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Self Respect: The Key to Achieving Peace of Mind and Self-Confidence

2011 December 5

Rebellion against your handicaps gets you nowhere. Self-pity gets you nowhere. One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world — making the most of one’s best. ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

Despite the emphasis our culture places on the benefits of cultivating strong self-esteem, it may be that self-respect actually holds the key to achieving the peace of mind and greater self-confidence we long for. The two concepts seem very similar, but the differences between them are crucial.

Self-esteem is based in what you think.

Self-esteem is a purely psychological concept focusing on how we feel about ourselves and what we want. The basic message is that if you can get rid of guilt and shame, your self-esteem will rise to new height and your life will be so much better. In fact psychologists who dispute the value of focusing on self-esteem like to point out that a high level of self-esteem in itself won’t make you a better person or even successful; many career criminals have healthy self-esteem, in fact as one psychologist pointed out, Charley Manson has great self-esteem.

Self-respect is based on what you do and who you are.

Self-respect on the other hand focuses on gratitude, humility, confidence and having a proper sense of one’s own dignity and integrity … it 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.

Ultimately, self respect is about what we do, and who we are. Although others may show their respect for us, we cannot get self respect from others. It comes from within us and must be known and experienced as our own truth.

  • Do you respect yourself enough to show up when you say you will?
  • Do you respect yourself enough to put in the time needed to finish your big project?
  • Do you respect yourself enough to dedicate effort to your physical health?
  • Do you respect yourself enough to slow down inside and pray, or study, or practice?
  • Do you respect yourself enough to set aside the time to work on your novel, your painting, your garden …?

Our sense of value and self respect begins at our birth and is forged throughout our childhood. Of course along the way life impacts us in many ways, forcing us to make decisions about how we respect ourselves. If we are treated with love and esteemed for being our authentic selves, then chances are our self respect will be great. On the other hand if we harbor resentments, untruths, dishonesty and lies, it is not difficult to see how our armor of self respect can become sadly dented.

If you don’t respect yourself, who will?

Self respect exists at the core of your being. It is basically your default status. In order to reach this base level of acceptance, you need only remove the items piled on top. To do this, you must first identify all the things you do not respect about yourself. Then, one by one, eliminate them by examining and questioning your beliefs around that issue.

  • Know yourself and your beliefs
  • Take a good hard look at your honesty level
  • Know you are doing the best you can
  • Relax your value judgments and stop striving for perfection
  • Examine your guilt issues
  • Understand what motivates you

Self respect not only enhances our qualities and possibilities but also awakens all our senses. Since we accept ourselves and control our senses, we become more calm, poised and self-confident.

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36 Responses
  1. January 10, 2012

    I know there are training seminaries where they teach you to be more confident and have more self respect. I’ve never been to one.
    The point is, if you don’t have someone helping, you’ll have a hard time achieving it.
    Stan recently posted..KitchenAid KSB755CA 5-Speed Blender ReviewMy Profile

    • January 10, 2012

      Hey Stan, thanks for sharing – always appreciate your thoughtful insights. I confess, I am not a big fan of the textbook approach to gaining self-confidence simply because I find most advocate a kind of one size fits all approach. There are so many factors to consider when it comes to determining the best approach to personal growth I tend to believe the all important first step is to decide what you really want in life and to be honest about what needs to change in order to close that gap.

  2. December 11, 2011

    This post is great – I truly believe that you can teach others to treat you with respect by treating yourself with respect.
    Lori recently posted..Start with what you can controlMy Profile

  3. December 9, 2011

    I never thought of self-esteem in quite this way, Marty, but you make a great point.

    In fact, now that I scan my mental rolodex, I know quite a few people who have great self-esteem… but are bordering on delusional and extremely self-vaulted.

    Self-respect requires real action and “psychological proof” to validate its basis. We need to get to the task of establishing self-respect, and not self-proclaim high self-esteem.

    Thanks for another great post!
    David Merrill recently posted..Create a Skype CommunityMy Profile

  4. Coach James
    December 9, 2011

    Hey Marty,

    I like that you balance what we call self-esteem with the larger concept of self-respect.
    I agree that having a high self-esteem, while this may be important for maturity, doesn’t necessarily mean that your intentions are whole. Self-Respect means that you believe in a values system and that you have integrity in your values, meaning that you walk your talk and you hold true to yourself and what you say you believe.

    Certainly, if you can’t come to that reality, or what I really mean is to strive for that reality, you will begin to focus on seeking respect and approval from others, outweighing what you believe about yourself.

    I do think that achieving peace of mind is also choosing to love others unconditionally, including yourself- (Love the verb, not the Emotion) with service and the right attitude.

    A great goal in life is to find such peace of mind, built on self-respect and established through choosing to serve others despite what they say or do.

    Great thoughts, Marquita!

    Coach James recently posted..The Personal Success Equation from Three Feet From GoldMy Profile

    • December 9, 2011

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts James, always appreciated.

  5. December 8, 2011

    Hi Marty,
    I absolutely love your blog, it has so much wealth of knowledge when it comes to inspiring others! You are a true leader in this topic and I am for sure going to be reading more. I must say my favorite line for this was “Self respect exists at the core of your being.” This is so true. We come to earth with all the self respect one can get. Through life it gets tampered and beaten but through positive messages like this one it could help any one gain back their self respect!
    Talk soon,
    Kyle recently posted..Unleashing Our Human Potential and PurposeMy Profile

    • December 9, 2011

      Welcome Kyle, and thank you so much for your very kind compliment! I hope you’ll return and actively participate in the conversation :-)

  6. December 8, 2011

    So many people don’t stop to ponder this. Self Esteem and Self Respect are two different things.
    I like the way you made that distinction. Going down that list of self respect really gets your mind thinking. That is the power of your post Marty. I love the way you put things together in a thought provoking way. You may not realize it, but you are helping people so much.
    Bless you,
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Develop Your Power – Part 3My Profile

    • December 9, 2011

      Welcome back Donna, always appreciate your comments and so glad you found the article helpful.

  7. catherine permalink
    December 8, 2011

    Thanks for sharing this inspiring post to us..I hope you can continue post..Informative blog..I really like it..
    catherine recently investmentsMy Profile

  8. December 7, 2011

    I like the difference between self esteem and self respect that you pointed out. Self respect is about what we do and who we are. This confidence attracts others also. Great article thanks!
    Kenneth Kinstle recently posted..What is Nopalea Juice and Will It Help MeMy Profile

  9. December 7, 2011

    Giving respect to ourselves means that we really do love ourselves. And as we love ourselves in the right way, we will always be proud of what we achieve. We will focus more on what we’ve got rather than what we don’t have.
    James recently posted..Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower ReviewMy Profile

  10. December 7, 2011

    Hi Marty,

    It is so true self respect is so important . I agree with you it is so important to know what is important that way you have focus and drive. Take care Rosemary
    Rosemary O’Shaughnessy recently posted..Which Tablet to Buy 2011- iPad or Android HoneycombMy Profile

  11. Mandy Swift
    December 7, 2011

    WOW, you’ve certainly given us some food for thought with this one, Marty! I love what you say about how developing our sense of self-respect ‘awakens all our senses’. Certainly I struggle with a couple of areas you mentioned … How does the song go? “Learning to love yourself is the hardest thing to do”. I had never really focused on the distinction between ‘self-esteem’ and ‘self-respect’ but can now appreciate that there is a world of difference between the two.
    Great post, thank you as always :)
    Mandy Swift recently posted..Online Video Marketing … Simples!My Profile

    • December 7, 2011

      So happy you enjoyed the article Many! Always appreciate your comments and I’m especially glad to know you got something worthwhile from the information :-)

  12. December 7, 2011

    If you have no respect on yourself, its just like you are digging your own grave. Thanks Marty for this motivating post.

    God bless
    Herbert recently posted..Content Curation Tools You Can Use OnlineMy Profile

  13. December 7, 2011

    I absolutely agree, with self respect no one else should come into the equation, it’s on you! I really love what you wrote here: “Self-respect on the other hand focuses on gratitude, humility, confidence and having a proper sense of one’s own dignity and integrity.” By working with who we are and find our own life alignment, we can live from a place of genuine self respect and congruency. Beautiful post.

  14. December 7, 2011

    I’ve never heard anyone describe and point out the difference between self respect and self esteem as eloquently as you have in this post, Marty. I totally agree – a person can have great self esteem but if there isn’t self respect accompanying it, you don’t have much.
    Eldon Beard recently posted..Give Your Network Marketing Team a Fast StartMy Profile

    • December 7, 2011

      Thanks Eldon, for taking the time to share your thoughts and for your kind comment – always appreciated!

  15. December 6, 2011

    Excellent post here! It really starts with how we view ourselves, then we have to respect ourselves enough to accept who we are. And when we start respecting ourselves, others will learn to respect us as well. Before we make a change, we must look at ourselves and start from there.

  16. December 6, 2011

    In a time when everyone’s stepping on you it becomes difficult to get self-respect. But not impossible, we just need to rise above the money problems, the politicians, everything that keeps us down, and look on the positive side of things.
    Claire recently posted..Facts about Toxic MoldMy Profile

  17. December 6, 2011

    Hey Marty,

    You have expressed this so well here. I have taught for years that acceptance of who you are is key to moving forward. If we are not comfortable in our own shoes we are easy to manipulate and pursuade from our path.

    Of course it is more than knowing who you are. Releasing the emotions caused by past experience allows us to dream again and open up to our intuitive side.

    I do believe all the answers are within us when we still the mind chatter and release self judgement. I really appreciate your message here. It will help many people who read it.
    John Gaydon recently posted..You Won’t Believe The Difference TSA Made!My Profile

    • December 7, 2011

      Thanks for taking the time to so eloquently share your thoughts John – always appreciated!

  18. Mark Spencer permalink
    December 6, 2011

    Best post i like it very much, this sort of elevated status soon builds your confidence in who you are and what you stand for (even if you’re not actively trying to do so). Thanks for sharing.
    Mark Spencer recently posted..Learn forex liveMy Profile

  19. Perry A Davis Jr permalink
    December 6, 2011

    Hello Marty,

    Your quote,” One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world — making the most of one’s best.”,is a golden nugget about life. One of the greatest riches of life is self-respect which leads to maximum performance. Being aware of the crucial difference between self esteem and self-respect. That difference being evaluation or acceptance shows why self-respect is the key to achieving peace of mind and self-confidence. Being aware of the importance of self-respect and practicing the recommendations in this article one can increase their self-acceptance to the point where they can confidently move forward toward the realization of their full potential.


    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City
    Perry A Davis Jr recently posted..What characteristic must a network marketer have to deal with objections and rejection?My Profile

  20. Francoise permalink
    December 6, 2011

    I love the quote in the beginning. I remember a friend, he’s handicapped. But instead pitying himself he never gave up to earn for himself. He does anything for a living. That is why everybody in his neighborhood admire him.
    And speaking of self-respect, yes it is so true. You have to earn it in yourself before you ask from it from others.
    Francoise recently posted..My Arowana Is Not Eating No Matter What I Do !!!My Profile

  21. December 6, 2011

    Amen… if you do not respect yourself, who will. I love that. People like to outwardly criticize themselves, even jokingly. I am guilty of this at times. However, I know my faults, and I am willing to overcome those. I hold to my guns when I promise people I will do what I said.

    I do know that it is not always easy to keep promises, but I know that if I do not, I let myself down and if it was a promise to another, I let that person down too.

    Thank you for sharing this! Oops… I think I double posted… please delete the first comment!
    Nile recently posted..Ways to Reach Out To Your Visitors To Keep Them Coming BackMy Profile

  22. December 5, 2011

    Self-respect is an important matter. Without this one, we do not know what will be our attitude. I must agree that this can bring peace of mind. By accepting the facts and being particular can bring peace in our mind as well as self confidence!

  23. December 5, 2011

    Wow, this is definitely an enlightening article. I had a college professor way back then who thought us on the experience of love. He said that only when you start loving yourself that you can love others and they can love you back.

    Same concept, different things. Both important.
    Christopher Campbell recently posted..Feel Good Friday: Green Holiday GiftsMy Profile

  24. December 5, 2011

    Hi Marty, I really enjoyed this article. Self respect is the key to gratitude, humility, confidence and having a proper sense of one’s own dignity and integrity like you mentioned. If you have self respect you will make choices in life that align with your purpose and you will also command the respect of others without demanding it. Thanks for the insights Marty, and have a good one!
    Shelley Alexander recently posted..Cultured Probiotic-rich Foods Are The Key To Digestive Health And ImmunityMy Profile

  25. December 5, 2011

    We must give ourselves the respect that we deserve so we could value ourselves more. It is important for us to remember that we also need to love ourselves by respecting ourselves if we want people around us to treat us that way.
    Adrian recently posted..Metal Sheds Assembling TipsMy Profile

  26. December 5, 2011

    It’s so important to be in touch with yourself, Marty.

    Self-respect does not come from actual accomplishment, it comes from making a full effort to accomplish that which we feel called to. As you wisely point out, we need not strive for perfection. In fact, it is my belief that we are not called to perfection, but to striving to fully utilize our God-given abilities for the benefit of all whom we encounter.

    And we are only apt to do that once we have sufficiently developed our sense of self-respect.
    David Merrill recently posted..Targeted Listbuilding – Part 3My Profile

  27. December 5, 2011


    I love your distinctions between self-esteem and self-respect. Some people have generally good self-esteem, perhaps can function quite well at work, but run into difficulties with their most intimate relationships. What may be happening is that they give in to the needs and sometimes unreasonable demands of their partner, go against their own sense of integrity, and slowly lose their sense of self-respect. This can also happen at work. Self-respect and respect for others is not often talked about but is crucial for feeling good about oneself and one’s life.


    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted..Improve Your Social Skills – 10 tips from Dale CarnegieMy Profile

  28. December 5, 2011

    I agree. Self-respect also makes you happy with who you are. This sort of elevated status soon builds your confidence in who you are and what you stand for (even if you’re not actively trying to do so).
    Like you said, if you’re happy and confident in who you are, others will be too. Great post.
    Anne recently posted..Confidence: A Journey, Not A DestinationMy Profile

    • December 5, 2011

      Aloha and welcome Anne! I’m so glad you enjoyed the article, and I want to reciprocate and compliment you on your blog on confidence. I just visited and left a comment for you and look forward to returning!

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