“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884 –1962
Whatever your political stripe, it’s hard to dismiss the character and achievements of Franklin Roosevelts’s wife and the longest serving American First Lady – she held the post from March 1933 to April 1945.
She wasn’t content to sit back and be a pretty ornament on her husband’s arm. She involved herself in social issues and in women’s rights issues. She was an early activist at a time when women were expected, to a large degree, to be ‘seen and not heard’.
Indeed, some of her work and her support of women’s organizations, literacy, the poor, and other social causes led to her being in hot water with the critics on a number of occasions.
Although not elected, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt could well be described as an American politician. In fact, President Harry S. Truman praised her as the "First Lady of the World" for her human rights achievements.
True to her philosophy, Mrs. Roosevelt did what her heart said was right, and accepted that she’d be criticized for it but did it anyway.
Many years on, we may still find ourselves holding back from doing what our hearts say we should. Do you hold your tongue when you feel you should speak out? Do you think “It’s not my place” when you see an issue or person who needs help? I confess that I have done this, for fear of the consequences, or fear of ‘getting involved’.
In writing, I have talked to authors who are afraid of opening up and writing the book of their hearts because of what their family, their friends, their church or other organization members, and community in general might think.
But things are not always as we see them. One writer had difficulty writing sexy scenes for fear of offending her family. Finally she took the plunge and wrote as her heart dictated. She was amazed when her Great Aunt read the book and asked if she was working on another…because she enjoyed the first so much. No censure there!
You never can tell what the results of being courageous and following your heart may be. But whatever criticism or praise may follow, you can be sure that you will feel better about yourself if you do what you believe is right.