The more you surrender to the fear of someone's disapproval, the more you lose face in your own eyes, and the more desperate you become for someone's approval. Within you is a void that should have been filled by self-esteem. When you attempt to fill it with the approval of others instead, the void grows deeper and the hunger for acceptance and approval grows stronger. The only solution is to summon the courage to honor your own judgment, frightening though that may be in the beginning.
The tragedy of too many people is that they cannot allow happiness just to be there; they cannot leave it alone. Their sense of who they are and of what their destiny is cannot accommodate happiness. So they are drive to find ways to sabotage it.
To accept struggle as part of life, to accept all of it, even the darkest moments of anguish; to be motivated by love rather than fear, by confidence rather than insecurity: these are the benchmarks of high self-esteem. The wish to avoid fear and pain is not the motive that drives the lives of highly evolved men and women; rather, it is the life force within them, thrusting toward its unique form of expression-the actualization of personal values.
Living consciously is seeking to be aware of everything that bears on our interests, actions, values, purposes, and goals. It is the willingness to confront facts, pleasant or unpleasant. It is the desire to discover our mistakes and correct them . . . it is the quest to keep expanding our awareness and understanding, both of the world external to self and the world within.
Individualism is at once an ethical-psychological concept and an ethical-political one. As an ethical-psychological concept, individualism holds that a human being should think and judge independently, respecting nothing more than the sovereignty of his or her mind; thus, it is intimately connected with the concept of autonomy. As an ethical-political concept, individualism upholds the supremacy of individual rights