Center For Living Peace

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Joan Didion on Self-Respect

“To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves–there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.”
― Joan Didion, On Self-Respect


Joan Didion, one of America’s greatest writers and essayists, was only 27 years old when this essay was published in Vogue in 1961. In this essay, Didion characterizes self-respect as believing in the strength of one’s convictions, irregardless of validation from others. Those who are endowed with self-respect have, as Didion writes, “the courage of their mistakes.”

Read the entire essay here. Share with us below, what does self-respect mean to you?

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