Friend we must be aware that since childhood we are taught various things like to be good, to love others, respect others and many other things many which at times seems to be tangential in the pragmatic life. The one thing that we are barely edified to us is to Respect our self. All other lessons of life would be incoherent until we learn to respect ourselves.
Normally we neglect ourselves both physically, mentally and mostly spiritually. We take ourselves for granted and set priorities to our job, education, family, children and ourselves comes to last. The stupendous error that we do to ourself is this- not respecting ourselves. During a discussion somebody asked me about what do I refer to when I say as respecting one’s self. It is simple as respecting you what you are. Respecting your conscience, your values, your dreams and your thinking process.
We have seen ourselves intertwined in to various things and seem to work and live our life for the sake of family, children and fulfilling targets of office etc but everytime we forget that until we are able to fulfill our targets and until we satistfy our self our soul we may not be able to care for others.
Now, what we are – our body, this is nothing but a framework of flesh and blood. We are more than this, we are the Soul or the Atman which is immortal and according to the Katha and Chandogya Upanishads “The light of the Atman, the spirit is invisible, concealed in all beings. It is seen by the seers of the subtle, when their vision is keen an clear … The Atman is beyond sound and form, without touch and taste and perfume. It is eternal, unchangeable, and without beginning or end: indeed above reasoning. An invisible and subtle essence is the Spirit of the whole universe. That is Reality. That is Truth. THOU ART THAT.”
So disrespecting our self, our values, our dreams we are disrespecting the very Soul or Atman. Do we have any right to disrespect our Atman, we are not only answerable to the society and the family but are also answerable to ourselves, to our soul, which is again an immortal entity, an energy which can only be transferred but cannot end. How can we make other happy or respect them if our soul is restive? The Atman is what it defines us and makes us unto ourselves.
One might say that these are spiritual aspects and hardly have relevance on today’s milieu. I would like to share with you the perception of Immanuel Kant, an 18th century philosopher, on this subject. Kant’s account on self respect states that if a person fails to respect their moral worth or deliberately underestimates their worth fails to be a rational person. Now, how could an irrational person can ever takes a rational decision involving themselves, their family, society and their country? This does not need any empirical example or scientific deduction to prove that irrational person can never take a judicious decision in life. Going by Kant’s theory to be a real self a person should have the audacity to respect himself- Yes I would say it boldly the audacity, as this is the one thing which is least taken care of by us.
Respecting one’s self is the most neglected aspect and the same has always been debatable. One thing that we need to know about this particular facet regarding the Self respect is that it has been an integral part of philosophical discussion since Aristotle and continues to be a central issue in contemporary moral philosophy. There is a huge difference between the moral philosophical study on self respect and psychological concept of self esteem. The self respects on one side promote autonomy, such as independence, self-control and tenacity. Self-respect elicits behaviors that one should be treated with respect and requires the development and pursuit of personal standards and life plans that are guided by respect for self and others where as the self esteem is a self-evaluation of competency ratios and opinions of significant others that results in either a positive or negative evaluation of one’s worthiness and inclusionary status. The paramount difference between the two is that for self respect the autonomy is the central character where as in self esteem it is the opinion of others that matters. The other’s opinion is not on your hand but your autonomy is yours and that comes from your self-respect.
Remember One mantra “You are what you think about you and your thought comes from your opinion about you and that arises how much respect you have for you. This is what makes you rational and a person of true sense, otherwise you are just a mass of flesh and blood”
Finally, it’s a time to end today with the following slokas for you to recite and help you regain your self-respect:
अभिमानो धनंयेषां चिरजीवन्ति ते जनाः ।
अभिमानविहीनानां किं धनेन किमायुषा ॥
(Those with lot of self respect and wealth naturally live longer. But without self-respect, what is the use of wealth or longevity?)