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Self-Determination

  • If something feels right, I do it. If it feels wrong, I don't. It's really very, very simple, but you've got to be willing to take your chances doing stuff that may look crazy to other people — or not doing something that looks right to others but just feels wrong to you.

    • Oprah Winfrey,
    • in Nellie Bly, Oprah: Up Close and Down Home ()
  • We cannot leave the expression of our lives to those better qualified than we are, however dear they may be.

  • I gave up being a conventional person a long time ago. Things have been so much more exciting since I did.

  • One ship drives east and another drives west / With the selfsame winds that blow. / 'Tis the set of sails and not the gales / Which tells us the way to go.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Winds of Fate," in Hazel Felleman, ed., The Best Loved Poems of the American People ()
  • My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a bandage for their wounds. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.

  • No one's happiness but my own is in my power to achieve or to destroy.

  • Only on the surface of things have I ever trod the beaten path. So long as I could keep from hurting anyone else, I have lived, as completely as it was possible, the life of my choice. I have been free. ... I have done the work I wished to do for the sake of that work alone.

  • He is blessed who won't follow a path that conforms / To the rule of his clock, the black hands on white.

  • We are never trapped unless we choose to be.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1944, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • ... I ... found myself saying to myself — I can't live where I want to — I can't go where I want to — I can't do what I want to — I can't even say what I want to. ... I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to and say what I wanted to when I painted as that seemed to be the only thing I could do that didn't concern anybody but myself ...

  • The first rule of survival is: Make your own rules. The hell anyone thinks about the way you're acting; listen only to yourself.

  • ... my choices were partly conditioned by the two great laws — of biology and sociology — for I do not conceive of myself outside of them. ... Inside every biological and social situation I am free to make decisions.

  • If Rosa Parks had taken a poll before she sat down in the bus in Montgomery, she'd still be standing.

  • To the happy all things come: happiness can even bring the dead back to life. It is our resentments, our dreariness, our hate and envy, unrecognized by us, which keeps us miserable. Yet these things are in our heads, not out of our hands; we own them. We can throw them out if we choose.

  • I wrote for 12 years and collected 250 rejection slips before getting any fiction published, so I guess outside reinforcement isn't all that important to me.

  • One should always act from one's inner sense of rhythm.

  • Women who want to lead the orchestra have to turn their back on the crowd.

    • Patti LaBelle,
    • in Patti LaBelle and Laura Randolph Lancaster, Patti's Pearls ()
  • ... sooner or later I do what I want to do.

    • Muriel Spark,
    • in Martin Stannard, Muriel Spark: The Biography ()
  • Nobody knows what I am trying to do but I do and I know when I succeed.

  • Of my own spirit let me be / in sole though feeble mastery.

  • There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.

  • I'll walk where my own nature would be leading: / It vexes me to choose another guide ...

    • Emily Brontë,
    • in Charlotte Brontë, ed., "Selections From the Literary Remains of Ellis and Acton Bell," memorial edition of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey ()
  • Over the course of my career as both an actress and an author, I have met many wanna-bes. I distinguish the wannas from the gonnas because the WBs all think someone else is to blame for their problems. ... By contrast, GBs say: 'What? There's no door here? I'll build one.'

  • I may be helpless to change your attitude toward me, but I am not helpless to disregard it.

  • Don't depend on other people's encouragement. It's never enough and never when you need it.

    • Sigourney Weaver,
    • "The Crooked Path Has Its Dividends," in Tonya Bolden, 33 Things Every Girl Should Know ()
  • Nothing strengthens the judgment and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility. Nothing adds such dignity to character as the recognition of one's self-sovereignty ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "The Solitude of Self," farewell speech to the National American Woman Suffrage Association ()
  • I will dare to do just what I do. Be just who I am. And dance whenever I want to.

  • Don't look left nor right and never compete. Never. Watching the other guy is what kills all forms of energy.

  • Never allow yourself to say, 'I can't do this or that, I am too old.' If you do, your convictions will engrave themselves on your face and bring stiffness to your limbs.

  • No one can think for us any more than another can eat for us.

  • If it is to be, it is up to me.

  • ... the more we are focused on controlling and changing others, the more unmanageable our life becomes. The more we focus on living our own life, the more we have a life to live, and the more manageable our life will become.

  • I know there isn't anything I can do that will please everybody. But if I have done according to my beliefs, I sleep very very well.

  • ... how can a rational being be ennobled by anything that is not obtained by its own exertions?

  • What use is it for me to force my nature? / For my nature shall always remain / What it is and conquer what belongs to it, / However men may narrow its path.

    • Hadewijch,
    • "To Live Out What I Am" (13th cent.), in Mother Columba Hart, O.S.B., Hadewijch: The Complete Works ()
  • ... they wish to dissuade me / From all that the forces of Love urge me to. / They do not understand it, and I cannot explain it to them. / I must then live out what I am; / What Love counsels my spirit, / In this is my being: for this reason I will do my best.

    • Hadewijch,
    • "To Live Out What I Am" (13th cent.), in Mother Columba Hart, O.S.B., Hadewijch: The Complete Works ()
  • I tried not to let anyone direct my life if they weren't me.

  • This expressionless white face / Is what the world and love / Have carved upon her. / Her dark face is rigidly turned away; / She's carving that for herself.

  • My definition of courage is never letting anyone define you.

  • Be an unsinkable ship. Basically, making yourself seaworthy is easier than trying to control the sea.