November 14th, 2006
|06:39 pm - Self-respect|
So many other things to post about, but I have decided to operate on the principle that if you want to post about something but feel it's OK to put it off, then it's probably OK to put it off indefinitely.
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.
Current Mood: thoughtful
The old "the Greeks had three or four different words for love" thing, right?
There are some pathological cases about the way some people derive their self-respect that definitely act to the detriment of others - essentially, anything that people feel strongly enough to go to war over. That's definitely a special case, but one I don't know how to deal with, either. (It may not be accurate to say that people go to war because their differences of opinion on some matter are sufficiently large; perhaps it takes a difference of opinion and some other war-like nature, or quality, as well. Not sure.)