What is Self-respect and How Does it Relate to Self-esteem?

The terms “self-esteem” and “self-respect” may seem at first glance very similar, if not exactly the same. But they are indeed very different things and have very different consequences, especially when cultivated at a young age.

i-amPsychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and other experts for years have encouraged parents and teachers to cultivate self-esteem in kids. About thirty years ago, it became very popular among child experts to tout self-esteem as the solution to all our children’s problems. We’ve heard it a million times—high self-esteem is good, low self-esteem is bad. But what does this really mean and what effect does it have in the long-term?

Self-esteem means simply thinking highly of one’s self. Many parents, teachers and psychologists feel that by showering a child with praise, he or she will grow up with a positive attitude and confidence. But often self-esteem that is left unchecked can develop into destructive behavior: thinking less of others, un-gratefulness, arrogance, cockiness. The pursuit of self-esteem can become, as described by family psychologist and parenting expert John Rosemond, “an excuse to do your own thing—regardless of whether or not the “thing” in question is anti-social—and quickly mutate[s] into self-worship.”

Self-respect, on the other hand, is a mindset that allows us to become grateful, humble and well-adjusted. Self-respect encompasses respect not just of ourselves, but also of others. In fact, by respecting our fellow humans we can learn to respect ourselves more. When we have self-respect, we love ourselves but do not become arrogant or cocky. As Rosemond puts it, “A person growing in self-respect understands that he is an imperfect being who was given the gift of life in order to serve.”

Self-respect is akin to the Golden Rule: in order to receive respect and learn to respect ourselves, we must learn to give respect to others. And while having confidence is not a bad thing, people who are over-confident (and who are often seen as arrogant) haven’t learned this principle—that in order to get respect from others and from ourselves, we must first learn to give.

Self-respect is gained “not by being told how wonderful you are,” Rosemond writes. “But by developing respect for others.”

As you’ve probably experienced, people who have grown up being told how great they are usually aren’t very fun to be around and don’t make very good friends. But people who have been taught to take an interest in and care about others while maintaining a positive attitude about themselves tend to be the type of interesting people with whom we enjoy spending time.

By encouraging our children’s individuality and growth by teaching them to be confident yet humble and respectful, we can help them become adults who have healthy, stable relationships and friendships, and respect for themselves and others.

Mark Arens – About the Author:

Help your children to gain self-respect by taking one step at a time. One way to accomplish this is to help your child set goals.

What A Positive Attitude Can Teach Us

positive_thinkingPositive thinking is not the same as blind optimism, neither does it mean overconfidence. It is a force that can empower you to overcome any obstacle that life puts forth. So, if you find that the everyday life stress is getting you down, your performance at work is deteriorating, relationships are home seem strained or are a cause of added stress or if you feel that there is a gap between where you are and where you want to be in life – the answer is learning to think positively.

What Positive Thinking Does for You

Here are some things that you will gain when you learn to alter your perceptions and think more positively:

* Less Stress – The way you think about a situation determines how to act in that situation. This could mean that you either worsen an already bad set of circumstances or you handle it masterfully. With positive thinking, you will be able to seek solutions more easily, you will see the positives even in a bad situation and you will know that you have the ability to overcome all obstacles. This will lead to lower stress levels.

* More Energy and Inner Drive – When you think negatively, it saps you of energy. However, when you have less stress and are constructively perceiving things, you will have more energy to spare that would otherwise have been used up coping with the stress and negativity. You will feel the inner drive or motivation to work harder to resolve things and move ahead or even to complete tasks at hand.

* Lower Anxiety – While negativity creates higher levels of fear and anxiety, positive thinking empowers you. This means that you feel less overwhelmed with whatever life has in store for you. The lower the anxiety when faced with a new situation, the better you will deal with it.

* Better Relationships – With greater positivity, you will give more to building and sustained deeper relationships. Your communication style will improve and you will see a definite change for the better in your interactions with people. You will also find that you handle conflicts better because you are less stressed and anxious about them and because you are able to see the positives in the situation.

* Peace of Mind and Healthier Existence – If all the above is true, then you definitely will find greater peace of mind. Things will trouble you less and with each situation you handle successfully, you will gain greater confidence. When you are at peace with yourself and the world, your body reacts to it. Just as higher stress levels lead to higher blood pressure, ulcers and many other health problems, lower stress and positive thinking also affect you physically to give you a healthier existence.

So, get the Law of Attraction working for you by gaining a positive attitude.

Nepolian MiltonAbout the Author:

If you are looking for a motivational speaker who can truly inspire you to bring about a significant change in your life, visit Dougdvorak.com. Doug Dvorak has worked with a wide variety of individuals and organizations and has helped numerous people with his unique blend of humor and motivational coaching.

Self-esteem is the set of beliefs that you have about yourself.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the set of beliefs that you have about yourself. It is how good (or bad) you feel about yourself.

Example self-beliefs that constitute self-esteem:

    1. I’m an excellent writer
    2. I’m a good human being
    3. I’m great at explaining concepts to others
    4. I feel I’m ugly
    5. I’m too fat
    6. I’m not good with people
    7. I’m a bad person


As you see above, self-esteem can be both broad (I’m a good human being) or specific to a certain field (I’m an excellent writer) Also self-esteem is known by many other synonyms such as self-worth, self-respect, self-confidence etc.

Why is self-esteem important?

Success in anything we take up in our life is directly linked to the amount of confidence we have in ourselves. Lack of confidence in oneself or low self-esteem prevents us from achieving our full potential in life. A low self-esteem also prevents us from enjoying life fully. By law of attraction, what we believe about ourselves is what the universe shows to us, and thus in order to attract positive things in our life, it is important that our beliefs about ourselves be positive. Self-esteem is an important Level 4 need in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. For more details about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, see  article here: According to Maslow, human beings have different types of needs.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs showing self-esteem as a level 4 need.

Where does self-esteem come from?

      1. Childhood: A large part of self-esteem comes from our childhood. The quality of relationships we have had with our parents, and the amount of praise you got from them have an effect on self-esteem. It is thus important that we positively acknowledge children for their achievements.
      2. Our own thoughts: Some people are naturally more positive than others. The kind of self-talk we do to ourselves is thus a big contributor to our self-esteem.
      3. Achievements:  Success in anything we take up increases our self-esteem. Failures tend to decrease it.
      4. Peers:  What people around us say to us affects our self-esteem. This can be people from work, family or those we have romantic relationships with.


How can I find out if my self-esteem is high or low?

Here are some general traits of people who have high and low self-esteem. Make a unbiased judgement and find out for yourself.

People with high self-esteem tend to:

      1. Feel confident in their abilities. They do not fear failure and are willing to ask for help when needed.
      2. Consider themselves equal to other, regardless of specific talents or outward differences they have. They neither have a superiority complex not inferiority complex.
      3. Standup for what they believe, do not feel attacked when they face opposition, and are open to change their beliefs and grow.
      4. Trust their own judgement and do not feel guilty when other people do not like the choices they make.
      5. They learn from the past and plan for the future. They do not worry too much about the past.
      6. Believe that others accept them, love them or at least find them interesting.
      7. Are sensitive to the feelings and needs of others.
      8. Enjoy their life.

Refer to the above as P1 to P8 in order to talk about it. Example – I found myself having P2, P4, and P8

People with low self-esteem tend to:

      1. Be pessimistic about their life, future, and themselves.
      2. Feel bad about many things and thus tend to be hostile and ready to explode.
      3. Are very sensitive to criticism. They feel easily attacked and experience obstinate resentment against critics.
      4. Criticize themselves often and are generally dissatisfied with themselves.
      5. Be fearful of making mistakes, which leads to a state of chronic indecision.
      6. Are unable to say “no” to others and consequently have an excessive will to please others.
      7. Tend to be perfectionistic thanks to their fear of making mistakes.
      8. Condem the behaviours of others, exaggerates the magnitude of mistakes and find it difficult to forgive others.
      9. Have a general lack of will to enjoy life.

Refer to the above as N1 to N9 in order to talk about it. Example – I found myself having N1, N2 and N7

How can I improve my self-esteem?

      1. Be positive. Focus on achievements and talents, rather than shortcomings.
      2. Stretch yourself beyond what you do now.
      3. Do not be hard on yourself. Let go of any mistakes made in the past.
      4. Surround yourself with positive people who encourage you in whatever you take up.
      5. Monitor and celebrate your success. Reward yourself when you achieve milestones.
      6. Take good care of yourself – body, mind, heart and spirit.
      7. Regularly practice self-love. Look into the mirror each day and say ” Wow – How wonderful you are – I Love you !”
      8. Work with a professional coach who can quickly point areas of improvement.