I’ve always loved the complex, yet brutally honest work of Joan Didion. Her writing is both subtly humorous and deceptively simple.

The passages below are from an essay she wrote for Vogue in 1961 entitled “Self-respect; its source, its power.” Defining self-respect is difficult; maintaining it is nearly impossible. The woes of being human. I’m sharing this today because she has articulated it far better than I ever could, and I’m good with that.

“To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which, for better or for worse, 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.”

“Nonetheless, character—the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life—is the source from which self-respect springs.”

You can read the entire essay here.

Image source: Irving Penn