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