Do you have honor for yourself? Think about that question for a moment. In what way would you show honor for yourself? Honor is a very abstract term, which makes it difficult to pinpoint a particular meaning to apply to this word. However, in an effort to examine the showing of honor to oneself, I will examine what Nathaniel Branden said, as taken from his book Honoring the Self: The Psychology of Confidence and Respect. I will focus only on one aspect of honoring oneself, where he said, "To honor the self is to be in love with our own life, in love with our possibilities for growth and for experiencing joy, in love with the process of discovering and exploring our distinctively human potentialities." I will analyze what he said in sections, and then as a whole.
Do you love life? "To honor the self is to be in love with our own life." (Branden) If your answer is no, then you are not giving yourself the honor you deserve, and you are detracting from the overall quality of your own life. What does it mean to be in love with your own life? Does this mean that we show no love for others? No, however, this means that our first concern should in fact be our love for ourselves, because until that is met, we will not be able to effectively show love to others. Now, how do we actually show this love for ourselves? For one, we need to satisfy the first level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, taking in sufficient levels of food, sleep, and other basic needs. Also, showing love for oneself should also include satisfying the second level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which is safety, a very important thing for any individual. Remember, if any one of the lower level needs is not satisfied, none of the needs above it can be attained. To satisfy this safety need, we should avoid situations that could put us at risk, not just physically, but mentally, such as avoiding potential arguments with others that could lead to threats to our safety. An example would be that we should avoid arguments with our boss so as to avoid losing our job, which could be a large detriment to our safety. Someone that shows love for their own self should never say "I hate life", because it would not be true, since they love themselves.
Another thing we must do is "To be in love…with our possibilities for growth and for experiencing joy." (Branden) What does it mean to love our possibilities for growth? One good way to put it would be to show an interest in all dimensions of oneself, and acquiring as much knowledge about yourself as you can, and using your knowledge as a building block, you can set goals for personal change or gain. We should not hold back from trying to change aspects of ourselves in order to better our life. Also, Branden brings out that we need to be in love with experiencing joy, or having fun. This is a very important thing to do, as it is the third requirement on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which are one's belonging needs, which include having fun. In order to satisfy this need, we should be able to go out and have a good time, and be able to have an enjoyable experience interacting with others, which can also improve our own personal growth.
Lastly, Branden states that we must be "In love with the process of discovering and exploring our distinctively human potentialities." We all need to realize that we are all unique individuals and we should spend some time analyzing our own personal frame of reference and also our potential for greatness. We should not hold ourselves back, or use self-sabotage to foil our self-achievements because this would not in any way be showing love, or honor for oneself. This applies to the fourth need in Maslow's hierarchy, that of self-esteem, or respect. With the process of discovering oneself comes acceptance of these discoveries, and this leads to higher levels of self-esteem. It is only with this need met that we can move on to the next level on Maslow's Hierarchy, that of self-actualization.
In conclusion, no one could say it better than Branden himself, who stated, "We can begin to see that to honor the self is to practice selfishness in the highest, noblest, and least understood sense of the word." This path to self-honor is not an easy one, nor will it remain static, for it is a dynamic event, always changing. By showing love to ourselves in all of the ways outlined above, we should have at least a guide to help us understand how to reach this goal of self-actualization. Once we accomplish this, we can truly say that we do in fact have honor for ourselves.
Branden, Nathaniel. Honoring the Self: The Psychology of Confidence and Respect
Bantam Books (1985).