Project of IISHJ


Celebration (1988) 

Self-respect is never a gift. It is always an achievement. Neither the flattery of friends nor the reassurance of family will give us the feeling of self worth. Neither the counseling of therapists nor the comforting of religion will elevate our dignity. Self-esteem is the child of competence. It is the offspring of personal skill. People who think that they are unable to help themselves or to help others cannot respect themselves. 

People who like themselves believe that they have power. They believe that they have the power to determine the course of their own lives. They believe that they have the competence to be useful to others. They believe that they have the strength to make decisions even when the consequences of their decisions cannot easily be predicted. They even know that when they give to others they do not threaten their own welfare. For their security lies in no possession. It resides in their own creative skill.

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Note on sources: The Jewish Humanist  was the monthly newsletter of The Birmingham Temple. The periodical Humanistic Judaism was the quarterly journal of the Society for Humanistic Judaism. The Center for New Thinking was Wine’s adult learning program beyond Humanistic Judaism. Selections from Wine’s books are appropriately cited.
All texts, photos, audio and video are © by the Literary Estate of Sherwin Wine, whose custodian is the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism – North American Section. All rights reserved.