How to Develop R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Yourself

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” ~ Mark Twain

Self-respect is a fundamental for a great life. If we lack self-respect we will be insecure and strive to be someone we are not. To develop self-respect means to cultivate the self confidence to deal with whatever life throws at us. The following are some ways we can improve our self-respect. Remember, self-respect comes from an inner belief and not an egoistic feeling of superiority.

1. Be True to Yourself

There is great social pressure from parents, work and society to become a certain person and to achieve certain things. It is a pressure hard to detach from. But, a real self-respect only comes from being true to our inner calling. It is important you have faith in your own values and remember what is important to you. Just because other people think you should behave in a certain way, doesn’t mean they are right. Everyone needs to follow their own path. Even if others don’t respect your decision it is important that you do. Just ask yourself whether you come into the world to please Tom, Dick and Harry or live your own life?

2. Learn to Handle Criticism

We are sensitive beings. Nobody likes criticism and when we are criticized, either directly or indirectly, we feel bad about ourself – even if the criticism is not justified. To maintain a sense of self respect, we need to learn how to deal with criticism. Don’t take criticism personally. Look at it from a detached perspective. Maybe it is false, in which case we should ignore it. If their is some truth, we can use it to develop our character. However, it is important not to take criticism too personally. Just because we are not very good at a particular task, doesn’t mean we need to lose our self respect.

3. Look After Your Appearance, Without Being a Slave to Fashion

Our appearance is important. It can give us confidence or it can make us feel awkward. Take care of our appearance; dressing smart for the right occasion gives us self confidence. At the same time, we don’t want to be the slave of fashion trends. Dress for your own benefit; don’t dress in the expectation of pleasing others and receiving complements.

4. Avoid Jealousy

Jealousy of other people’s success is a common way of losing our happiness and self respect. Jealousy is simply envy of other people’s success. We feel miserable that we cannot enjoy their success. Sometimes it can even lead us to knocking the other person. If we follow this path of jealousy we will definitely lose our sense of self respect. When we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, we are saying our self respect depends on being better than others. But, the truth is, there will always be some people more successful than ourself. The trick to lasting self respect is to be happy through others success. We should never feel that other people’s success in any way diminishes our self worth.

5. Remember your Motivation, Not Results

Sometimes we work with best of motives and the best of intentions only to be disappointed by the outcome. The problem is that we equate our self respect to outer displays of wealth, success and social standing. It is the nature of life, that things will not turn out as we hoped, but, it is a mistake to link our sense of self worth to the achievement of external targets. Self respect comes when we value our attitude to life and other people. Even if things go badly don’t lose your self respect. Work with the best of intentions and gain your self respect from that.

6. Respect Others

If you have no respect for others, how can you have self-respect? Self respect means we have an inner confidence and inner assurance, but this is not a confidence built on superiority. It is the wrong approach to try and feel better by putting others down. If we look for the good qualities in other people, it is easier to remember the good qualities in ourselves.

7. Never Hate Yourself

We make mistakes, we may do the wrong thing; but we should never put ourselves down unnecessarily. If we are not careful we start bitterly regretting things and even disliking ourselves. We should never hate our self, it is very destructive. Listen to your conscience, but, don’t be too hard on yourself and feel burdened with guilt.

8. Forgive

Forgive others and forgive yourself. Don’t live in the past, but, move on from past mistakes and difficult situations. If your mind is occupied with problems from the past, you will always feel guilty and unworthy. Don’t allow your self worth to be determined by past mistakes.

9. Be Selfless

The way to self respect is not through a bloated sense of pride; this is a false type of self respect. We may think that the praise of others boosts our self respect, but, actually this praise creates a vulnerable ego. If our self respect is based on the praise of others then our self respect will be very tenuous. Self respect should not be dependent on the praise of others; it should be independent of others praise.

10. Don’t Keep up With the Joneses

You will not be able to build self respect if you are permanently striving to impress others with outer displays. People who are impressed with material wealth and social standing are probably the kind of people not worth impressing anyway. Be comfortable with what you have, not what you think will impress others.


Tejvan Pettinger lives in Oxford where he writes on issues of self improvement and self development. He updates a blog Sri Chinmoy Inspiration. Recent blog posts include Changing Yourself by Accepting Yourself.

Image by Moriza.

  • #2 was a big one for me. I went to film school and that really helped me learn how to handle criticism. I don’t know why this is not a bigger part of our upbringing in school, as it is probably the thing Kids deal with most growing up.

  • And if you cannot avoid jealousy, at least turn it into something positive by striving to improve your own life so that you are no longer jealous of others. I wrote about how to do this in “Jealous Much? … Make It Work for You!” at

    Terrific post, Tejvan!

  • Your post reminds me of the problem with the scripture that urges us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

    One day it struck me that this is exactly what people do. When you don’t love yourself, you can’t love your neighbor. The reason people are hateful, jealous and disrespectful is they are loving their neighbors as they love themselves, not at all.

  • Ali

    In addition to what Flora says, I find that sometimes it’s easy to be much harsher on myself than I would ever be on other people!

    Some advice I once read helped me: when judging myself, to consider whether I’d say the same things to a friend who was in the same position as me. 99% of the time, I think I’d be much gentler to the friend!

    I think that points #1 and #10 in Tejvan’s article are crucial. #1 has been my main problem for most of my life, something I’ve only managed to deal with over the past couple of years — I’m very much the “good girl” who always wanted to please her parents and teachers!

    #10 is an issue for so many people. It is hard when friends/colleagues seem to have more money etc, but ultimately it’s about figuring out what really matters to YOU and pursuing that.

    • Miggins

      “Some advice I once read helped me: when judging myself, to consider whether I’d say the same things to a friend who was in the same position as me. 99% of the time, I think I’d be much gentler to the friend!”

      A thousand thank yous for sharing this advice. I read your comment and realised I would NEVER speak to anyone else the way I speak to myself, and it’s opened my eyes. I’ve finally made a breakthrough into overcoming my anxiety disorder and I’m managing to make my “internal chatter” a lot more positive. Thank you again.

  • Number two is still so incredibly difficult for me. Whenever someone “criticizes” me, I often wonder whether or not they are really trying to help me or if they’re just being hurtful. I realize that no matter how hard I try, I am always going to be an emotional person (much like you stated). However, I think it is important that we balance out these emotions with logic and reason.

    • Tabby

      I completely agree with Janelle and at times i dont know if peoples criticisms are meant to be helpful or if there just hating…my family criticizes everything i do from how i dress to how i talk and they say they want me to be a better person but I cant help but think that they just dont except who i am i can’t change the way i talk…

  • Number 5 is very true, and it works. Micheal Phelps put his motivation on the back of his locker.

  • #8 Forgiveness – I think that so many people harbor around guilt feelings because they can not forgive themselves. We know no ones perfect and usually find it easy to forgive others but when it comes to forgiving ourselves that’s a different story. For some reason we expect ourelves to be perfect.

  • “Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was.” – Margaret Mitchell

  • Great post. It’s interesting to know that building self-confidence can be as easy as ABC. Interestingly enough, offer good tips too. Might be interesting to check it out.

  • It is difficult to deal with criticism. It’s easy to say ‘be detached’ but much harder to put into practise!

  • It’s quite funny (although a serious and common problem) in that we don’t respect or give ourselves the credit we deserve. It makes no sense when there are so many other people out there who are willing to put you down.

    Great post


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  • Lack of self-esteem could be a debi1itating problem. It actually hampers your potential to be successful or even achieving your dreams or in even hampers the ability to dream big…

  • duaa khan

    well its a quite motivating post to change our behaviour and attitudes.Life is always unpredictable and to deal with different realities of life, Self respect plays an important role.

    Thanks for sharing the tactics of developing self respect

  • Great article indeed.

  • RaAr

    Self respect more or less same as self confidence & positive thinking, don’t let our self to down, provide continues motivation when our estime is down, think positive about the things, when you look positive in the things than you not let your self to get down & find good things, try do always good thing & don’t think about result & be happy even result comes in the way that you thought or opposite but keep satifaction that you done good.

  • This is a BIGGIE for a lot of people. Great Post!

  • These are all great words to live by. I like the one that says “Be true to yourself.” When we are true to ourselves we are better equipped to boast in all the goodness that surrounds us.

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  • Laura

    If you have not read it, I highly reccomend the essay On Self-Respect by Joan Didion.

  • isma

    what a article i just learnd to forgive myself and that would help me alot.good job

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  • Fery

    What a great post.Thank you.

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  • I have virtually no problem with 9 of the 10. I really am hard on myself. I do not know how to really respect myself. Everything I have ever done, I was told I should try harder, never good enough. Combined with a couple of major marital moral mistakes, I really do hate who I see in the mirror.
    How do you all do it?

  • Avoid Jealousy, I think this is most important!

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  • i want to improve my personality level

  • mohit

    Yes,it,s great suugeession.Thank you.

  • idiot it’s not a cute article !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I been goin through a lot lately!… I always wanted people to treat me on a way with respect and luv! not to be fake in front of me actin like they really luv me and stuff and behind my back chit chatt about me!..I really liked this article and ye I hope i will get to achieve the respect that i truly need …I do need to respect my self so the others can respect me!.. Sometimes being a gud person and telling to everibodi the way you feel its not the right thing trust me! cause in this world there are a few people that do think on a right and a gud way and are a lot of people that try to let u down disrespect you and make u feel humiliated! but never mind though I will help my self watever I have done till now may God forgive me cause you know nobodi is perfect but God! but as a just get older I learn from my own mistakes and just powww WISE UP! I will keep moving forward in my life ..I want to achieve in my life be somebodi be the one that everibodi will respect me for who I am and what I do!.Its easy to talk but hard to act! ..Without trying or like they say without working hard you wont never ever get anithang! Respect meanz to get to know yo self! trust yo self Think positively about u and respect the others so u can get it back! May God help us all!..salute!

  • alka

    a motivational article…impressing and factual…

  • None

    I’m sorry, but this article made me cry. I’m messy, ‘creative’ (yeah,right), emotional, forgetful, inconsistant, and disorganized, People have told me my entire life to ‘get my act together’. I didn’t date in high school or college. Graduated college, got a job, didn’t move out till I was thirty. Never partied, few friends, never drank, no drugs, no life. So I could have a job that PAID THE BILLS. So I could have HEALTH INSURANCE. I try so hard to be ‘professional’ and ‘polished’ and I HATE IT. But you see, I have to keep pretending, to keep smiling, so that I’ll have enough money to PAY THE RENT. I don’t live in a fancy part of town, my car is five years old, and I’ll never make enough money to have a kid. Or get married. Or own a home. I have to keep working this job, or it’s back to working retail and living with my parents. And I’m exhausted all the time. I spend entire weekends in bed, sleeping. Have to be organized, have to remember everything. Have to not feel anything, or care about anything. I have to forget myself, not be myself on purpose everyday. Just to survive, just to get by. And I hate living. I have to pretend to care about so much bullshit, just to keep my job. There are so many unemployed people, if I lost my job I’d probably end up homeless. You people have NO IDEA what it means to worry about health insurance, rent, money for groceries. All I know is if I was just ‘myself’ I would never have my job, or anything else, for that matter.

    • Rockin_Cori

      sorry man whats your name

    • Logan

      I may only be 18 and I may not have had to deal with the same things as you, but I have learned a great deal in just this year. My troubles are similar in some ways, but there are, of course, differences. One thing that you mentioned was that if you were yourself, you wouldn’t have anything. Wealthy men carry money. Lustful men carry loneliness. But kind men do not carry anything because kindness is not heavy and compassion is no burden. I have had no health insurance for a year almost. I am thankful that I am healthy enough not to have it. I have gone to volunteer clinics for treatment. Sometimes, we must have faith in knowing that in the end, everything will work out. We all have burdens. We all have options. But one thing we often lose sight of are the people that we hold close to our hearts. We all get by with a little help from our friends. Strangers are family we have yet to meet. They will help here and there too. We lift each other. We don’t have to sacrifice ourselves, but guide each other. We do need to be adaptable to change and chance. Life is a roulette board. And yes there is the Russian kind that ends badly. But generally, you just keep playing. The key is not to bet on any one number. We cannot plan life. It just happens. We roll with the punches. How we view the outcome determines whether it counts as a failure or success. Keep in mind though that all failures in the end, are merely early attempts at success. My childhood was subconsciously stressful. I am now recovering from the traumas and shortcomings of those who have hurt me. I forgive, but I do not forget. I keep it with me to learn that I CAN overcome anything if I just let time heal it all. I am going to college next month and it is truly scary, but I know that whatever happens, I have support.

      Being successful doesn’t mean to be polished and professional. Dressing appropriately for any occasion produces morale. Yes we have those uniforms that we gotta wear. But that’s the name of the job posted across your body. I understand that you have posted over 2 years ago. I do hope that things have shaped up since you posted. And if not, know that they do. Trials are only a means of testing what you are capable of. Little do we know that we are all capable of greatness. We all just have to have faith in that. As morbid as it may seem, I hope that you have not permanently given up hope and taken action upon it. I know people who have lost sight of hope and can’t bear the thought of continuing the pain day after day. The idea that death is an escape from worries is an illusion. Life may not continue for those who have taken their lives, but life lives on for those who surrounded them. The worries never end. They take all shapes and sizes and transcend through time. We suffer the same worries that people did thousands of years ago. We all want happiness and life. And we can seek it and find it.

      Caring about oneself is only the beginning. Feeling and acknowledging the pain behind our pasts and the uncertainty of the future is what binds us and motivates us to fight to allow our destinies to awaken. Don’t stop caring and don’t stop feeling, because those two things are fundamental for human beings. They are just a couple of the many things that make us who and what we are. We aren’t just homo sapiens. We are Jesse, Christoph, Julie and the list goes on forever. I am Logan. You are who you are and you ARE capable. Let time tell. Relax and know that you can do it. Whatever it is. Life is exhausting and we need rest from it. But we must allow ourselves to rest. We have the control. It’s YOUR life and it is only YOU who has the ultimate control. Don’t abuse it. Use it. Don’t neglect it. Accept it. You are the guiding force in your life, passing through and listening to others’ advice. You are your own and no one else’s. Breathe out the possibilities. And release all negativity. Feel the outcome of opportunity flow from your lips and nostrils. In the words of Bob Marley:

      Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.

      • Liz

        Thanks for your thoughts Logan! They really helped me.

      • subash

        I am amazed by the positivity and such strong and stable thoughts by you..being 18 at that time..when rest of your friends are too busy enjoying the early”adult”life..i happen to read it now .and trust me I felt good at the end..:) hope you are doing great in life logan..hope you are a different man by now “none”

    • Nick

      Hey out there try to think positively and life will flow easier and remember your not a robot

  • Migdaliadejesus

    Thank you so much 

  • Migdaliadejesus

    Thank you so much 

  • Ranger365

    until you learn to respect yourself it will not happen. You can not go around & do the stuff you do & expect life to be peachy. I would suggest that you avoid alcohol & any other drug completely! Start going back to church & stop lying would be a good start. Treating others like you want to be treated will than start to come naturally. Good luck. 
              The wisdom of my Father

  • Lulu

    Dear readers,

    Something most girls don’t know about self respect is how to respect their dignity. Being a teenager myself, I know far too well of the peer pressure to get into a relationship and expose myself like a piece of meat. But a note to everyone who’s reading, TREAT YOURSELF AND YOUR EMOTIONS LIKE THEY’RE PRECIOUS. You know why? Because they are. There’s nothing more to it. You must always saver yourself for the best – let your heart only open and your body only be savored for the one you truly love. Don’t let your precious body and soul go to waste just like that – savor it for only the special moments, because you are precious and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise :)


    A girl <3


    • Harper Benson

      You are so right, It brings me joy to know that there are teenagers like you out there. My best friend used to sell her body because of family reasons – I would always tell her to stop but she just wouldn’t. But, when I told her about this comment; she stopped and got an actual job.  She now has self respect and is now in a stable relationship with a great guy…it’s all thanks to you. 

      Thank you for saving my friend. 

  • Ripan Hermawan

    Thank you. It’s a good article.

  • Tabbytabby35

    I wish i would have seen this web page a long time ago it realy would have help me out …life is hard sometimes and this really help me to deal with the problems that it brings.. 

    • naeam

      Sound advice. Check out the poem If by Rudyard Kipling too ! 

  • Mrjack_2012

    great article!

  • Fongster

    Great post and it really brings Mark Twain’s quote to life!

  • Fongster

    Great post and it really brings Mark Twain’s quote to life!

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  • Hayleythome

    that was good imformation for me. I have to present a speech on this and this website really helped me. Thanks

  • Elberel Erdenebat

    #9 and #10 were the real close ones for me.  I was stuck in complete depress, not complete yet, continuous is more appropriate.
    However I am acting like confident and good as always in daily life, there are a lot of troubles within me in every step of daily things. I think I am too fucking vulnerable to the simple things that happen everyday. And I always try to connect the bad things which happened in my past with the problems today I face :(
    These things you write are really helpful and bringing me on the trace, I love it.

  • Brainoma

    Thought I had issues with self-esteem, but on deeper thought, it was self-respect I was missing.  I was not being true to myself 1), forgetting my motivation 5), using other people’s standards instead of my own 3) 10).  A lack of respect for myself was causing me to be insecure – jealous – and unable to handle criticism.  Because I was not doing what I knew to be right, I was fighting against myself!  Thank you for reminding us of this truth.  Interesting that there is so little written on this topic.  It’s as if this truth has been forgotten.  

  • Terry

    i just came to this site and i think this has cleared my head of my past… now im gonna save this as my homepage. this is a great site that more people should know about.

  • Terry

    i just came to this site and i think this has cleared my head of my past… now im gonna save this as my homepage. this is a great site that more people should know about.

  • Terry

    i just came to this site and i think this has cleared my head of my past… now im gonna save this as my homepage. this is a great site that more people should know about.

  • Pladdha Laddha

    wow good yar a salute d hats off……..

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  • Sidradogar-705

    this is very helpful and informative.thanksssssss

  • ephillips

    These were all great advice.  Numbers four and eight (eight especially) are really hard for me.

  • ephillips

    #5, #7, and #10.  Especially #7.  I’m going to have to work on that.

  • Mohan

    Whatever one has to say about self-respect but I believe that in this material world your performance and success relates directly to your self-respect. Mere honesty does not work. Your efficiency, your power to get things done keep tremendous value in your account.  Where do I get this efficiency and power from? Every individual is confine to its ability. Your efforts materialise result and that it differs person to person so as your self-respect. What you say and the same thing said by the celebrity keep value differently.  The power and the efficiency is the key factor that measures the your value in the society.  

  • Spathaka1

    Its really helpful to increase the thoughts freely from the inner side of the own heart….. thanks

  • Dima

    love it , I just came to understanding these fact by time ,allow me to qoute 👍

  • Sajinsalim

    Good suggessions….

  • Jay

    Truly amazing. I commend you for posting such a powerful and effective strategy to battle such a state of mind. I am currently experiencing self-esteem issues, and well, I’m going to start using your tips and I believe I’ll overcome it. Thank you so much my friend. 

  • Royale Quay

    Wow you are amazing at what you do writer of this article. Thank you so much for putting things more in perspective for me. I was having such a hard time today and after reading this I feel so much better this is something I’m always going to carry with me

  • Sam Micheal

    Thanks to you peoples i have learn’t lot in this an my self
    to RESPECT

    sam micheal

  • Christine

    I LOVE THIS! So many girls these days have no idea how to be classy and have fun. I’m reading an awesome book on how to be classy and I’ve actually added an online book club to my blog just to inspire more people to read this book… it’s amazing! If you’re interested in reading along and getting with the conversation, you can join us here:
    and tell me what you think! xoxo, WearToStandOut

  • guest

    people think that im bi & a hoe I don’t even kbow howthat go to their heads and one of my friends told me that I need to get to get some respect & im only 12 & in 8 grade turning 13 on November I don’t think that imam make it till that im those type of girls that cant handle all of that I read this article and it had a point but I dontn even know anymore.

  • sam13

    hey it was my homework to write an answer for question how can we gain self-respect..actually i’m a wierdo type but i think that this was not an answer for my homework but it also gave info that how can i make my self a better person so whoever wrote this answer is a duo cus it’s a good answer…thank you.

  • jeffrey

    i love my self

  • jeffrey

    love the wold

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  • m0tiv8

    #2 Learn to handle criticism

    I think there’s a difference between criticism and feedback. Criticism is usually a check to see if I’ll accept their crap, can they rattle my cage? If I agree to accept the criticism and emotional abuse, all of their garbage becomes my garbage and now there’s a lack of respect and an abusive relationship. The interesting part is that if I will only accept the torment to the degree in which I beat myself up. When I love myself, I won’t tolerate any shit checks from other people and will stand my ground. When I tolerate abuse from others, it just means that there’s low self-esteem or insecurities. What’s funny is people can sense others with a low opinion of themselves. I know all this because this is where I came from. I spent many years in the military and this lesson took me a while to learn.

    Let’s say you have a roommate who lost their job and is struggling to make rent. An example of criticism would be, “You’re a lazy bum, get a job or your out on your ass.”, whereas feedback is stating the facts of a situation. An example of feedback would be, “Rent is due at the end of the month and you still don’t have a job, do you think I’m going to pay both your half and my half of the rent”?

  • Dezza

    This sounds too easy 😉

  • bella

    it is truly amazing how many people this article has helped well done

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  • Omar Durrani

    great article!