I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. - Psalm 139:14
Self-respect means I quietly bow out of relationships where I’m used and abused. Self-respect means I keep it moving rather than ‘tit for tat’ with juveniles, simply because I’m on a different level. Lions don’t squabble with squirrels. Self-respect means I sometimes come across as arrogant, but typically, to petty-minded players annoyed that I won’t roll around in the mud. Other lions take no umbrage with how I stroll, and usually join the ‘pride’.
Self-respect is the key to self-esteem. Clucas (2019) conducted research that indicated principled behavior, a derivative of self-respect, is what undergirds a person’s feeling of satisfaction with oneself. Principled behavior means I act according to my moral convictions rather than my fleshly compulsions. Moral convictions preserve a person’s soul whereas fleshly compulsions erode it. (Side-note: my moral convictions come from the scriptures. Left to myself, my ethics are horrendous).
The key to self-respect is not knowing who you are, but whose you are. The psalmist doesn’t feel ‘wonderful’ about himself because of what he sees staring back in the mirror. The Pslamist feels good because he’s been ‘made’ by the Maker. The psalmist’ words remind me of the stitched plaque draped on my bedroom wall that I read every night before I fell asleep as a kid, “I know I’m somebody because God don’t make no junk”