Sat | Dec 2, 2023

Self-respect versus ego

Published:Sunday | September 24, 2023 | 12:07 AM

In the realm of human behaviour, self-respect and ego are often confused; yet, they represent two vastly different approaches. Understanding them is crucial for personal growth and healthy relationships. In our minds, we carry an image of who we are, and we expect to be treated accordingly. When others fail to treat us in the way we believe we deserve, it can shake us to our core. Deep down, we yearn for appreciation of our strengths and acceptance of our weaknesses. This yearning for approval and understanding signals a lack of self-worth.

If we are asked to provide a sketch of our own character, we would list our qualities, accomplishments, and moments of pride; simultaneously, we might acknowledge our shortcomings and struggles which ultimately create either superior or inferior feeling.


With ego, we take pride in our strengths, but feel weak when confronted with our faults. We might either defend ourselves vigorously or become obstinate, proclaiming, “This is who I am.” Ego is a fragile construct built upon a need for validation, superiority, and self-importance. It often arises from insecurity and a desire to protect one’s self-image. Ego always compares with others to feel either superior or inferior.


Self-respect is knowing ourselves beyond the surface, beyond the roles we play. It means recognising that we are constantly evolving as we journey through life. Our understanding of what is right and wrong is ever-changing, and when we learn from our experiences, we grow.

Self-respect is unwavering. It is not dependent on our current feelings or others’ opinions, as feelings can be fickle. Self-respect is a deep and enduring appreciation and acceptance of oneself, regardless of any external factors. When we possess self-respect, we view others in the same light. We respect each person as a creator of their own destiny and understand them for their imperfections and differences. This gives the strength to respect others genuinely.

To bolster your self-respect, follow some simple steps:

· Delve into your identity and inherent values.

· Develop a habit of having positive inner dialogue.

· Adopt an attitude of continual learning.

· Cultivate self-awareness to recognise ego-driven actions and decisions.

· Accept imperfections as opportunities for growth.

· Develop empathy for others and appreciate their qualities. This reduces the need for comparison that often fuels ego.

· Strive for authenticity and honesty in your being.

Self-respect is not how others perceive us. It’s an unshakable understanding of our own worth, an acknowledgement of our constant growth, and a profound respect for ourselves and others. It’s a journey towards becoming both the learner and the master of our own lives.

Courtesy: Rajyoga Meditation Center, Kingston (meditation courses and counselling are offered free of charge). Email: Or follow on Instagram: rajyoga_meditation_jamaica