Katharine Hepburn: Own Your Feelings

Photograph by Lusha Nelson/1933

Interview with the Author
Turtle Bay

Well, I'll tell you something--something that I think everyone should know and believe and that I think almost no one believes: Do not allow anyone to dictate how you feel about anything. Own your feelings about life, about work, about people.

I have very definite beliefs about spirituality and decency, and these are mine. They've come together after years of thought and experience, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let someone come along and tell me I'm wrong or that I misunderstood something or I should re-evaluate things. These are my personal beliefs. You have your personal beliefs. Leave mine alone. Respect the beliefs of others. If they're really offensive to you, move along and find a crowd that will accept you.

This is not difficult, but why is no one acting this way?

I refuse to believe that love or affection can be defined, because we may feel and think differently in a year or two or after a bad experience next Thursday. And then someone walks into your life and you feel great affection for them. How do you define that? Why should you? Just feel it! Just enjoy it! Just express it!

But people want to define it; they want to define everything.

I will respect you till the day you die if you believe in things and stand up for them, but if you move into my space and try to tell me how I should feel, how I should love, how I should believe, well, I'll cut you down like lumber.

© 2014 James Grissom


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