Wisdom Wednesday: John Steinbeck’s “A Life in Letters”

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Excerpts from John Steinbeck’s A Life in Letters, dated November 10, 1958.

First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

* * * *

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.

* * * *

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

* * * *

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

— John Steinbeck | A Life in Letters

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