Julie

    1. I think a varied selection of quotes can be really enlightening. Pinterest is a great source. They do need to be chosen with care and for books – well the more the better!

  3. The inscription from the 1855 edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (featured on today’s Writer’s Almanac, by the way) hangs in magnet form on my refrigerator. It cheers me regularly to remember:

    “This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

    1. The list is a tall order, but that line at the end from ‘and your very flesh..’ is SO powerful. Thank you!

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