I thank Her Highness Dawn Solomon. I worked for days to make #1713 clear and unambiguous and knew that it wouldn’t be enough. Her questions trigger this follow-on. As she describes my post, self-respect is “nebulous and broad” in action. So, I describe it more precisely and in combination with other factors that strongly influence or manage human behavior.
- Self-esteem is how well we like ourselves, not as male or female, but just as a person. It’s a foundation planted in infancy, unchangeable in life, but convincingly felt higher by faith in Christ. Think of it as a four-part spectrum—self-love, self-like, self-dislike, and self-hatred—generated naturally during infant brain ‘wiring’ but made better or worse by the childcare manner used and personal worth implanted by infant caregivers. (For example, poor or rough treatment lowers self-esteem but gentle loving and touching tends to raise it.)
- Self-image is the picture we have of ourselves and how we function in life and fit ourselves among other people. The picture changes constantly as we shape our lives, live up to our expectations, and respond to societal pressures. We continually measure our satisfaction as man or woman by how and what we perceive as our successes and failures. Self-image is the governor of our life; it oversees most every decision we make consciously. When we drift out of our picture of ourselves or act contrary to it, our conscience is triggered and we compensate with action, guilt, or alibi. (For example, we explode at some friend and apologize, sulk away guiltily, or explain with an excuse for getting out of line.)
- Self-interest motivates us to seek what we want and avoid what we don’t want. By weighing events and conditions against what’s good or bad for us, women decide how to sustain or improve their sense of self-importance and men their sense of self-admiration. (For example, girls figure they’re good enough for any man, and they don’t have to learn to cook. Boys figure they’re already good enough for any woman, and so they don’t have to learn to please them except for access to sex.)
- Self-respect is how well we like our self-image that changes continually as we operate in and fill our many roles in life. Here are just a few of the hundreds of roles: man, woman, husband, wife, aviator, auto driver, grease monkey, cook, father, mother, architect, athlete, associate, friend, grandfather, engineer, grandmother, business man, child of God, follower of Christ, elected representative, frugal spender, American, foreigner, democrat, leader, diplomat, provider/protector, problem solver, voter, republican, and the multitude of other roles we fill as we both govern our lives and interact with others. (Note this difference: Self-esteem reflects our value as a person, self-image as man or woman.)
- Self-confidence is a major sustainer and builder of self-respect. Elevate and act out higher self-confidence and higher self-respect follows. Fake it ‘til you make it works. (Hint, hint! Wife’s buildup of husband’s self-confidence indirectly but favorably improves husband’s self-respect or helps prevent its decline.)
Mix, juggle, and add emotional friction amid all those factors in the subconscious mind, aka the heart. Outwardly, people see the reality summarized in our attitude dealing with them and others.
Her Highness Dawn also asked how self-respect plays a part in marital compatibility. If a man likes himself as husband, provider/protector, and pleaser of his woman, his self-respect shines in marriage. The same applies to his other roles in life. If his self-respect shines, so does his sense of responsibility, integrity, and good heartedness in those roles. If it doesn’t shine, he looks to fix it but neither the process nor result may be likeable for his wife.