“You Increase Your Self-Respect When You Feel You’ve Done Everything You Ought To Have Done.”

“You increase your self-respect when you feel you’ve done everything you ought to have done, and if there is nothing else to enjoy, there remains that chief of pleasures, the feeling of being pleased with oneself. A man gets an immense amount of satisfaction from the knowledge of having done good work and of having made the best use of his day, and when I am in this state I find that I thoroughly enjoy my rest and even the mildest forms of recreation.”

–Diary of Eugene Delacroix

Do you find this to be true? I love Delacroix’s Diary, by the way. A wonderful book.

  • K.t. Hicks

    I’ll let you know if I ever – EVER – feel like I’ve accomplished everything I ought to do.

    I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten to the end of the day and really felt like there wasn’t something else I should have done, could have done. I feel like a human doing, not a human being. I never just be.

  • MC

    I sometimes struggle with procrastination and getting to those items on my to-do list that I really don’t want to do. I arrived at work today knowing I have a lot to get through today, and this quote has inspired me – if I can cross some of those items off my list I can start my weekend knowing I did what I needed to do! Here’s to a productive day.

  • YES. I get tired of people who complain that they “feel bad about themselves” or “have low-self esteem”. It seems all manner of bad behavior can be ignored because the perpetrator lacks confidence? Whatever. I’ve always felt, if you want to feel better about yourself you should DO better. Do things that you admire and respect.

    • Isaan

      You may feel tired, as you say, but you musn’t forget that many people with low self-esteem SUFFER. When you’re out the suffering circle, it’s really easy to have a critical look upon those who are inside, who really feel helpless about what they’re experiencing and are, at a certain a point, clueless about how to get out of it, how to break free. To know it and feel it deeply inside, not just from a book or tv show. We do what we’ve been taught in our childhood, until we learn better, including admiring and respecting ourselves, and not judging the others who are less skilled than we are.

      • PS

        On one hand you are correct, but there is a difference between clinical depression and just a “funk”. I can swirl-and I have seen others do it as well-into their own cushy funks. It can be self-defeating and immobilizing. I know I am my own worst critic, and that little voice that sometimes tells me I am not smart enough, cute enough, skinny enough, frugal enough, etc-can take over. I have to look at my accomplishments and how I feel about them to use as my basis to know the little voice comes from somewhere else that is not positive. But that little voice can also be a good motivator too! I have pushed those feelings away and been able to step up to the plate and have accomplished many things. It is all too easy to slip into what we could have, would have, should have, or cannot do. It is much more difficult to pat ourselves on the back and acknowledge the good, and even great, things we do everyday.

  • Eric

    My problem is my evaluation of what my “best” is. “Do your best” could mean working 16 hours every day to me. Problematic.

  • Carolyn

    An elderly (male) friend of mine used to say “Man can work from sun to sun but woman’s work is NEVER done!”. I think we have to decide what is “enough” and be satisfied with that.

  • Jason


  • peninith1

    Oh, I don’t see this as getting a daily checklist done, but as facing up to an obligation or a duty and doing what integrity requires. I used to have somewhere a little card from a convent I visited for retreats, with the motto “To live this day for Thee in absolute integrity . . . ” Don’t meet that mark very often, but it is good to be reminded that this – not some long list of check marks – is the challenge that leads us to a feeling of comfort with ourselves that allows us to sleep well at night. Conversely, shirking something that I could have done, but didn’t do, to make a situation better, more comfortable, kinder, or the like . . . that gives me a feeling of nagging discomfort at the end of the day.

  • Nancy

    Or to quote W.S.Gilbert:
    But the culminating pleasure
    That we treasure beyond measure
    Is the gratifying feeling that our duty has been done!

    (Gondoliers Act II)

  • mei yang

    I have a problem to relax myself in work-off days. The only way I can feel food is to give many tasks to myself and finish them. But in fact, we don’t have to do things we ought to do every time, just do things we want to do.

  • petermorrisonusa

    Thanks for sharing such a great post.

  • bill

    I found when I was doing things that I was not supposed to do at that time,I would feel unproductive.

  • paulmartin42

    Delacroix, of course, is a Robbie Williams of old. Have you thought of extending your bookclub to YouTube tracks; I have not looked but Gilbert & Sullivan but probably the not-so-young-now Gilbert O’Sullivan (a Mom’s Robbie) has much to say

  • phoenix

    I have never found I have completed everything I “ought” to have done–but perhaps it is because I am too involved with too much and want to do too much all at once. For me, Laura’s quote about being too overwhelmed with things that really spoke to me–to see that it was true even back then when I thought things were supposed to be simpler. It seems that I must learn to put more limits on myself and be able to create goals that can be accomplished within the time frames I set. I struggle with that because a part of me believes deep down that if I make lofty, hard-to-achieve goals, I will be more motivated and will accomplish more than setting easier-to-achieve goals.