The meaning of self-respect is inherent in self-dignity. It is experienced by those who are conscious of their virtue-based dignity and never deviate from it. Those who care a fig for their dignity and readily stoop low for the slightest gain are always deprived of it.
Self-respect is never given by others; it is self-earned. It is a very private experience which takes place in our inner consciousness. The experiencers of this feeling remain happy and contended irrespective of whether or not they are getting worldly laurels. Those bereft of this feeling always suffer from an undefined emptiness and dissatisfaction within inspite of getting all worldly honours and praises.
To emerge out of this dissatisfaction, the only way is to re-invent self-dignity and redefine self-respect, because the outer identity, of which people are normally aware, is in no way conducive to the process of adopting a controlled, disciplined and well organized life style.
Normally, respect for the ego or I- sense is taken to be self-respect. Even the smallest slight to the ego is deemed a blow to self-respect. This being so, it is but natural for a `self-respecting’ person to avoid any such activity as will hurt his ego.