Trust: Do you trust … thyself?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Trust

Ralph Waldo EmersonMany Americans no longer trust the institutions that govern our lives. The failure of the Congress to reach an accord and the ensuing government shutdown is Exhibit #1. As one commentator said, America is starting to look like Italy—always in a state of crisis, always teetering on the edge of chaos.

So, who can we trust?

Are we left with just one source: ourselves?

Self-reliance is one of 10 core American values. According to my national surveys, more than 80% of Americans agree that “I would rather depend on myself than on others” and “I rely on myself most of the time.”

The value of self-reliance goes back to the founding of the nation. It was given eloquent form in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s classic essay, Self-Reliance, published in 1847. Consider the three main points from the Sage of Concord’s essay.

The self-contained genius: “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men—that is genius.”

Ignore the world: “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance, that imitation is suicide…”

Trust yourself: “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”

Do you trust yourself?

Do Emerson’s words ring truer now than ever before?

Are we left with just one source to trust: ourselves?

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