Self-Respect and Self-Esteem
Self-respect is a sense or awareness of YOUR OWN dignity and integrity. You show your worth to yourself and to others (dignity), and you adhere to moral and ethical principles (integrity). You know you have value within you... You appreciate that value, even on a bad day.
Self-esteem is your emotional evaluation of YOUR OWN WORTH. You have confidence in who you are. You can find success in the things you do. Even when you compare yourself to others, you can see your own unique value as an individual. And you can make your own choices and learn from your mistakes.
Why Self-Respect & Self-Esteem are Important
Self-respect and self-esteem go hand-in-hand. It is hard to respect yourself if you have a low self-esteem. If you find yourself worthless in any way: unsuccessful, incapable of making decisions, not as good as other people, etc... you cannot possibly respect yourself.
Each of us has our set of goals, values and ideas of what is and isn't considered successful. We also all have our own ideas of what we find worthwhile in other people. It is these ever-changing and evolving beliefs and ideas that help to define who we are and how we think and feel about ourselves. In turn, our respect and esteem for ourselves will help to determine how other people approach us and interact with us.
But please don't be mistaken... People with a low self-esteem or a low self-respect also have these beliefs and ideas, but along the way something happened and they may have turned down a path (or had an outside force act upon them in a negative way) that changed them.
In my family, I was raised to have goals such as going to and finishing college, buying a house, buying a car, spending time with friends, keeping in touch with family, and donating time and money to different charities. These goals that were always presented as important to me and became factors in what I believe success is. As I sit here now, some of my values have changed, but in the end, I have the level of self-respect and self-esteem I have now because I have great friends and family who I keep in touch with, do participate in many local charities, have finished college, and I own my home and car.
BUT, with a baby on the way, I cannot continue to be as active in my charities as I have been. That has taken a toll on my self-respect and self-esteem. I have always identified my self-worth and level of success by how much time, effort and money I can give to others who need help. So having to reduce that because having a child will take up more time than I can spare has made me a little depressed and feel as though I am not "good enough" anymore. However, I know this is not true. Sure, my time helping people I don't know will decrease, but my time helping my own family will increase. Having the level of self-respect that I have helps me to see that. In turn, being able to see the positive helps me to recover from the dip in self-esteem I took after realizing I had to stop spending so much time working with charitable organizations.
So you see, self-respect and self-esteem are nearly joined together. They affect each other. They affect you! And as they affect you, others around you will be affected too, maybe even inspired.
"I can think of several examples where friends have been too kind to a fault. It's great to respect people and treat everyone nicely, but if the same people disrespect you repeatedly to the point where it hurts, then your focus must shift to yourself. Sometimes, people can't appreciate the value of things like kindness and respect if it's always given especially when it is not returned. Self respect is even harder to master than respect for others for some people."
Increasing your Self-Respect & Self-Esteem
It is possible to increase your feelings of self-worth. To do this, you really must be self aware... basically, you must understand what you believe gives people value and worth, what you feel success is, and understand what you want out of life. These may not seem like very difficult things to do, but they really are. If they were really so simple, everyone would have a great deal of self-respect and a high self-esteem... but everyone does not.
Discover what makes you feel bad or unworthy so you can avoid self-defeating thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts like I did when I realized that I was simply moving from helping people I don't know to helping my own family more.
Don't overreact. It isn't as easy as it sounds, but it is very important. If you know that you have taken something too personally in the past when it never needed to have affected you, take a step back, breath, and try to move on (or, if you must react, give yourself a few hours before you take action to gather your thoughts which will help from overreacting).
FEEL and THINK about things. You will overthink some things. You will get really emotional about strange things. You may find you need to work on being assertive, or perhaps you are just too assertive already. Take notice of your thoughts and how they impact you and your feelings. Look at your actions and how others around you react to your decisions. Then make changes that help YOU to feel better and help others to better relate to you.
Accept that you will fail. Then get back up and do it all over again. Because the only real failures in this world are the ones who just give up and never try again.
Self-Respect & Self-Esteem on deviantART
For many of us, our identity on deviantART is tied directly to our art. When other deviants harshly criticize our work, our comments (or other related language skills), etc, we often feel devalued... a little worthless even.
It is important to remember that art is SUBJECTIVE. You don't like all art. An neither does everyone else. It is in times like these that you must look deep inside yourself and remember that your worth and value come from more than the art and words you put on deviantART. Just because a few random deviants don't find your hard work worthwhile (or may even be outright disrespectful to you), it doesn't mean your hard work is actually worthless (or that you are).
The opinions of other people, while they may sometimes hurt, do not define us. The opinions of what other people think is good art versus bad art doesn't change how YOU FEEL about your own art. You should do your art because you love it. And you should always take pride in your own work.
On deviantART, you can block or ignore the negative people. You can even hide their comments. Use those tools. Don't be afraid to protect yourself. Your worth and value are far more important than the opinions of a few random people.
Most ImportantlyYou don't always have to smile.
You can cry whenever you need to.
You don't have to laugh at yourself.
You can always walk away when you feel uncomfortable.
You don't have to tolerate haters, bullies, trolls, etc.
You can bounce back from any mistake, no matter how bad it seems.
You don't have to justify your choices to anyone.
Remember that you are human.
Remember that you are not perfect.
Remember that a mistake is never THE END.
But you should always try to see yourself as a unique, valuable and worthwhile individual.