In my day, we didn't have self-esteem, we had self-respect, and no more of it than we had earned. ~Jane Haddam
Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. ~Cyril Connolly
I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence. ~Frederick Douglass
A man can stand a lot as long as he can stand himself. ~Axel Munthe
If I despised myself, it would be no compensation if everyone saluted me, and if I respect myself, it does not trouble me if others hold me lightly. ~Max Nordau
That you may retain your self-respect, it is better to displease the people by doing what you know is right, than to temporarily please them by doing what you know is wrong. ~William J.H. Boetcker
I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself. I will be rich by myself, and not by borrowing. ~Michel de Montaigne
Self-Respect Quotes and Thoughts
In my day, we didn't have self-esteem, we had self-respect, and no more of it than we had earned. ~Jane Haddam
Sara Paddison, The Hidden Power of the Heart
Your DNA structure is designed so the choice to function in love is the only choice that brings you fulfillment. Stress is inner biofeedback, signaling you that frequencies are fighting within your system. The purpose of stress isn't to hurt you, but to let you know it's time to go back to the heart and start loving.
Doc Childre, Self Empowerment
Self-empowerment - that's learning to respect other people's music, but dance to your own tune as you master harmony within yourself.
Robin Williams, comedian
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.
Not respecting yourself, is the same as committing suicide at a slow rate.
You don't know what power you have until you make choices in a hard time.
Self-respect can be a extension of your ego or a priceless virtue.
n : the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect; "it was beneath his dignity to cheat"; "showed his true dignity when under pressure"
WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University
Main Entry: self-re·spect
1 : a proper respect for oneself as a human being
2 : regard for one's own standing or position
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Self-Respect -- An Exploratory Exercise
David Richo, PhD
Here is a list of the building blocks of healthy self-respect. They are our potentials for goodness, our human virtues. Ask yourself how closely you approximate each of them on a scale of one to ten. Make an enlarged copy of this list and hang it where you will see it often. Show it to your partner, your best friend, and one family member and tell them you welcome their feedback about your progress. This addresses the authentic humility dimension of the healthy ego. Re-rate yourself in six months to see a change for the better.
- I am sincerely looking for my own truth and design my life accordingly.
- I am happy when I appear as I am without pretense and no matter how unflattering.
- I notice times when I am not in touch with my adult powers. I do not feel ashamed of myself nor do I blame others. I simply acknowledge my inadequacy, ask for help, or try something new.
- I occasionally resist the challenges on my path. I accept this as part of the journey. I make room for occasional mistakes and procrastination.
- I am not perfect but I am committed to working on myself. I welcome feedback that shows me where I am less loving than I can be, where I am less tolerant, where less open. I make a plan to change for the better in accord with what I learn.
- Rather than pass through important experiences of life unconsciously, I choose to pause long enough to address and process what is happening. This often leads to resolving and personally evolving. I am noticing that the more conscious I am about my personal work the more do I care about the world and the part I can play in its co-creation.
- I ask for what I want without demand or expectation, take responsibility for my feelings and behavior, have personal boundaries, and at the same time I act gently toward others.
- I have standards of rigorous honesty in all my dealings and I live in accord with them. If I fall down in this, I admit it and make amends. I easily and willingly apologize when necessary.
- I act toward others not as they act toward me but in accord with personal standards of fairness. I am committed to resisting evil and fighting injustice in non-violent ways. In this way, I focus on restorative justice not retributive justice.
- I do not knowingly hurt others. If they hurt me, I do not retaliate only open a dialogue and ask for amends.
- I am less and less competitive in relationships and find an abiding joy in cooperation.
- I look at other people and their choices without censure.
- I am able to say ?Ouch!? to inappropriate pain in jobs, relationships, and interactions with others. I take action to change what can be changed and to move on when things remain abusive. I do this without self-pity or the need to make others wrong.
- I confront the inherited or habitual governing principles of my psyche rather than placate them. For instance, if I operate on a scarcity model?being ungenerous because I fear there will not be enough for me?I admit it and act as if I believed in abundance.
- I keep my commitments and finish the tasks I agree to do. More and more I can tell what my limits and skills are. This helps me set sane yet generous boundaries on how much I offer to do for others.
- I have reason to be proud of some accomplishments. Thoreau wrote in his journal: ?A man looks with pride at his woodpile.? (Our serious commitment to the practices on these pages is our ?woodpile.?)
- I ask this question as I enter any relationship or task: Is this a context in which I can fulfill my life purpose?
- I am responding to an inner call to me to find and live out my vocation and my personal potential. I make the choices in life that make room for new possibilities.
- I am engaged enthusiastically in something meaningful and this is the source of my bliss.
- I am always aware of the pain and poverty of those less fortunate than myself. I find ways to respond that combine generosity and personal contact. I can see goodness and something touching in any person.
- Confronted with the suffering in the world, I do not blame God or man but simply ask: ?What then shall I do?? I respond to pain in others with a plan to help, even if it has to be minimal. Meeting needs with resources is lighting one candle rather than cursing the darkness. T.S. Eliot said: ?I sat upon the shore with the arid plain behind me. Shall I at least set my lands in order??
- I have an unwavering sense of myself as a person of conviction while still being flexible. I am able to change my behavior, to drop outmoded beliefs, and to make alterations in my lifestyle that fit the ever-evolving demands of my world. I see an identity crisis as an opportunity for enlightenment!
- My love of nature makes me tread gently on the earth with what St. Bonaventure called ?a courtesy toward natural things.?
- I live in accord with my deepest needs, wishes, values, and potentials while remaining attentive to the needs of others too.
- I notice that I am no longer stopped or driven by fear or desire though I still feel them?and that is all right with me.
- I learn from my own reactions: Tears at a movie invite me to look at my personal griefs. Attraction and repulsion invite me to look at my shadow. Memories and images that tug at me invite me to stay with them and to follow their lead into my own unopened spaces.
- I have spiritual self-respect as I honor the divine life within me that activates any love, wisdom, or healing power I may show. I say thanks for these graces and yes to these challenges.
To be human is to be born into the world with something to achieve, namely, the fullness of one's human nature, and it is through the virtues that one does so... The virtues are the only guarantee against a wasted life. -Paul Wadell, C.P.
Our culture is concerned with matters of self-esteem. Self-respect, on the other hand, may hold the key to achieving the peace of mind we seek. The two concepts seem very similar but the differences between them are crucial.
To esteem anything is to evaluate it positively and hold it in high regard, but evaluation gets us into trouble because while we sometimes win, we also sometimes lose. To respect something, on the other hand, is to accept it.
I enjoy singing and do so quite frequently. As those within earshot will attest, I'm not very good but I love to sing anyway. During summer parties I frequently sing solo and play the part of the "moving ball," trying to stay just ahead of the music to provide the words for those who don't know the song. I am not saddened by my lack of talent. I accept the way I sing. Because of this acceptance, I am able to sing without being evaluative of myself or concerned with what others think.
The word acceptance suggests to some readers that our culture does indeed deal with this idea of self-respect; after all, don't we have the concept that it is important to accept our limitations? Aren't many of us encouraged "to change the things we can change, accept the things we cannot change and know the difference between the two?" I believe I could learn to sing better, so my acceptance is not based on my limitations. Nor is it based on resignation, since I am not resigned to the belief that I cannot sing well and am not committed to any particular belief about my voice in the future.
The person with self-respect simply likes her- or himself. This self-respect is not contingent on success because there are always failures to contend with. Neither is it a result of comparing ourselves with others because there is always someone better. These are tactics usually employed to increase self-esteem. Self-respect, however, is a given. We simply like ourselves or we don't. With self-respect, we like ourselves because of who we are and not because of what we can or cannot do.
Consider an interesting test of self-respect. If someone compliments us, what is our reaction? If we are very pleased, it would suggest a certain amount of uncertainty about our skill. Imagine that somebody whose opinion we respect told us that we were great at spelling three-letter words, or that our pronunciation of vowels was wonderful. Chances are we would not be moved. We know we can do it in the first case, and we don't care in the second. Because we were not evaluating ourselves, the compliment was unimportant. The more instances in which we don't "take the compliment," the less vulnerable we become to evaluation and insult.
My recent research, with Judith White and Johnny Walsch at Harvard University, points to the advantages of self-respect. Compared to those with high self-esteem who are still caught in an evaluative framework, those with self-respect are less prone to blame, guilt, regret, lies, secrets and stress.
Many people worry whether there is life after death. Just think about it: If we gave up self-evaluation, we could have more life before death.
Adapted by Ph.D.
Ellen J. Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, is author of The Power of Mindful Learning (Perseus, 1997) and Mindfulness (Perseus, 1989).