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November 13, 2013

New Weekly Mantra - On Self-Respect

One of my favourite authors is Joan Didion.

From her captivating memoirs on losing her husband (The Year of Magical Thinking) and daughter, (Blue Nights) to her essays on California in the 60s, (Slouching Towards Bethlehem) Joan Didion is one of the most prolific writers of human interest, human emotion and cultural noise.

"On Self-Respect" is one of my favourite essays of hers. I always find myself coming back to it when I need a slap in the face refresher on my own worth.

The entire essay is worth a read, and you can find it here. Otherwise, here is a snippet and this week's mantra. Enjoy! 

"To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference. If we do not respect ourselves, we are the one hand forced to despise those who have so few resources as to consort with us, so little perception as to remain blind to our fatal weaknesses. On the other, we are peculiarly in thrall to everyone we see, curiously determined to live out – since our self-image is untenable – their false notion of us. We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive trait: a gist for imaginative empathy, evidence of our willingness to give. Of course I will play Francesca to your Paolo, Helen Keller to anyone’s Annie Sullivan; no expectation is too misplaced, no role too ludicrous. At the mercy of those we cannot but hold in contempt, we play roles doomed to failure before they are begun, each defeat generating fresh despair at the urgency of divining and meeting the next demand made upon us." - Didion 

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