Self-respect: The Dynamics Between the Villain and the Victim

If you express extreme self-respect, you may be perceived as selfish, self-invested, or narcissistic – maybe even a villain.  Your reality may be that internally, you are thinking the most self-disrespectful things imaginable; and so externally you must inflate examples of strength to counter the internal, negative, self-thinking.  If a person challenges your inflation of self-respect, you might fight back fiercely out of survival (or so you believe), as there is this underlying assumption that without the inflated self-respect, there’s nothing, and therefore, no self-respect.  In the act of fierce self-defense, you may be seen by others as a villain – demanding that everyone recognize the one good thing you are inflating; while simultaneously unable to see your own true value.

On the other extreme, is the act of giving up all your own respect to everyone else except yourself.  When you give up your respect to everyone else, you are perceived as a victim who thinks little of yourself, sometimes perceived as borderline.  The reality may be that you find it easier to sacrifice yourself than another person, wishing to never do harm to another person.  Unfortunately, it puts you in a place where you either need to be rescued, or people perceive you as needing to be rescued.  If you need to be rescued (or people believe that, even if you don’t), then every person that connects with you may feel the need to fight for you, run away, or watch from a safe distance.  Sometimes, you even find other victims who want to be a victim with you; compounding a belief that you can never have self-respect without appearing selfish.

Sometimes these beliefs bind us and make us forget that we do not have to live in these extremes.  The truth is, there is something to be respected in all of us, no matter how creative or destructive we can be.  We can have reasonable self-respect, without appearing self-involved.  We can also give respect to others, so that they can see it in themselves.  There is not a limit on respect, and it does not have to be all or nothing.  You can respect someone and not like aspects about them or their behavior at the same time.  You can respect yourself and still see areas of improvement. That does not mean there is a perfect end.  There is always something better and there is always something worse.  For now, these are the only two hyperbolic statements that I believe in.  When you believe in them, you have to ask the question – relative to who?