Respect of Self

Posted on: July 12th, 2011 by latentresources No Comments

Respect. What does that mean? The word is derived from two: re, meaning, “Again”; and spect, which means, “Look” or “See”. Literally, it is to look at again. The idea behind this word is to “treat with deferential regard or esteem”. When you respect someone, you are looking at him or her differently than you would someone of lesser respectability. On the lesser, you look only once; on the greater, you look again.

Let’s view it from the receiving end. What is it to be respected? Respect, is generally thought of as something earned, and to a certain degree, I would concur. Normally it implies being someone noteworthy, or having accomplished something of difficulty. To be respected, one must do or be something of regard. We all have various ideas about what things are deserving of respect, but it is safe to say that value of one kind or another is the core. We respect those things on which we place value.

What needs to be examined is value. Why should anyone pay any respect to anyone anyway? The most fundamental reason is that we are human, and therefore, made in God’s image; we have His stamp on us; He made us. That is our deepest claim to value. That is why, in our culture, we don’t regard the life of animals in the same way we do human life. We are different because of our intrinsic value as image bearers of our Creator. In the sense that we dimly reflect God, we are all birthed on equal planes and all have the same value. No human can be worth any less than the value placed on him by his Creator.

Respect for ones self is of absolute importance before one can respect others. You must understand your own value before God before you can understand the value of others. I think this needs to be considered well, simply because there is a growing population who have been brought up to hate themselves and, therefore, everyone else. I’ll not go into the psychology behind this, but essentially, the love and value , or the lack if it, you are shown as a child by your parents is, to a large degree, the love and value you are going to show to others.

But what does it look like to respect ones self? To say that self-respect is to know your own value is pretty vague. However, once you do understand your personal value, you will understand that taking care of yourself is of great importance. This could look like hygiene, cleanliness, and your appearance; it might show itself in the way you regard your work and in rewarding yourself for it. I would say further that it also looks like disciplining yourself, and restricting yourself from things that are not best. Maybe even deeper self-respect is seen as the ability and willingness to forgive yourself for things you have done to cause you harm or loss.

This brings us back to the reality of our value being the very image of God, and what He has done to forgive us. He sees our value as people, because we carry His image, and that means that He wants us clean, healthy, disciplined, rewarded, and ultimately, forgiven. Once we consider ourselves valuable and begin putting it into practice by valuing others and ourselves, people will notice and will, in turn reciprocate value on us. This begins a cycle, which flows into every aspect of our lives, and which creates an environment for accomplishment and success.

Only when this reality has taken root, can it be truly expanded outside yourself and directed to those around you. This is the very foundation of living a fulfilling life.

You are of worth to your creator because you resemble Him. That worth cannot be increased or decreased. Because you are human, you have abilities and the ability to increase them. Your value to others is measured by your contribution through your abilities.


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