This week, I discuss the pillars of self-respect: what they are, why they are essential, and how to keep yours strong.

Table of Contents

  • The Four Pillars of Self-Respect
    • 1) Physical Fitness
    • 2) Communal Respect
    • 3) Skill growth
    • 4) Self-control
  • Strengthen Your Pillars; Earn Your Self-Respect
  • Actionables

The Four Pillars of Self-Respect

shield defense | statue holding sword and shield

The man who respects himself is harder to abuse.

Self-respect is “pride and confidence in oneself; a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity.”

When you value yourself, you will not tolerate abuse or waste your resources. You will demand virtuous behavior from yourself and proper behavior from others.

Additionally, you believe in your capacity for self-improvement and achievement. A person who respects themselves will not allow their dreams to die.

Therefore, an individual must build dignity. The way to do that is to respect the following pillars:

1) Physical Fitness

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.” – Michel de Montaigne

Physical fitness is the healthiness of your body and influences the effectiveness of your mind and soul. When I discuss fitness, I look at sleep, how often you exercise, and how well you eat.

Your mind is housed in a physical shell. If you do not care for your body, you will experience a loss of self-esteem and clouded thinking. If you don’t sleep, then you become sluggish in your thoughts. If you don’t exercise, then your body becomes doughy and sedentary. If you eat poorly, you give your body the worst fuel to power itself.

But above all else, it is difficult to respect a man who cannot be bothered to train his body or control his eating.

My suggestion is to start eating better. We all know what the best foods for us are. However, there are meal planners that can help. Home workouts can quickly help replace the gym by providing training for a few minutes a day. Lastly, you will sleep easier once you eat better food and exercise daily.

2) Communal Respect

Humans are community-orientated creatures. Thus, we gain much self-respect from being respected by members of a virtuous tribe. When we know other honorable individuals approve of our actions, we are confident we are doing and pursuing what is right and just.

For example, I know being a good father, getting in better shape, and mastering skills are all good things. Why? Because other individuals who pursue these paths are virtuous, disciplined, and productive. People who do not follow my path are usually vice-ridden, short-sighted, and weak.

To build communal respect, we have to dabble in a bit of a catch-22. You cultivate self-respect by building communal respect, but you need self-respect to find a community. Therefore, one must start with virtue. The more virtuous you are, the more you can signal to other honorable individuals your intentions. Gaining allies this way is the best way to ensure you can grow your community.

Find community in places where hard work and excellent moral character are valued, such as the gym or the Church. Avoid individuals who are collectivist in thought. Additionally, avoid places like clubs where individuals have a “good time” and forget about the greatness they could achieve.

3) Skill growth

skill growth | doggie at computer

Learning new skills will give you competence. Competence means you can help others and solve issues.

Skill growth is the process of mastering skills and learning as much as you can. Skill growth signifies your path from beginner to master and the impressive feats required to accomplish this.

You can sort skills into two broad camps: monetary and hobby-focused. The truly blessed have skills in both. Monetary skills are the ones that bring you money. Hobby skills are those you pursue for enjoyment. Personally, coding is a financial skill, and drawing is a hobby skill.

The more skills you know and can master, the more competent you are. As a programmer, I can resolve many software and websites issues. This competence improves my self-respect because I know I can resolve difficulties and provide value to others.

The best way to build your skills is to practice. Constant, uninterrupted practice is the bedrock of skill growth. From there, find ways to use your skills. You improve your monetary skills within a job environment. Hobby skills will need more creative challenges. I always find someone better than me and focus on reaching their skill level.

4) Self-control

“If you want to be respected by others, the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Self-control is the individual’s ability to regulate their behavior and emotions and suppress their whims. Self-control gives an individual power over himself. Without self-control, he is a victim to whatever the moment demands. If the moment is stressful, he will respond poorly. If he is tempted with gluttony or lust, he will give in to the temptation, and so on.

The best way to build self-control is through removal and defense. Firstly, you must part from emotionally challenging things and distractions. Getting yourself away from social media, cynical works, and weak individuals will give you reserves of emotional energy and mental strength. If you are not wasting your energy chasing emotional highs, you’ll have more power.

Secondly, you must be defensive. You have to develop the fortitude to say “no” to the whims that may cross your mind. This process is difficult but not impossible, especially after you’ve learned to remove the negative aspects from your life.

Remember, we respect those who can control their whims because we know such people will be valuable during moments of distress. When terrible things happen, we turn to those who can focus on resolving the issue clearly and concisely. Why not become that person?

Strengthen Your Pillars; Earn Your Self-Respect

comfort | old man relaxing

Don’t listen to the collectivists. You will not get self-respect from vice or from begging. You earn respect by controlling yourself and abandoning your comforts.

The mob, ruling classes, and elites do not benefit from you having self-respect. You are more valuable to all of them broken, scared, and abused. Therefore, your entertainment, advertisements, government, and peers will not give you the tools you need to strengthen your self-respect.

Choose a different path. Is having self-respect challenging to cultivate? Yes. However, it will be impossible to part with this valuable thing when you have it. You will stand straighter, earn more money, have better friends, find love, and experience a lasting joy that cannot be easily given. Your life will change for the better.

So, let us get to work.


  1. Of the four pillars, which is the hardest for you to strengthen? How does that make you feel? What do you believe you could achieve if you strengthen that pillar?
  2. What is the easiest pillar for you to strengthen? Why? How do you feel about that? What benefits have come from you being able to strengthen that pillar?
  3. What would you like to accomplish in a year? Why? What is preventing you from accomplishing that goal?

Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.

*Image credit to Unsplash.