What is Self-Respect?
Self-respect is the conviction of our own value. It is not the delusion that we are “perfect” or superior to everyone else. It is not comparative or competitive in nature. Self-respect is simply the acknowledgement that our life and well-being are worth protecting and nurturing; that we are good and worthwhile and deserving of the respect of others; and that our happiness and personal fulfillment are important enough to work for.
There are three basic observations that can be made about self-respect:
- If we respect ourselves, we tend to act in ways that confirm and reinforce this respect, such as requiring others to deal with us appropriately.
- If we do not respect ourselves, we tend to act in ways that lower our personal sense of value even further, such as accepting or sanctioning inappropriate behavior toward us by others.
- If we wish to raise our level of self-respect, we must first commit to the value of our own person. Only then can we act in a manner that will cause our level of self-respect to rise.
Self-respect means assurance of my value; an affirmative attitude toward my right to live and to be happy; the feeling that joy and fulfillment are my natural birthright; and comfort in appropriately asserting my thoughts, wants and needs.
Self-respect entails the expectation of friendship, love and happiness as natural, as a result of who we are and what we do.