What is Self-Respect

Is self-respect what you won’t tolerate from others? Or what you won’t tolerate from yourself? Examine some sterling examples of character.

Martin Luther King was a man who did great things and a man of immense integrity.

But, do we think of him as a person with great self-respect?

In this regard, he withstood an unrealistic amount of miss-behavior and violence from others. So because he tolerated horrible treatment from others, would one question “where is your self-respect?” Most likely in his time, some with small minds must’ve asked him right?

Through charisma and sheer strength of will, his efforts changed the way the world works, to say the least.

Through all his accomplishments, he changed things for generations to come. But, the truth of the matter is,

it takes a powerful sense of self-respect to not retaliate and stand for something bigger than yourself.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

-Martin Luther King

Consider another example of a man.

Known for non-violent campaigns of peace in South Africa and India. Being thrown off trains and being a victim of prejudice. Inspiring many to the point of changing the world. At the time, of being mistreated and choosing a seat of peace and non-retaliation, how many people you think said “stand up and fight!”

Many must of said, “where is your pride, where is your self-respect?!”

This person was named Mahatma Gandhi.

One of the most influential figures on race relations and prejudice in history. Now, in retrospect, people realize that at the time, they may have thought he lacked self-respect.

But, the truth of the matter is, he respected himself more than most and enough to not retaliate, stand up and do something about the world he saw around him.

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Now we come to 2 realizations.

One, that with a deep connection to a purpose bigger than yourself, you can weather anything.

And two, that self-respect has more to do with what standards you will enforce for yourself rather than what you hold others to.

Holding ourselves to a higher standard is the quickest way to respecting oneself more. For what you do and speak is a confession of your character.

Rejecting an attitude of “taking the path of least resistance,” one can stand up for the principles or ideals that might be worthy of him or her.

Remember, the standards must be worthy of you, and once they are, then it is your obligation to live up to them. For in doing so, you light the roadway for others to walk.

“Be the change that you want to see in the world.”

  • Mahatma Gandhi