From One-Half of Robertson Davies:
I am teaching an intelligent regard for the preservation and nourishment of the Self – not the professional self, but the human begin who lurks in all of us, and whom we so often neglect and ill-use. If we pay any attention to this human being – this Self – at all, it is usually to scold the poor thing for not being more than it is – for not being saintly, or valorous, or untiring. We never seem to take time to feed it, clothe it, encourage it, love it, and forgive it. I thought I would say this to you today because you are professionally engaged in helping and advising people who are less fortunate than yourselves. You get them out of messes; you try to improve their relation to the rest of mankind. Have you ever done the same thing for yourself? …I tell you that unless you bring a well-developed, strong, resilient Self to your work, you are nothing. You are working for mankind, are you? Well, the best thing you can do for mankind is to devote your best energies to making the best possible job of yourself; then you will have something to give mankind that will really rouse its attention. I said that I was going to offer you an impertinent word about personal welfare and that is what I have done. It is impertinent because nobody is supposed to talk to strangers about the state of their souls, and that is what I have been doing. You don’t have to pay any attention, but if you don’t – allow me the prophet’s privilege of not merely being person, but rude – if you don’t, you will be dead, dead in every important way, many a weary year before you are buried.