November 14

Today's quotation:

That you may retain your self-respect, it is better to
displease the people by doing what you know is right,
than to temporarily please them by doing
what you know is wrong.

William J.H. Boetcker

Today's Meditation:

In my life I most definitely have done things that I've known were wrong in order to please other people.  And this plan of action has never worked out well for me.  It always has left me feeling drained and frustrated and displeased with myself, wondering how I could be so stupid as to do something that I knew I shouldn't do just to try to please or impress someone else.

I've found through experience that the people who really matter aren't at all impressed by me doing something wrong.  When I was a kid, there were always kids who were impressed when I had the guts to shoplift something, but there also were those kids who weren't at all impressed, who couldn't understand how I could do such a thing as steal.  And over the years I've come to learn that this latter group of people is more likely to become lasting friends than the former group, more likely to stick by me when times are bad for me.

My self-respect is not a negotiable item.  But it's also not something that anyone else can provide for me.  Nobody's reaction to anything that I do can improve my self-respect.  It comes strictly from inside of me, and it's very important to me to keep it strong.  I can't do that if I violate the principles and ideals that I hold dear, and when I do wrong, I know it--on many different levels.

Let people be displeased with you for doing what you know is right.  Their displeasure won't last forever, and even if it does your self-respect is much more important than their good graces.  After all, how valuable to you can the good graces of the people who like to see you doing wrong actually be?

Questions to consider:

How often do you actually do things that you know are wrong?

Why is it easy to want to make other people happy?

What are the most important factors in determining your level of self-respect?

For further thought:

To free us from the expectations of others,
to give us back to ourselves--there lies
the great, singular power of self-respect.

Joan Didion


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