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.
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.
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
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?