I was asked if I have a daily practice to develop my self-respect. Self-respect definitely needs to be developed. It is self-developed. It is not given by somebody. It also needs to be nurtured. It is not an over-night work and when it is done, you can leave it. No! You need to nurture it. If not, it will die. Like a country, you need to have a security system to make sure that enemy will not attact the country any time. If the security system is not strong, your old enemy may come back to sabotage your self-respect. Who is your enemy? the ego. Always the same enemy. Probably the only enemy for self-respect. Ego is the false identity of the self, either your superior nor inferior one. When the ego rules, he hijacts your throne. You are not sitting on a stable seat of self-respect. The ego becomes the king and you become the subject.
My daily practice to develop and nurture my self-respect is meditation and journaling. It has become my morning practice for the last few years. I never missed these two in the morning to start my day. This is my ‘me time’. I hardly have any distraction in the morning time. No one needs me. No one wants to talk with me. No one calls me. This is the best time to invest my time and energy for myself.
Meditation is to know the self better. To know the self is to know what is going on inside me. What kind of movie that keeps playing in my head? I have to pay attention to this movie because it has a direct impact on me personally. So I need to know the quality of the movie. If you think you need to edit the movie, do it. You are the movie maker of your daily life.
Journaling is like creating the script of the movie. you are writing the story of your own movie. You are your own movie director. By putting it in writing, you make the story more real to you. Each day we are preparing our own script for our own movie.
This practice has helped me to remain seated on my throne. This is the stable seat for the self, where no one and no situation can bring you down.
How to develop self-respect? If looking at other people doesn’t develop one’s self-respect then the answer to this question is to stop looking at other people. Start looking at the self. The next question is ‘is it not selfish to look at the self?’
You experience a constant oscillation between high and low, superior and inferior, arrogance and depression through comparing yourself to other people. And it is definitely not comfortable. If you want to free yourself from this oscillation, if you want to invest your time and energy for something that frees you from experiencing this insecurities, then is it selfish?
To look at the self means to be reflective. To really ask the self what has gone wrong, what really needs to be done. It is like a heart-to-heart dialogue. You need to be very honest in this. The self is naked. Nothing to hide, including the insecurities. For some people it makes them uncomfortable, some avoid doing this.
When you can see your self-worth, when you develop your self respect, the automatic consequence is that you will start seeing it in others. You will start treating other people with respect too. What you keep doing to yourself will be reflected on how you treat other people. In other words, what you show externally is a reflection of what you do to yourself internally. So to start looking at one’s self is not selfish, because at the end it will be projected on others too. Kindness will not remain kept inside. A kind heart is a loving heart. Love is energy generated in the heart, it flows.
If someone is rude or unfriendly or even violent to other people, then understand that he surely does the same to himself. He is just reflecting what is inside. He is expressing his inner reality. You can not expect something different from this person. Have mercy on him instead.
Last week I was invited to share some thoughts on how to develop self-respect. When I just received the notice, The first thing came into my mind was ‘what is the reason for not having self-respect?’ I think it is because we do not see our self-worth. Why do we not see our self-worth? This is because we see people a lot. What is wrong in seeing people? When we see people, we start comparing ourselves to them.
We start thinking ‘They are better than me. They are more fortunate. They are more successful. They are more experienced. They know better than me.’ What do we then feel when we have these thoughts? We start feeling insecure. If we sustain these thoughts by keeping these on and on and on in our head, we develop inferiority. Very often we don’t realize that we are nurturing these thoughts until we notice ourself feeling very low and small. This inferiority blinds you from seeing your self-worth.
Or you may start creating thoughts like ‘I am better. I am more fortunate. I am more successful.’ You develop superiority. For most people it doesn’t happen more frequently than the inferior one.
Comparing yourself to other people will always lead you to inferiority or superiority. You experience yourself emotionally in an oscillation between high and low. You are not comfortable to be in this oscillation. It doesn’t serve you inner stability.
Some call it ego. Ego is always false. It is just an illusion.To feel inferior or superior is an illusion. It is never permanent. Know this ego in you. Try to notice yourself when you start developing this. Be there for the sake of your inner stability. Because it is so destructive to your spirit (your self). It is very manipulative. It will never allow you to be able to see your self-worth. Your enemy for attaining your self-worth is not out there. It is right here, inside your head. Very subtle. Become the true warrior and conquer this enemy.