How To Have Self-Respect

August 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.  ~Joan Didion

I work in the entertainment business as a producer.  I have never done anything that has resulted in great financial compensation or fame but I earn my living producing documentaries, shorts, TV and feature films.

In every business, there is success, failure and ego but in the media business these accomplishments or lack of are actually commodities.   “You are only as good as your last thing” and “it doesn’t matter how good it is, only how much it makes”, are phrases often tossed around in this finicky world.  If you are wondering why I’m writing about this hang on a minute and I’ll make my point.

Yesterday, I had been invited to a screening of a film by one of the festival’s sponsors.  The screening was at 9:20pm and that is the exact time I got there.  At the entrance I saw one of the actors – who I had worked with before – and one of the producers, who had taken a workshop I run at the Producers Guild of America.  We all said hi and I was then quickly informed that although I had been invited there were no seats left in the theatre.   I waited around a few minutes to see if anybody decided to leave before I headed home.

In my car my bruised ego sent a message to my brain: “I bet if you were important they would have really tried to find a seat for you.”  In my old days by the time I got home my tail would have been between my legs and I would have been busy criticizing myself for never having achieved a level of success that would entitled me to a seat.  I would have felt that way because in the past my ego has been  frail and tied to other people’s perception of me.

As I am in process of transformation, instead of beating myself up my next thought was; success is fleeting and if you had it, one day you would be struggling not with not having had it but with having lost it.

Here’s my point: our idea of ourselves, our self-respect should never be connected to how a group of people see or judges us.  Our qualities, struggles and accomplishments should be acknowledged by us.

Measuring and concluding who we are by other people’s compasses only leads to pain and self-deprecation.  A healthy ego knows itself and doesn’t need anybody’s confirmation.

If we want to have a spontaneous and vibrant life shifting the focus from the outside to the inside is a must.  It is a long process but one worth undertaking and we start by truly getting to know and befriending ourselves.

No knowing who we are is giving our power away to other people’s agendas.

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

  • Winsor Pilates

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