I posted a passage previously from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged that I really liked on beauty. Here is another, as I reach the end of the book, on self-esteem and happiness. This excerpt is an interesting argument that connects to my own battle with insecurity. I share it so the words might inspire another, as they have me down the path to self-acceptance and better yet, confidence.
"Every form of causeless self-doubt, every feeling of inferiority and secret unworthiness is, in fact, man’s hidden dread of his inability to deal with existence. But the greater his terror, the more fiercely he clings to the murderous doctrines that choke him. No man can survive the moment of pronouncing himself irredeemably evil; should he do it, his next moment is insanity or suicide. To escape it–if he’s chosen an irrational standard–he will fake, evade, blank out; he will cheat himself of reality, of existence, of happiness, of mind; and he will ultimately cheat himself of self-esteem by struggling to preserve its illusion rather than to risk discovering its lack. To fear to face an issue is to believe that the worst is true.
…Do not say that you’re afraid to trust your mind because you know so little. Are you safer in surrendering to mystics and discarding the little that you know? Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life. Redeem your mind from the hockshops of authority. Accept the fact that you are not omniscient, but playing a zombie will not give you omniscience–that your mind is fallible, but becoming mindless will not make you infallible–that an error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith, because the first leaves you the means to correct it, but the second destroys your capacity to distinguish truth from error. In place of your dream of an omniscient automation, accept the fact that any knowledge man acquires is acquired by his own will and effort, and that that is his distinction in the universe, that is his nature, his morality, his glory.
…Accept the fact that the achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness–not pain or mindless self-indulgence–is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. Happiness was the responsibility you dreaded, it required the kind of rational discipline you did not value of yourself enough to assume–and the anxious staleness of your days is the monument to your evasion of the knowledge that there is no moral substitute for happiness, that there is no more despicable coward than the man who deserted the battle for his joy, fearing to assert his right to existence, lacking the courage and the loyalty to life of a bird or a flower reaching for the sun. Discard the protective rags of that vice which you called a virtue: humility–learn to value yourself, which means: to fight for your happiness-and when you learn that pride is the sum of all virtues, you will learn to live like a man,” (p.1057-1059).