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Difference Between Self-Esteem and Self-Respect

Self-esteem and self-respect are two terms that are closely linked to one another. Both are positive attributes in healthy individuals. But ultimately, there are key differences that are crucial to understanding both concepts. Gaining a deeper understanding of them can help achieve healthier levels of self-esteem and further build self-respect, to be able to function more effectively in society.

On Self-Esteem

Self-esteem describes the confidence in a person's own worth and abilities. It is how you think and feel about yourself at the most subconscious level. To esteem something means to hold something in high regard. Having healthy self-esteem is crucial to mental wellbeing and success. It is this ability to conduct yourself confidently that empowers you to take action with fervor, making success and achievement more possible.

A measure of self-esteem is how easily feelings of self-worth can be influenced by the statements or actions of others. Someone with low self-esteem may be crushed, sometimes savagely, by the negative words of others. They may also be too easily influenced by insincere but flattering words. Their self-worth may depend heavily on the opinions and acceptance of other people.

A person with a healthy self-esteem is not immune to either praise or criticism, but they have sufficient emotional resilience to not base their feelings of self-worth solely on either.

On Self-Respect

Self-respect is a form of self-love, and it means that you accept yourself for who you are. Having self-respect means having positive feelings about yourself. These feelings enable you to maintain positive regard for yourself. Respect for oneself or self-respect means that you value the person that you are deep down, and you accept that person.

It involves treating yourself with respect and by extension, expecting others to treat you with respect as well. Self-respect enables you to act with grace and dignity to whatever gets thrown your way.

It allows you to set healthy boundaries and standards to protect yourself from other people as well. Standing up for yourself is one way of showing self-respect. When you have this at a healthy level, you can assert your values and live your principles. When you have this within yourself, it's very easy to respect and understand the journey of others, too.

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The Difference Between Self-esteem and Self-respect

Self-esteem comes from our long-formed opinion of ourselves, our sense of self-importance and value based on external achievements, abilities, and inner strength. It is fostered even more by external recognition when we know that it is genuine and deserved.

Self-esteem is vulnerable to negative feedback and can be heavily damaged by extreme negative circumstance. Regardless of how ideal having it is, it is not as stable or enduring as self-respect. Self-respect is something you can hold steadfast inside you, even when your self-esteem is at a low ebb. Unlike self-esteem, it cannot be easily destroyed, especially when you know who you are and value the person that you are deep down.

Self-esteem may be about pride in oneself; self-respect is having the certainty of your dignity as a person.

Even though self-esteem can be shaped by external circumstances, self-esteem and self-respect both coexist within a person. Self-respect is the foundation that can help rebuild a person's self-esteem when it is heavily affected by criticism and negative feedback.

Self-esteem is something that can be rebuilt when damaged and it relies on self-respect to be able to do that more effectively. If you have a healthy sense of self-respect and you value who you are deep down, nurturing your self-esteem won't be a very difficult thing to do.

Effective Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem and Manifest Self-Respect

  • Avoid falling into the trap of comparing yourself with others. You are unique and valuable just the way you are; there's nobody else like you, so celebrate that.
  • Attend to your basic needs before anything else – take care of yourself.
  • Choose your company and friends wisely.
  • Learn to take compliments gracefully and say thank you.
  • Let go and forgive yourself for past mistakes.
  • Acknowledge your efforts and hard work; celebrate wins, whether big or small. Learn to relish your accomplishments.
  • Be kind to yourself and treat yourself well.
  • Don't expect yourself to be perfect. Perfectionism will hold you back.
  • Do more of what makes you happy and feel positive about life.
  • Be mindful of your inner self-talk and change the script to a positive one if it is negative. Be positive about yourself all the time.

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