Self-respect is the courage to be yourself in any circumstances. Independently of how others think of you. You can simply face the inconvenience of not fitting in.
Indeed, self-respect has nothing to do with the approval of others. It has nothing to do with reputation, achievements or recognition, either. It is a moral trait of Self that Self can only cultivate.
Life is hugely a learning journey and it helps to see yourself as a process that develops along or with it. Self-respect originates from knowing and liking the Self that unfolds in this learning.
If you have self-respect you have a kind of toughness and a moral discipline. You know your intrinsic value not because it has been acclaimed loudly, but because you can put your life in perspective, even when your exploration leads through a dark valley.
Our grandparents knew everything about self-respect. They were raised in discipline that required them to do things they did not necessarily like or want to do. Things had to be done with diligence and obedience. And they were.
Doubts had to be kept away. Adversity was a daily encounter. There was a purpose of goals higher than their Selves.
Hardships shape character. Adversity makes us awake and active. It calls us to invent novel solutions.
Trials test patience and elicit talents which could have remained undiscovered, otherwise. They mold, groom and prune the sense of intrinsic worth, so much related to self-respect.
Learning to live a life of discipline and a delayed gratification is a way to build your self-respect. You are able to make a sacrifice of the immediate comforts for the sake of higher goals or possible (yet unsure) future rewards. By doing this repetitively, you learn to discriminate between what is important and what is spurious.
People with self respect make mistakes and face the consequences of their decisions. Without self pity or complaining. They can even live and die unappreciated and disregarded, knowing that for themselves they reached for the highest goal.
If you have your self-respect, you have everything. The ability to discriminate, to love in freedom, without putting chains of dependency on others, and to remain indifferent, if necessary.
If you lack in self-respect, you are locked inside yourself, unsure of your decisions and moves, incapable of true partnerships. In the extreme case, you are merely doing things to please others, unable to set borders and limits. In search for approval, yet so empty inside.
Self-respect is a habit of mind, which can be developed and exercised. It starts from self retrospection, finding a place of reconciliation within. This is your haven, a place of authentic appreciation.
If there is one thing you can change it is daring to be yourself without the need of approval.
Step by step take responsibility for your life. Your thoughts, words and disciplined actions.
Enjoy spending time with yourself only. Appreciate your own presence. Observe your thoughts.
Become consciously grateful for your life.
Stop being bothered by the opinions or comments of others. It is their view.
Stop looking at others for approval. No external prize will fully satisfy you.
Stop feeling intimidated by authority. They are there to your service.
Stand up. Do ask questions to learn.
Accept errors and mistakes on your journey.
Above all …
Enjoy your journey.
In a society where many teenagers and adults lack the meaning of life, self respect has been vanishing too. Perhaps it is high time to discipline our minds to do things which we don’t particularly like to do. So that we can gain a perspective on whom we are becoming.