"Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows
with the ability to say no to oneself."
- Abraham Joshua Heschel 1907-1972
Abraham Heschel, who authored today's quote, might be unknown to you. He was to me until I Googled him. He was a leading Jewish philosopher and theologian of the last century. And, while I'm sure that the quote is consistent with his religious philosophy, you don't need to be religious at all to see the merit in the quote.
It would be difficult, if not impossible, to have self-respect without having self-discipline. And, an obvious indicator of self-discipline is the ability to say 'no' to yourself.
What's this mean for our finances? The more often that we control the urge to splurge, the better we'll feel about ourselves. That each time we refuse to spend money needlessly, we actually build our self-respect.
Perhaps that's why so many of us seek Financial Indpendence. We don't want to be dependent upon others. We want something better. A self-respect that's rooted on our own actions.
I'm not a psychologist or sociologist, but I suspect that's a little different than the world view that predominates today. I get the feeling that from childhood on people are taught that self-respect is based on other people praising you. That a steady stream of teachers tell you that you're special. Later teens look to their friends for validation. And, as adults we want others to respect us based on our jobs or the value of our possessions (think homes, cars, clothes, vacations, etc). A prescription for overspending, debt and ultimately a loss of self-respect.
Don't get me wrong. I believe that every person is valuable. And, they should know it. But, none of us can have self-respect based on what others think of us. Self-respect is just that - respect for ourself. And, that means that it must come from us.
Today's quote is a reminder that the ability to say 'no' to yourself is vital to a feeling of self-respect. That's something that we all can do if we really want to. Building a solid self-respect on sound footing.
So what do you think? Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Or does much of our view of ourselves stem from our ability to control our desires?