Respect your limitations

Respect and Self-Respect

What Is Respect?


  1. definition: to look back on or refer back to > to be worth looking back at or returning to > to be worthy of special attention or deference > to be esteemed.
  2. word origins: < Latin re- (back, again) + specere (to look).
  3. word forms. Opposites: 'contempt' and 'disrespect' (and the verb forms 'diss' and 'dissing'). Colloquial: giving someone their 'propers' (their due, in the form of actions) or 'props' (acknowledgement in front of others, usually verbal).
  4. As a noun, 'Respect' is the quality of being held to be of high value or worth, enough that it leads to acknowledgement by others. And, highly valuing the lasting elements of someone's good character or excellence in a task.

In some societies, notably Chinese and Japanese, a person's longevity is honored. In the English phrase "no respecter of persons", it means that no one person is treated as being more worthy than another, within a social system that puts relative values on people (because of gender, race, rank, or class).

How To Show Respect

If you want to be treated with respect, the simplest path forward is to respect others. It doesn't always work - humans being what we are - but that's not why you do it. You honor them because you know their worth, and know that their worth is a different but equal version of your worth.

Respect is one of the relational effects of love. When you love others, you will want to respect them too. Respecting others is part of the social glue that holds a society together.


Self-respect is about discovering and building up who you really are and building up your own character. It involves, among other things:

When Jesus said "love one another as I have loved you", and "love your neighbor as yourself", He was speaking about an approach to all of life, where all people and all of nature are treated according to the worth God holds them in. That means your worth, too. Since you're the one who deals with you the most, you're the one most responsible for respecting and loving yourself, and treating yourself right.

It's much easier to respect who you are when you're not pretending to be what you're not. Eventually, you'll come to hate the pretense, and that will bleed over into your view of the rest of you. You're repulsed by others who fake you out; when you're the fraud, you'll eventually find yourself even more repulsive. You dis-earn your own respect. One thing you definitely are not is that overall, you're not better than anyone else. Thus, arrogance damages true self-respect.

Self-Respect vs. Self-Esteem

The key difference between self-esteem and self-respect is that self-esteem is about estimating, evaluating, measuring, achieving, and comparing. Self-respect comes from learning and knowing who you are, loving and taking care of yourself. Self-esteem's not necessarily a bad thing; it has its (limited) place. But we learn to love ourselves by not comparing ourselves to others, and we learn to love others by not comparing them to others or to ourselves. We learn to love by treasuring the image of God in which each one of us was created. A person with self-respect can step forward boldly, knowing their true worth cannot be taken away from them no matter how the situation ends. Or, as Scripture says so often, "Fear not". Self-esteem can depend too much on what others think, or on whether you think you've achieved your goal; it can lead to judging yourself. Thus, self-respect is more important and more central than self-esteem.

Self-respect is the fruit of discipline: the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.

Don't let anyone see you come in...

Found in a bulletin:

The Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Please use the back door.

Respect can be given, but is usually earned.