“Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows
with the ability to say no to oneself.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel

Self-Esteem issues have been on the rise for years and it is manifesting with children at such a young age. Whilst researching self-esteem I came across some interesting and disturbing statistics that I would like to share before I get into the solutions and how to transform your self-esteem.

  • The average 2-year-old child hears 432 negative statements per day, but only 32 positive statements each day, according to a research study at the University of Iowa.
  • 80% of children who are 10 years old are afraid of being fat. (Source)
  • Obese boys and girls have significantly lower self-esteem than their non-obese peers. (Source)
  • Up to 12% of teen boys are using unproven supplements and/or steroids. (Source)
  • Nearly a quarter of girls age 15-17 would consider undergoing plastic surgery. (Source)
  • 13 percent of girls age 15-17 acknowledge having an eating disorder. (Source)
  • 7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance in school and relationships. (Source)
  • 80% of 10-year-old girls have dieted. 90% of high school junior and senior women diet regularly. Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer, or losing their parents. (Source)
  • The top wish among all girls is for their parents to communicate better with them, which includes, more frequent and more open conversations, as well as discussions about what is happening in their own lives. (Source)

This is a research conducted by Dove and it reveals the universal increase in beauty pressure:

  • Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004) 
• Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves 
• 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful 
• 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty 
• More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic.

We all have our own definition of what respect is and what it looks like. Some people believe it is about knowing your worth and some say it is about improving your esteem and honor. Respect is the key to any relationship and that holds truth in the most important relationship with yourself.

Difference between self-respect and self –esteem

Often people confuse between self respect and self esteem, thanks to the pop psychology that fails to highlight the marked difference between the two – how you think! Self esteem is a concept based on thinking whereas self respect is based on actions.

Self esteem is all about evaluating something, holding it in high regard. The problem with evaluation is that in our assessment, we sometimes lose and sometimes win. However, respect is all about acceptance. Self respect stems from who we are and not what we do. It is about standing tall and feeling pride in the person that we are. If you respect yourself, you will love who you are minus all the judgments.

A research conducted by Judith White and Johnny Walsch from Harvard University, they revealed that there are several advantages of respecting yourself. People that are caught up in the paradigm of high self esteem are often bested by the ones who respect themselves because they are less prone to blame, regret, lies, secrets and stress.

The problems that we face today with regards to self esteem are that there is far too much importance attached to how others interpret the way we look or act. Our lives should be dictated by what we want to do and not what someone else thinks is right or appropriate for us. This question of cultural self esteem and its impositions can be best answered by respecting yourself now more than ever. If you are able to respect who you are, you will be able to make a better version of yourself and that too by your free will. There will be no need to feel pressurized by social standards because all the changes that the society deems fit comes to you naturally. For instance, for someone who would respect their bodies will automatically do things to keep it healthy. You no longer need validation of others to do what you think is right because with self respect, you are able to eliminate the need for approval that can impact your life in so many ways.  



If you are on your way to learning and earning respect from yourself then these steps may be helpful.

  • Know yourself: The more you understand and accept yourself, the more you would know how unique you are in your own ways. This process of self discovery can be very exciting as you learn new things about who you are. Connecting with you emotionally and spiritually can be a great way to start.
  • Accept who you are: it takes a lot of effort to accept who we are. It does not mean that you justify hubris by calling yourself perfect. It is all about being content with who we are and accept our imperfections, especially the ones that can’t be changed.
  • Build self confidence: There is nothing more infectious than people who have the confidence to be the people they want to be. It is driven by deep respect for who we are. Start by maintaining positive body language and good posture. Smile more often and if you are complimented for something, accept it with a genuine smile.
  • Always keep a positive attitude: Your success in life is all about the attitude you keep. Even if the things are not going the way you would want them to, it is your confidence that keeps you afloat. Always see the brighter side of the coin and you will eventually get what you set out for.
  • Don’t be a part of rat race: Don’t beat yourself up because your friends have something you don’t. It is no reason to feel inadequate. Set your standards and work towards achieving the goals that you want to achieve.
  • Stand by the choices you make: You need to have firm belief in all the decisions that you make. It is one thing to ask for advice and another to follow your own gut. A mix of two can be a very good combination if you have faith in your choices.
  • Handle criticism with grace: learn to tell the difference between constructive feedback and an envious banter. While former will definitely help you in self improvement, the latter should be disregarded without a shred of doubt.                

Apart from making these built in changes, you need to start treating yourself with more respect. Don’t let people push you around. Be honest with yourself and draw your own limits. Unless you define these lines, people will not know where to stop. Most importantly, take care of your mind, body & Soul. Read and learn to build you brain, Exercise your body it releases healthy hormones that make’s you feel radiant and confident from within, and meditate or pray to build your spirituality.


May this information have you take action on what is required for you to have the self-respect you deserve.

Much Love

Michael Sorgiovanni

Transformational Coach