Self-respect means to look at oneself with satisfaction of who you are, admiring your own values, holding in high esteem your convictions about life and being proud of what you are in life. A person who has self-respect will not easily compromise his or her values for the sake of pleasing other people. This is because self-respect stems form a deep conviction of believing in ones competence, achievement and independence (Harter, S.
1997). At various ages in life, self-respect will manifest itself differently, mainly being guided by the main activity in one’s life at that particular point.According to Harter, S. (1997). Young children begin to make conscious decisions at the age of 6-7 years and it is these decisions that one makes in life that tell whether they respect themselves or not.
When young boys and girls start going to school, there’s pressure from schoolmates to do things together, some of which are naughty, of course. A young boy or girl who respects him or herself will stand by what they know is right and not compromise (usually what they have been told by their parents or teachers), thus showing self-respect. Pre-teens and teenagers are always under a lot of peer pressure.
They have to prove that they are with it so that they can be ‘accepted’ in their social circles. Most of the things they are to give in to include drinking, smoking and engaging in irresponsible sexual behaviours. A teenager who has self-respect understands that they do not have to prove themselves.They know what is right and therefore stand by the truth. They are happy and satisfied to do the right thing and so give a deaf ear to all the voices telling them otherwise. Young adults between the ages of 20-35 years show self-respect by: choosing career paths that they want to do and not those that please other people, taking up jobs offered to them out of merit and not because of offering bribes or sexual favours, marrying or getting married to people they truly love and not because friends and family are putting pressure on them as well as eating (and this applies to all ages) foods that will sustain and nourish their bodies, not harmful food stuffs.
Middle aged and older persons show self-respect by how they conduct themselves in society. Being honest employers and employees, treating other people with respect, being good and responsible parents as well as dispensing meaningful advice to the upcoming generation.Self-respect does not come naturally. One will mess up once, twice maybe even more times, but the willingness to learn from these situations and deciding to do what is right over and over again is the practice needed to develop self-respect. It takes a conscious decision by an individual to swim against the current to develop this necessary virtue. To begin, one must have the humility to know that the world does not really care for self-respect. We live in a fast world, where short cuts and under-hand deals make the day.
So to have self-respect, to go against this ‘normal’ way of doing things, one must know that they will not be too popular at first. But in the end, even the world acknowledges those who respect themselves. You only get respect if you respect yourself. It is the only way to survive in this world. As unpopular as it might seem one ends up living a life of inner-peace, honor and happiness. A worthy and good life.