“The inward voice alone was the oracle he obeyed”

In the 1968 set of essays titled “Slouching Toward Bethlehem”, Joan Didion cautions us on the folly of seeking “self-respect”, the “sense of one’s intrinsic worth”, from outside — from the opinions and approval of others

John Burroughs (“Whitman: A Study”) tells us that the timeless bard Walt Whitman, who faced much unpopularity during his lifetime, faced the world with a “cheerful good will.”

“The bitter-sweet cup of unpopularity he drained to its dregs, and drained it cheerfully.”

Observing of Walt that “The inward voice alone was the oracle he obeyed”, John gives us the lesson:

“There are no more precious and tonic pages in history than the records of men who have faced unpopularity, odium, hatred, ridicule, detraction, in obedience to an inward voice, and never lost courage or good-nature.”

We see a seemingly light-hearted conversation in the movie “Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin” between Winnie the Pooh and Christopher. Christopher tells a distracted, sleepy Winnie:

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Peace 😊

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