Partly inspired by a difficult and interesting question recently asked by brakusjs, I ask the question
From what do you derive your self-respect?
With all of these, I don't claim to be especially proficient, or even more proficient than many of my Friends list, let alone being close to being perfect. The (often small) degree of proficiency I have in each case does give me some self-respect, though.
In no particular order:
I choose to believe I am interesting in a certain way, which may be interesting to some people, and I tend to like other people who are interesting in the same way. The fact that this adjective that I prefer may reasonably be regarded as "geeky" suits me fine. I am pleased to have pursued my interests quite far, to have reached some ground that few other people reach and some ground that nobody before me had ever reached. I am proud to think that I am prepared to do something because it looks interesting and see what comes of it, and sometimes throwing myself into things in this way has demonstrated very interesting results.
I choose to believe that I am, to several (frequently small) degrees, virtuous in several ways. Specifically, I choose to believe that I am, to some extent, kind and generous. I choose to believe that not bragging about how this is the case is also a virtuous thing to do. I derive self-respect from being responsible with my waste and recycling when I can. I am helpful and good at sharing. Sometimes I put other people's interests ahead of my own; occasionally, I do so selflessly. I am getting better at housekeeping.
I derive self-respect from (occasionally in all cases) being a quick learner, having a depth of knowledge and understanding in my field, being humorous and having good ideas. I am sometimes a clear communicator, particularly to those who know nothing about a field that interests me.
I derive self-respect from the fact that I have friends (including Friends!) who care about me. I derive self-respect from the fact that my friends are accomplished and reputable of character, and that I make generally wise decisions about whether I want someone to be, or remain, my friend - yet I remain loyal to my friends. Although I care deeply about my friends, I do not put so much self-respect into the fact that they like me that I would be crushed if that were no longer the case. (Though I would probably have had to do something very bad for that to happen, which would have its own problems.)
I derive self-respect every time I do not judge on appearances, or when I try to confront and eliminate any in-built prejudices I have.
I derive self-respect from the fact that I think about the big questions, even when I cannot find the answers.
I derive self-respect from the fact that there are many things I have thought about and decided not to derive self-respect from. For instance, I do not derive self-respect from the fact that my job pays well, because I believe income, wealth and financial success in life are largely capricious rather than meritorious. If my job were to pay less well then I would not think less of myself, though there certainly would be other problems that that would cause.
This is mostly a rhetorical question - one that you need to answer for yourself, though of course I would be interested to hear your answers. I do apologise to those who are struggling with their self-respect at the moment, possibly for inspiring them to think about matters they might not prefer to think about; on the other hand, if thinking about what gives you self-respect reminds you of how much you have, then so much the better. I don't want to make the counterpart post about self-loathing at the moment.
I don't apologise for saying that I believe that nobody has the right to tell you what you should or shouldn't derive self-respect from; this is a choice you get to make for yourself. (A corollary of this is that it would be wrong for me to tell you that the ways I derive my self-respect are the ways you should derive yours.) All informed choices about sources of self-respect, so long as your expression of self-respect does not act to the detriment of others, are valid. Consequently, this comment that (paraphrasing, but not unreasonably) people should derive self-respect by dressing up really stuck in my craw. It would be wrong to say that people shouldn't derive self-respect by dressing up, and if you already do derive self-respect by dressing up then good for you. However, insisting that your method of deriving self-respect is one that others should adopt, or that people are wrong not to adopt your method, strikes me as very arrogant.