Self Respect

Socrates(104272)Credit: Flickr Bencrowe

The Greek philosopher Socrates said, 'be as you wish to seem', a message which conveys a great deal of truth, as it communicates that, if you want to like and respect yourself, then you need to act in a way to achieve this.

This may sound simple, but of course it is not, as life, situations and people are complex and we all struggle to act with dignity and good manners, when we have been hurt, or things don't go the way we want. However, there are a few principles that can be followed which can simplify the path, to becoming a person that you can both like and respect.

Be Assertive Not Aggressive

Being assertive can bring self-respect, as it is a trait that shows you have a certain amount of self-confidence and belief in your own thoughts and abilities. Assertiveness is however very different from aggression, as you in no way seek to dominate others, or belittle, or bully them in any way, you merely stand up for your point of view. Bullies also tend to steer clear of those who have an assertive manner and target those who are somewhat vulnerable, so assertiveness can protect you from those bullying types, who can bring so much misery. Assertiveness takes some practice and being assertive means overcoming sensitivity to criticism and anxiety, but as it can bring so many personal rewards, it is a path worth taking, even one step at a time.

Don't Personalise Anger

All of us get angry with others at times, but it is important not to resort to childish personal slights, like finger-pointing, sighing or eye rolling. Also do not be openly hostile and aggressive, invading the personal space of others and restrain yourself from throwing insulting names at the other person. Do however be direct and communicate your feelings in a non intense and non overly emotional way. And always try to see a situation from the other persons point of view.


Having integrity means being honest with yourself about your intentions and not being swayed by the opinions of others, like the views of your peer group or culture; think for yourself. Continually asking yourself,  what is your intent when undertaking certain actions and whether you want to 'help or hurt' Are your actions manipulative or deceitful and can you acknowledge when you have been less than principled, or forthright in your dealings. No one is perfect however, but being aware of our motivations and intentions, helps us to become people who possess greater integrity and enables us to gain greater self-respect and genuine self liking.

Let Go of Grudges

The truth is that there are some mean people out there, who delight in hurting others, you don't want to be one of them however, as nastiness is corrosive to the self, as are feelings of bitterness, resentment and revenge. Mean and nasty feelings tend to stew and make a person depressed and bitter. Letting go of grudges however, does not mean that you need to become 'Pollyanna', and look at the world and people in a false light. Acknowledge your hurt and tell the person who hurt you how you feel and then let the feeling go. If you make the judgement that a person is 'toxic' and motivated by the intention to hurt others, then get away from such a person, but don't hold onto the bitter memories of anger and pain, as this is personally destructive.

Don't Try to Always Compete with Others

There is a saying, 'Don’t compete with others. Compete with yourself.' This helpful aphorism is worth writing down, as it can remind you to strive for personal high standards, which are not to be always compared with others. The reality is, that we are all different and have different situations, circumstances and abilities; aiming to improve yourself for your own reasons however, can bring a great level of personal harmony and it is attainable and realistic. 

Another aspect of not competing with others, is to quit engaging in conversations with one- upmanship involved. Continually trying to outdo the other person in regard to, how rich, successful or how bright your children are, is immature and destructive, no real relationship or communication can result. Refuse to engage in this activity.

 lastly realise that we are all fallible and make mistakes, but don't give up in the quest to be happy with yourself, merely view yourself and others as 'works in progress' and  things will look somewhat clearer and the path easier.