African Tradition says true Self-Respect is built around the natural Dignity and Divinity endowment by God present in every human being. The first duty of each child is to recognize that he/she possesses those divine sparks of Love which contain the same qualities of that which is present in God, even though lacking the same quantity. That spark was imparted when God breathed life into the individual and with that breath was God’s Love. The mere Appreciation of ones own Dignity and Divinity results in one being elevated to the realization that one has the potential to be a human-god. What is necessary to reach that potential is to function at ones best in human society by following Ma’at principles (putting Love and Selfless in action). This requires discovering ones mission in life for that grounding contains ones talents to make that mission a reality. That works the‘ other way—to discover and develop ones talent leads to ones mission. In African Tradition, a failure to even try to get on the path to ones mission is a sign of great disrespect to ones own dignity—and such a loss of respect means the person, the person’s family, and the village is viewed with pity and disgrace because the person was not taught the ways of the Ancestors. The person must make the appropriate apologies and that must be accepted before atonement rituals are performed and things made right.
European Self-Respect means that a person has given thought to his/her behaviors and has justified them in the light of personal and social values. Without some selfrespect it is almost impossible for a person to maintain the respect of other persons for, by suggestion, his/her attitudes toward him/herself influence the attitudes of other persons toward him/herself. During slavery the European captors dedicated great efforts to shattering the self-respect of the Slaves.
Following slavery it was from a mixture of Euro-American and African Tradition that most Black Americans fashioned concepts of respect. Most Elite—and the Omnibus Black Americans to a lesser extent—have embraced the European concept and designed their lives accordingly.
Mainstream Black Americans retain much of the African Tradition of respect. The Enslaved Minded and Black Criminals operate under the shattered pattern of self-respect taught to the Slaves. If Black Americans followed African Tradition principles, they would stop using offensive language (Bailey, Self-Esteem); would stop degrading each other (e.g. male/females); would stop envying each other’s success; and would band together so as to create, enhance, or maintain a sense of community possessed with “Black Power” strength.
In my view, Self-Respect is present when: (1) one esteems who one is based upon ones Dignity and Divinity; (2) recognizes ones self-worth (including the honoring of ones Dignity and Divinity) as well as ones self-value traits (skills in the material world); (3) attaches to ones Dignity the tasks one does in life and does them in a Divinity manner;
(4) carries those tasks to a level of completion compatible with ones capabilities for the betterment of mankind; and (5) places and appreciates ones achievements on the proper rung of the ladder of importance while not being afraid to face and learn from ones weaknesses and mistakes.
The Step I process is for one to clear ones mind of all negative self-talk—e.g. “I can’t do this because…” This is merely an excuse to hide an unwillingness to venture into the unknown. Step II—achieve multiple small successes every day so that one continually “stretches” ones minds and sharpens ones skills. Both automatically lead to a sense of Self-Reliance. Step III— when one combines Self-Reliance with Keeping Ones Word and remaining Honorable (not lying, cheating, or stealing) one develops Sel f-Trust (knowing you will keep your promise to yourself and honor your commitments). Self-reliance and Self-Trust build a sense of Self-Respect—i.e. knowing you do both good work and important work and then possessing the confidence and determination to make success happen in a dignified, cultured, and refined manner.