“I’m never interested in whether people respect me or not! For me, respecting myself is more important. Without self-esteem, I would become a lost nonentity. I live and act for the sake of respect to own self.
Personally, I do not believe in competing with others physically, mentally, or in any other form. What I believe in is competing with myself.
This is the most difficult and disappointing form of competition because it is impossible to surpass oneself. I always feel what I can and should do more. I would not say that this is an absolutely healthy approach to life, but this how I think.”
An excerpt from a prison letter of Monte Melkonyan. October 12, 1986