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Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #93 --- Be True to Yourself
Quotatons on Be True to Yourself
We express our minds through language but there are times when the thousands of words in our dictionaries are inadequate to say just what we mean. Consider, for instance, the word "love," which means many things. Always we have just the word, love, to use and we make this word cover all of the many ideas we associate with the experience of loving.
The Greeks used to make finer distinctions than our language permits. They had a word which meant married love, and another which referred to the love of friends, another to family and yet another for the attitude of love toward other members of the great human family. One of the Greek words which we translate as "love" was "agape," which meant variously "contentment,' "satisfaction" and our love for God. When Jesus said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27), He was probably using the word "agape."
Our standard for loving our neighbor is our love for ourselves. Is it possible for us to love ourselves? The New Testament seems to take it for granted that we should love ourselves. You might say that self-love is a duty and an obligation.
We should be fit for ourselves to know. We should be good company for ourselves. These things are possible when we have faith in ourselves, when we trust ourselves and respect ourselves. Then we are contented and satisfied with ourselves.
There is very little which any of us can give to the world. But there is one priceless thing, more valuable then our possessions, that we can give. This is ourselves and none other can give what we individually can. I cannot give to my fellowmen money, houses, automobiles, food or luxuries, however greatly I may love men and wish to help them. I do not own these things. But I can give myself, my sense of good will, my word of encouragement, my helping hand, my faith in man and in God. These things we can all give and it is these things that others need and want.
Can you now see why Christ taught that we should love ourselves rightly before we love others? If we hate ourselves, then our lives project hatred into the community. If we love ourselves possessively, then we shall have only a possession and selfish love toward others. But if we are contented and satisfied within ourselves, we shall be able to offer the world those things which have brought radiance into our lives. To thine own self be true, Shakespeare wrote, and it must follow as the night the day that thou canst not then be false to other men.
---Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 27, 1957.
The first philosopher in human history was a Greek named Thales and the first word of his philosophy was this: "Know thyself." Three maxims were inscribed on the walls of the temple of Apollo at Delphi and above the others were the words, "Know thyself." This lesson is a clarion from Socrates, Aristotle, Cicero and a host of others who being dead yet speak.
To know ourselves is a word we would do well to ponder. You may notice that I did not suggest that we should know the crowd. We do not need to be urged to understand mankind en masse. Everything in life contrives to make us conform to the crowd. Society tells us what to wear and how to wear it. Society proscribes what we shall eat and how. Society seems at times to make requirements concerning even what we shall think and how we shall express our thoughts. ...
What we have in America today are not individuals who make their individual contributions to the group, but rather individuals have given their individualism away. We have lost our sense of selfhood.
Rightly to know ourselves means that we have achieved an honest understanding of our individual assets and liabilities. We recognize our potentialities and capacities. We have a winsome assurance of those capabilities upon which meaningful lives may be built. And with all this we also are willing to accept ourselves for what we are, with no regrets for what we are not.
My plea is that each of us realize the importance of knowing ourselves. Only as we get to know ourselves can we do anything to improve and so to make ourselves more useful to God and man.
---Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 21, 1960.
This word comes from the pen of one of the wisest and best of all writers who has put this word upon the lips of one of the most foolish men his imagination created. The writer is Shakespeare and the character is Ponolius, who in spite of his customary foolishness rose to the responsible role of a father when he bids his son Laertes goodbye with the words, "To thine own self be true."
When we have learned to know both God and ourselves, then we must turn to the mastery of being true to ourselves. This may be the most difficult of all lessons and also the most important. Dr. Phillips' translation of St. Paul's familiar words comes to mind: "My own behavior baffles me. For I find myself doing what I really want to do but doing what I really loathe. I often find that I have the will to do good, but not the power. It is an agonizing situation." (Romans 7:15-16.)
Many of us are long overdue for an agonizing appraisal of our own lives. We know that God and man expect from us. We know what we should expect of ourselves. But our behavior falls far, far short. We readily admit sense of shame for what we do and the way we do it. But we don't make a determined effort to be true to our best selves.
We cannot permit ourselves to become morally and spiritually Fifth Amendment Christians. There is a work for us to accomplish and there is a word and a witness which we are morally obligated to say. When we are unwilling or incapable of doing what we know to be right, we become ashamed and dissatisfied with ourselves. This leads eventually to spiritual death.
If you and I are to be true to ourselves and do those things which we know we should do, we may like Paul find ourselves to be helpless. By ourselves we often can do nothing. But like Paul we may tap divine resources of strength and encouragement. Then with Paul we may say that we can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth us. (See Philippians 4:13.).
---Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 22, 1960.
Some time ago Dr. David MacLennan wrote a book entitled "Making the Most of Your Best." ... The title pinpoints something to which each of us ought to give consideration.
The face is that too many of us make the most of our worst. We fret and stew about our shortcomings and failures. We concentrate on our weaknesses. We lament over our inadequacies. We seldom think about our strong points, those assets on the balance sheet of our lives.
We are the same way when it comes to our judgments of other people. Too many of our comments about others concern their weaknesses. We criticize their shortcomings. We exaggerate their failures. But we forget all about their good points.
When a woman was recently complaining about her husband, she recited one by one his failures as a man about the house. When she had almost exhausted herself, I asked, "Are there any good things about him?" Yes, she was certain that he was not all bad. I probed a bit and soon she was naming off things about him which made her feel happy that she was married to him and not some other man. Her face brightened and I seemed to feel that she was happy that she had long ago decided to share his name and home.
I admire and respect genuinely humble persons. Their humility is a tonic and a blessing. But I don't enjoy talking with persons who are forever browbeating themselves and coming to me with a recital of their deficiencies. I think such people underestimate their real worth. They have so long bemoaned the fact that they are they that they have forgotten their assets.
To my way of thinking the real tragedy in life of Judas was not that he betrayed our Lord but that long before he had betrayed his best self.
On the other hand is Simon Peter, an ordinary and unfettered fisherman who seems destined to remain forever a tender of nets on the shores of Galilee. But by Christ's aid Peter learned to make the most of his best. Even after he had denied our Lord and sworn that he knew Him not, Peter did not give way completely to his nature. The redemption and salvation of a man is wrought within him. The Spirit moves to transform our worst into our best.
---Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 23, 1960.
Injustice works with blighting power in a human life. For the one by whom it is practiced it has a harmful influence. A truly great man is always just, and if he is not his character and disposition both suffer. The one against whom injustice is worked is always injured, and usually through no fault of his own. If all men were just, conditions would be ideal, trouble would be easily borne, and poverty would be practically unknown.
Jesus was always just, and he who is His professed follower must be so, too, or his life will react against his Master. The world is waiting for consistency. Against it, it has no complaint, and contrary to it no argument.
Be Just to yourself, and you will make your life a contribution to humanity's welfare.
Be Just to your friends, and you will have no misunderstandings; and the years will but cement your friendship.
Be Just to the unfortunate. Sometimes a cheer, a smile, or a lift at a burden will turn the tide of a discouraged life.
Be Just to God. Thank Him for health and strength, for home and for happiness.
Be Just to Christ. Give Him your life, and see what He will do with it. Practice His precepts, and see how your blessings will multiply.
---J. Wilbur Chapman, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., March 11, 1915.
It is not always possible to be what the world calls successful. In spite of heroic efforts and faithful endeavor some men fail. But it is possible to Be True.
It is not given to everyone to be great. Most men live out of the limelight unnoticed and unknown. They live and work and die, and the world takes little notice of them. But it is given to everyone to Be True.
When one has a high ideal, and a purpose to reach it; when life is governed by unselfish principles; when wrong is resisted, when right is encouraged; and when there is a constant purpose to do the best at any cost, we are approaching the true standard of living as God has planned it.
Be true to yourself, or you will suffer.
Be true to your friends, or you will lose them.
Be true to your ideals, or they will mock you.
Be true to God, or the best of life will be lost to you.
The only true live is lived in harmony with God's will, and under the direction of the Son of God. It is built upon the Bible as a sure foundation. It is developed in the light of the love of God. It is inspired by the need of others less fortunate than ourselves, and goes on in increasing strength and beauty.
The Christian life is ever inspiring, because it supplies the strength to reach one's ideal; it overcomes the weakness which is the result of sin; it imparts courage for the next conflict, and builds a structure in humanŠ character which lasts for time and reaches into Eternity.
Be true to Christ. Accept Him. Confess Him. Follow Him. Obey Him. And life with be worthwhile.
---J. Wilbur Chapman, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., March 14, 1915.
Every person must face himself in a spiritual mirror that reflects the desires, aspirations and characteristics of the true self.
The only avenue open for a person to be true to himself, to mankind and to God, is to face himself in his true responsibility which ultimately leads him to the remembrance of God and His divine authority.
---Dan C. Coker, Matador Tribune, Matador, Texas, May 16, 1963.
We have all at times used the expression, "I don't feel quite myself," meaning we are not at our best. So we say of a singer, or orator, "he was not at himself," or "up to himself." Instinctively each man claims that his best is his real self. In the realm of sports each one claims that his best game--the best game he was ever played, even though he has never played it but once--is his game, and I heartily support that claim.
The very best a man can do, or be, is his real self. When he is "off his game"--playing less than his best--he is to that extent "off or below his real self." Because a man is only at his best when an ideal or a cause has summoned all of his faculties and powers into action for accomplishment. Anything less than that is less than his real self.
So I maintain that a man has a right to be judged by his best, and never by his worst. This could be true, too, in our judgments of groups, nations, and races. Most of the hatreds and prejudices which divide races and nations into hostile camps have been the result of the type of propaganda which features and exaggerates the worst.
Yet each one of us instinctively knows he has never done, or been his best. Has it not been the expression of everyone, that even in the accomplishment of the best he has ever done, there is the consciousness that not even then has he given a full and complete expression of the powers of his personality? Perhaps at the moment of his highest expression, there is the distinct sense of still greater resources not yet called into action.
The best we know is always the prophecy of something better. So there is always a possible self which dwells beyond the self which has been realized, beckoning and calling toŠ us. Thus life in a very real sense is a search for one's self--his best self. This search is not necessarily a conscious seeking, nor has one usually any definite ideal of the self he is to find. But that instinctive effort to give expression to his physical and psychic powers, is one's reach after the attractive bauble held before his eyes, is the first conscious response of his possible personality. When he toddles out of the nursery, big eyed with curiosity, into the big world of sights and sounds, he is beginning the long search for himself.
But why we may ask go into the world outside? Because it is the world outside which calls to the self inside. We can only find ourselves in this big world of adventure, problems, and responsibilities.
Each one of us has many possible selves. Which one will be awakened into realization? In a large measure this will be determined by the prize, the cause, the ideal, which has most compelling challenge. It is interesting to note the effect which music or books or people have on one's personality. As we say, they bring out the best or worst in one. Each one of us might well ask himself, what effect does he have on the personalities of others? What tastes and ambitions do we stimulate? Do we call to the best or the worse in others? Here is the mission which Jesus proclaimed for Himself in the world. He believed profoundly that there is a best man in every man, and He came to seek and find him. This is the "lost man." So He calls to the best latent within us, and it is that best which hears His voice.
---M. Ashby Jones, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 7, 1945.
What appeals shall be made to the latent powers of the personality? For education is the process of awakening and directing these powers. There may be tastes and ambitions, with inherited powers for their realization, which are never awakened, because no voice calls them from their slumber, and no ideal dares them to accomplishment. These are the lost possibilities, and they are all needed for the realization of the complete, the best, self.
This is the self which each one of us, unconsciously, and too often blindly, is seeking. It is an infinitely better self than has ever yet found expression in word or conduct. This is the "lost" man. This is the man whom Jesus came into the world to find. He believed profoundly in the possibility of this best man in each one of us. So He calls to that best within us. Those of us who would represent Him in the world, must cease looking with cynical criticism for the worst, that we may condemn, but with His faith, look for, the best, that we may save.
---M. Ashby Jones, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 23, 1946.
Be yourself! So many people seem to be afraid of their own thoughts, and are always hunting for something which somebody else has said to express them. They let other people do their thinking for them, and thus they become little more than mere quotation marks, and pretty faint ones at that sometimes, when if they would but be themselves they might make the very atmosphere about them throb with life and quiver with power.
Don't be afraid to be yourself in as striking a manner as possible. Be original in everything. Originality is power in life. Imitation is weakness, is death. It has been said that imitation is the simplest form of flattery. It is also the surest means to mental and spiritual suicide.
When you imitate another, you cease to be yourself and become the mere shadow of another. You cease to be a voice and become only a feeble echo. You are exceedingly valuable to the world as yourself. As the pale reflection of somebody else you are next to nothing.
The trouble with the imitator is that he usually copies the faults or idiosyncrasies of another. A distinguished molder of fine vases gave one to a pupil and told him to make one like it. It happened that the model had a crack in it, and to the pupil put a similar crack into the vase which he made. That is apt to be the results when one undertakes to imitate another. He copies the cracks. ...
If you can't succeed as yourself, your certainly can't succeed as somebody else. Therefore, be yourself! Stretch forth thine hands and not another's.
---Henry Alford Porter, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 19, 1929.
Shakespeare wrote, "This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."
True to ourselves. How often we fail in this kind of loyalty. This means loyalty to the higher self. We are always loyal to something in ourselves, whatever we do or say or think. But it may be responsiveness to the brute in us, or it may be yielding to the selfish and unclean and evil elements in our nature from which none of us are entirely free. Be true to thy own higher self.
To be true to thine own self is a simple direction, but surprisingly difficult to follow. To no one else are we so often traitors as to ourselves. The world knows not how many battles are fought amid the shadows of our inner life. Slowly we are changing from day to day for better or for worse. And it is all determined by the attitude of loyalty or disloyalty to the higher self upon this inner stage of the soul.
If we are true to our own higher self, we are told, it must follow that we cannot then be false to any man. No man, no corporation, no government has a right to ask a fidelity to themselves or their interests that overrules this primary fidelity to one s own higher self. We may sometimes seem ungrateful in opposing the cherished plans of those who have aided us, but if we see those plans to evil there is no other course unless we compromise with conscience or our higher self.
---Frank Fay Eddy, Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 1, 1906.
A person's individuality is his most distinctive possession--it is Heaven's most precious gift, next to the gift of Christ Himself--and it should be conserved at all cost. ...
You are you--and you represent a distinct creation. The world never saw your likeness before, and when you shall have passed from the steps of life the world will never see your likeness again.
Evidently, then, the Creator intended that each person should be his own honest-to-goodness self. Of course, individuality might run to seed and then we have a freak, a monstrosity. Pleading for the Christians of his time to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," Paul declares that "there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are differences of administration, but the same Lord." (Ephesians 4:3 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-5.) Keeping to the great law of unity we shall avoid going off at a tangent; and keeping to the law of diversity we shall maintain our individualities. An old saying of the moral philosophers was, "Know thyself." Along side of that ancient maxim we might place the injunction, "Be thyself."
No person should be depreciated because he insists upon being himself. ... It is good for society, good for a community, good for a church, that we have different types of personality. Yet how prone we are to make unjust comparisons. ...
Every influence that tends to destroy individuality should be resisted. ... Everywhere there seems to be a passion for uniformity. All of which might be quite good--provided it leaves room for individual initiative and self-expression. ...
To be one's self is to be natural, and this is the test of sincerity. ... The only real goodness is that which flows from the heart like a limpid mountain stream--that which beams from the personality like the shining sun. If it be unnatural, artificial, forced, it is like sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. ...
Be thyself--in character and conduct! Think your own thoughts, cherishŠ your own convictions, stand upon your own feet and assert your God-given individuality in the fear of God. ... Not that we must be "original." there is hardly such a thing, in the strictest sense of the term. We are constantly drawing upon the thoughts of others, even as they drew upon the thoughts of others before them. But not until the thoughts gathered from books and papers have been wrought into the fabric of our own thinking and have become a veritable part of ourselves can we deliver them effectually. ... Have we the strength of character to stand upon our own feet and assert our own personalities for the right
---E.H. Jennings, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 2, 1933.
A sound knowledge of your nature is one of your best internal securities. The old admonition, "Know thyself and to thine own self be true," is still good, solid advice. To know who you are, what you are, what you are for is tantamount to any real service and accomplishment. Such an understanding will reveal the fact that a man has many natures--such like the confession of the Apostle Paul when he concluded that the person he wanted to be he was not, and the one he did not want to be, he was.
To admit that there is a great divide between good intentions and actual performance is to admit a basic honesty. "Let him who thinketh he stands take heed lest he fall" is the admonition aim, not to willful sinners, but to those who feel that they are beyond the point of sinning." (1 Corinthians 10:12.) This means simply that there is never an inch of latitude in this earthly life to brag about how secure one is from temptation. It means that one is never ready for sainthood in the Kingdom because Satan doesn't get interested in a person until that person starts nurturing a Christian discipleship.
Who runs for a street car he has already caught? Neither does Satan! That is why falling back into one's old nature is forever a possibility in this life. Yet, to know one's weakness, to remember where he fell or how he weakened before is to have an advantage when the temptation is presented the next time.
One need not strengthen his steel-like defenses. It is at the points where the alloy is the weakest that he should post his guards. Satan is not foolish enough to charge straight into the soul's Maginot line; he prefers a faster flank around the weak ends. For instance, to a totally sober person Satan is not going to have much of a temptation by offering him alcoholic beverage. To a completely honest man, the possibilities of cheating are remote. To the pure, Satan may as well save his breath when he suggests that the pure person walk the avenue of impurity.
But do not underestimate him--he has an appropriate temptation for every type of personality and every type of condition. Yet, to know that we are in a league with a God Who is all powerful is to rob Satan of his advantage in any fight.
---Roy O. McClain, The Beam, Fort Worth, Texas, June 1958.
Loyalty to self--
Requires a strict sincerity of purpose.
Is a guarantee of loyalty to others.
Is impossible when conscience is smothered.
Never requires injustice to others. Is far removed from selfishness.
Often makes self-discipline an absolute necessity.
Never tolerates deception or denial of duty.
---Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., July 9, 1930.
Thou shalt be thyself, and no other person shalt thou attempt to be. As thy true self thou art unique a glory of God. Trying to be another makes thee a copy; hence, worthless.
---Browning Ware, Beaumont Enterprise, Beaumont, Texas, March 18, 1966.
By being ourselves, probably most of us get along much better than when we try to be other people. Individuality is of greater value than unnatural imitation.
---Jack Warwick, Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, March 25, 1943.
Somebody has stated everybody wants to be somebody else. Suppose that could be whoever you were before would find something wrong with you in your new personality.
---Jack Warwick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa., Sept. 27, 1935.
Be yourself but first make yourself worth being.
---B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., Aug. 1, 1924.
The man who is not true to the best that is in him is not true to himself.
---H.W. Knickerbocker, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, Nov. 16, 1931.
Being true to yourself is a dynamic process, not a static one. It is a matter of self-realization, an unwillingness to betray the highest potential of body, mind, and spirit. ...
Being true to one's self means growth. ... In learning itself there can be no "zero growth." ...
Being true to one's self means being true to the highest conception you have of the nature of man. Only religion can encompass our deepest urgings, our loftiest aspirations. ... We shall betray the self if we slight our religion. It is the fourth "R" in our education, giving purpose to our lives and to everything else. ...
It takes courage to be true to ourselves.
---David P. Gardner, quoted in Best Lectures 1973-74, Provo, Utah, 1974.
In a sense man has many selves, but in reality he has only one real self. That is his unified and better self. All others represent only expressions of phases of his nature. To thine own self be true and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. Loyalty to self means that one must be true to his highest ideals of equality, justice and right. It means that one will not falsify his own knowledge, that he will stand by the dictates of his own conscience. There is no occasion in life for doing what one s best intelligence tells him is wrong. His intelligence may tell him to do things he does not care to do, but if it represents his best judgment after considering every possible phase of the matter, to depart from it is to betray the most sacred light which comes to the human soul. Every day men betray their better selves for temporary advantage and grow smaller and smaller in their own estimation and finally in the estimation of others.
---Joseph Fielding Smith, George R. Hill, Jr., George M. Cannon and Charles H. Hart, Instructor, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 1930.
There has never been an individual gain true success in life who was untrue to himself, his fellowmen, or to his God. Sooner or later the magnificent structure of his life has crumbled. For these are the framework upon which to build a beautiful and happy life; the three pillars which support the temple.
And of these three the most important is that of being true to self. It is most important because it is fundamental to others. If one is untrue to self, one does not have the basis of being true to others. Says Shakespeare: This above all to thine own self be true, And it shall follow as the night the day Thou can st not then be false to any man.
What does it mean to be true to oneself? In a general way it means to conduct oneself in such a manner that one can always retain self-respect. One of the most common ways in which people lose self-respect is through overindulgence. One cannot respect weakness in one s own self any more than one can respect it in others. Therefore, to gain and hold self-respect, one must develop self-control. To get self-mastery requires practice. To drift along with circumstances is to lose self-control. ...
Self-respect is gained by doing the best one can. The girl who is utilizing leisure time for advancement, who is looking ahead to some achievement in life, will esteem herself. She can t help but to do so.
Being true to one s self then means governing one s self according to the higher laws of life. It means getting on to a high plane of living and staying there. It means achieving all one has the possibility of achieving.
To be true to others in a general way means to have confidence in them, to trust them. There is nothing the world of men needs quite so much today as a little confidence, one in another. It was apparently so in the days of Ruth the Moabitess. The people of Judea were so prejudiced against the people of Moab that they could not bear to think of one of their number marrying a Moabite. Scholars say that the Book of Ruth was written for the purpose of breaking down this prejudice. When people become untrue to each other, organization is impossible. This is true of all forms of social organization, from the family to the most complex association. Farmers organizations have broken up time after time because they did not trust each other.
"Entreat me not to leave thee, Or to return from following after thee: For wither thou goest, I will go; And where thou lodgest, I will lodge; Thy people shall be my people, Any thy God my God; Where thou diest, will I die, And there will I be buried: The Lord do so to me, And more also, If aught but death part thee and me."
To have confidence in others to be true to them is to love them. This part of our problem is simple. If we can ultimately achieve the Christ life, and love all humanity, it will be easy to be true to them. And we have not been true to the spark of divinity in us unless we attempt to live as Christ lived. Therefore, if we are really true to ourselves, we will be true to others as a matter of course.
Being true to our Heavenly Father is likewise a simple matter, if we are living such a way as to command our self-respect. That is all He asks of us. To live pure lives of usefulness is to render service unto God; for did not Jesus say, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
The advice of Shakespeare is good. This above all, to thine own self be true. The rest, man s duty to man, and man s duty to God, will be very well fulfilled, if man does his duty to himself. And this, let us repeat, involves living such a life that one can say:
"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."
---Lowry Nelson, Young Woman s Journal, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 1925.
There is an originality which I believe is the privilege of all men to exercise; and not only their privilege but their bounden duty. It is to be original in the sense of being independent, honest, conscientious, in all that we say and do; in other words, to be original in the sense of being true to ourselves.
One of the greatest needs of humanity in all ages is men and women of originality; of truthfulness, sincerity, genuine motives and independence of character; men and women who think for themselves, and dare to act according to their thinking.
At first thought, it may seem a simple matter, a very easy task, to be true to one s self; that is, to be one s self, and not another; to defend and serve self, when necessary; and to deny self, when wisdom and duty dictate; to listen to and obey the still small voice of conscience, the voice of God in the human heart, no matter how self-interest with silver tongue may plead, or how darkly dangers may threaten; to stand as a lighthouse on the storm-beaten coast, unmoved by wind or wave, sending the light of a heroic example over the tempestuous waters, as a beacon of hope and a warning to others. ...
Independence of character does not consist in a disposition to quarrel and contend on every point at issue between us and our neighbors. Noise and fury no more signify independence, than the smoke and thunder of battle tell the nature of the cause for which the armies are contending. Silence and rest may be quite as independent, and are often far more dignified than speech and action.
The great man, the man of independence, thinks, speaks and acts for himself. He will never be found doing a thing or saying a thing simply because it is popular. He will dare to be himself, though the whole world oppose him. He neither coincides in order to win favor, nor opposes for opposition s sake. He will side with the many, or with the few, according as his conscience dictates. He is broad and liberal in his views of others. He will dare to defend the weak against the strong, and will never be found trampling on the defenseless. No man is great, no man is free, who feels or acts otherwise.
Conscience makes cowards of all who fear to follow her; and bigotry, intolerance that worst of tyrants binds its votaries, far more than its victims, in chains of slavery.
But let us consider the subject in some of its lighter phases.
It is always a sign of weakness, in real life, to be an imitator, to be a mirror, as it were, of other men s manners, or the echo of other men s words and ideas. Such things belong to childhood or to the mimic stage. God intended man to be original, to act his own part in life s drama, to speak his own lines and no one else s. ...
Be original, be genuine. ... No man can be that which he is not. Sooner or later he will be known for what he is, and souls, like water, will seek and find their level. Disgrace and failure await those who stand in false positions, and who try oh how vainly to be anyone but themselves. ...
Be true to yourself; act your own character; live the life for which you were intended, and you will succeed and be honored, as surely as God intended you should. But if you strive to be another than yourself, or to fill a place for which you were never designed, you will fall, as would fal the exotic before an Arctic blast, or melt like the iceberg in the tropics.
---Orson F. Whitney, Woman s Exponent, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 15, 1887.
Be true. Loyalty is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. It means being faithful and true; it means fidelity to a superior; it means fidelity to duty, fidelity to love, fidelity to a cause or a principle.
If you would be happy, ... if you are to reach the goal of success in the distance, your first duty is to be true to yourself--loyal to the best that is in you, not to the basest. Begin life with a purpose, and let that purpose be a noble one. ...
Your first duty is to be true to yourself. It is not easy. I know I am coming in contact now with the problem of free will, but I do not hesitate to say that a man, the offspring of Deity with the gift of free agency, can control his mind, can choose what seems the best, no matter how attractive the opposite force may be.
---David O. McKay, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 29, 1954.
A man who is true to himself has neither time nor inclination to be false to others.
---Saturday Evening Post, Philadelphia, Pa., Aug. 20, 1904.