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Self-esteem (or self-respect) is a term used in psychology to reflect person's overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self.

See also Self-love


  • Perform anonymous service. Whenever we do good for others anonymously, our sense of intrinsic worth and self-respect increases. … Selfless service has always been one of the most powerful methods of influence.
  • Nothing is better for self-esteem than survival.
  • Self-respect cannot be hunted. It cannot be purchased. It is never for sale. It cannot be fabricated out of public relations. It comes to us when we are alone, in quiet moments, in quiet places, when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good, we have done it; knowing the beautiful, we have served it; knowing the truth, we have spoken it.
  • Do not confuse "duty" with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.
  • Above all things, one should maintain his self-respect, and there is but one way to do that, and that is to live in accordance with your highest ideal.
  • Self-respect permeates every aspect of your existence. If you don't have respect for yourself, you're not gonna get it from anyone else.
    • Lean on Me, spoken by Joe Clark, written by Michael Schiffer (1989)
  • Self-respect — The secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious.
  • People need self-respect, but self-respect must be earned -- it cannot be self-respect if it's not earned -- and the only way to earn anything is to achieve it in the face of the possibility of failing.
  • Never violate the sacredness of your individual self-respect. Be true to your own mind and conscience, your heart and your soul. So only can you be true to God.
    • Theodore Parker, Two Sermons, Sermon II: Of the Position and Duty of a Minister (1853).
  • Honor is self-esteem made visible in action.
    • Ayn Rand, The Ayn Rand Letter (1971–1976)
  • We must beware of any attempt to make hatred in any form the basis of action. Most emphatically each of us needs to stand up for his own rights; all men and all groups of men are bound to retain their self-respect, and demanding this same respect from others, to see that they are not injured and that they have secured to them the fullest liberty of thought and action. But to feed fat a grudge against others, while it may or may not harm them, is sure in the long run to do infinitely greater than harm to the man himself.
  • The wise treat self-respect as non-negotiable, and will not trade it for health or wealth or anything else.
  • My first girlfriend cheated on me when I was 15 years old, and I processed in my mind that she cheated on me because I was not good enough. And I remember my walk home after I found out, and I remember just vowing to myself that I would never not be good enough again.
  • My dear Watson," said [Sherlock Holmes], "I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one's self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one's own powers.”


  • Self-respect is the cornerstone of all virtue.
    • John Herschel, As quoted in A Toolbox for Humanity : More Than 9000 Years of Thought (2004) by Lloyd Albert Johnson, p. 147
  • It is my ambition and desire to so administer the affairs of the government while I remain President that if at the end I have lost every other friend on earth I shall at least have one friend remaining and that one shall be down inside me.
    • Attributed to Abraham Lincoln by Enos Clarke, one of the seventy-member delegation of Radicals from Missouri, who met with Lincoln, September 30, 1863. This attribution was made by Clarke in an interview with Walter B. Stevens, who later published it in his Lincoln and Missouri, p. 100 (1916). All contemporary accounts indicate there were no reporters at this meeting. Lincoln's secretary, John Hay, took notes, but this statement is not in his notebooks. For that day's notes, see John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Abraham Lincoln, A History, vol. 8, p. 215–20 (1890).
  • Those who have high self-esteem tend to do better than those with low-esteem
    • By J.Crow quoted in “Bamboolizing Black America: Classified” p. 54
  • I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes-it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'Well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, 'I'm sorry,' and then you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry.' If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that's rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don't have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”

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