Oh, Eleanor

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right –
for you will be criticized anyway.
You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

~Eleanor Roosevelt

From The Old Blog, November 12, 2014:

Eleanor Roosevelt has got to be my most favorite woman in history.  I don’t know much about her, but anything that I ever find written by her or about her always makes a solid and lasting impression on me.  This quotation, while I have come across it before, has probably never meant as much to me as it does now.  If I look back at all the events and interactions that took place in my life leading up to this present moment, it occurs to me that I often did what I felt to be the the right thing.  I truly believe that.  Unfortunately, I have been criticized in some of the harshest ways (in my opinion).  And, what if along the way I did the opposite?  Well, I would have likely been criticized too.

More than ever I feel this quotation to be true and accurate.  I have had my fair share (and I’m sure there is more to come) on being damned for doing something I should have or haven’t done – The old “Damned if you Do and Damned if you Don’t” paradigm.  I’ve realized what it all comes down to in the end, is doing exactly what you feel to be the right thing to do in that situation.  What is going to make you feel the best about yourself?  What is going to make you happiest in the end? What values and believes do you want to stand for and represent?

Too often our fears of criticism and prosecution get in our way of making the right choice.  I have to admit: after everything that I’ve been through in the past year and a half, including the discovery, criticism, and backlash of my old blog (and now my decision to start over), I have sometimes made a decision to do something that didn’t feel right just to avoid causing problems for myself.  Maybe in the end it is the right decision for me because I am saving myself from trouble… Who knows?

I have sometimes overcome the fear of criticism  by simply convincing myself that the excuse for not doing what I feel to be right is just not justified.  It is hard to not pull back out of fear, but sometimes it is harder to push forward through the fear, especially when you’ve experienced the ultimate criticism.  As always, Eleanor Roosevelt has the best and most simple solution: just do it anyway, because it will be wrong (and possibly right) no matter what it is you choose to do.

And just for fun, here are a few of Eleanor Roosevelt’s other quotations that I love:

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”
We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.”
We gain strength and courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”