What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum. — Vincent Van Gogh
Here Van Gogh is telling you to never mind all of that, because you have a heart. And whatever you do, you can do it with love and your heart will thank you for it. You don’t need to resent the name-callers, even the silent ones. Do they really know what you’re about? Do they honestly feel what you feel? What you’re feeling right now? Do they understand it?
So, Van Gogh tells us, we can be calm and serene, because even in those moments of sheer despair, the music is still there. It wants to come out, and it will if we let it. Let’s be visionaries like Vincent and see beauty in the most seemingly insignificant things, let’s ferret out the true thoughts, the true harmony behind them that just can’t help shining through. This is genuine. It’s authentic, and we all have it in us.
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them. — Henry David Thoreau
But you and I don’t have to. We can write the song, and sing it, too.