Self respect is the confidence in your own self that can take you a long way in your life. But sometimes, getting that strength from inside can be a tough problem.
You are what you believe and that is what we have been taught in our lives. To a large extent, this is true, for there is a very deep connection between what we think and what we feel. There remains a strong connection between our heart and head, no matter how strongly we try to deny it sometimes. Whatever is thought by our head is either supported by our brain or negated by it. In any of the cases, there remains a strong connection between the two. Self respect, being a feeling or state of mind that comes from a healthy balance of both brain and heart, requires you to believe that whatever the situation might be, it is you and your presence that matters too.
Having a strong sense of self respect is not being selfish. There are times when you feel that you have been completely selfless about something, but in the end, you were treated badly and told dismissively that you do not have any self respect. You did it all with good intention, but there was some mistake in evaluating your self-worth.
Being aware of your weaknesses and strengths is the stepping stone to achieve a strong sense of self confidence. None of us are perfect, and even though you might be thinking right now that you know a hundred people whose lives seem perfect to you, trust me their lives are not perfect as well. If the beautiful girl has it easy at college or work, she might be having jealousy issues with her boyfriend. If the rich guy you know from somewhere seems to be able to buy anything with the credit cards and eat anywhere, he might not be as intelligent as he would have wished to be. Anything that looks bright from the outside need not be as good from the inside as well.
When you begin to give yourself the importance you deserve, that is having self respect. And whats more interesting is that, we all have a good amount of self respect in all of us. We either make ourselves too available to others, or forget that everybody has a line in their lives that says privacy. In the first case, people begin to take us for granted. Here, it is not a matter of having low self esteem, for when we give too much importance to others, it becomes a habit for them to expect us to be there whenever they want. May be they do not even need us all the time, but we somehow become their habit. Here comes the question of self respect. You need to understand and realize it fully that just like anybody who seems to be so important to you, you are important too. It is not looks or money or even brains for that matter. It is that inner sense of being happy with what you are that matters.
The second condition which might hamper your self confidence to a great extent is when you fail to see the border between public and private. The people you love should definitely let you know about their whereabouts and care for you. But there is a line that keeps their complete personal space away from anybody other than themselves. And it is nothing wrong to claim ones personal space. Not everybody prefers to be under constant attention all the time, and there is even nothing wrong to want to shower a person with love and affection. But you need to understand that your self-worth depends a lot on how you are making yourself available to people.
Here, I would like to mention a point, that though some people believe that there should be no secret or privacy from the person they love, scientists all over the world have agreed at a certain point regarding the fact that everybody requires a basic space to dwell in. That space need not always be physical, so giving you that space is also a big step towards developing a strong sense of self esteem.
A very practical thing that you could try while you are trying to sort out the self respect issues is to give yourself a makeover. I understand it might sound artificial to many of you, but being a ugly-duckling-turned-swan, I understand the value of a good make over. How you feel from inside also depends to a certain degree on how you are presenting yourself. You can hardly expect to feel like a star when you are wearing some shabby clothes that are perhaps not even yours. So, a good image makeover could always prove to be a good idea.
You have self respect within yourself, or you would not have been trying to finding ways to develop it. It is something within you, and you simply need to find a way to discover it.