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Ego, Esteem, Respect and Pride

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

Ego, ambition, self esteem, self respect, pride and arrogance are commonly used terms which are easily confused with one another.

Ego, is our identification with the self. 'Who am I? What am I?'

The ego defines our relationship with ourselves and our world, essentially providing meaning to the self to ensure survival, success and procreation.

Ego is an abstract construct we have of ourselves. The ego feels real because we attach our ego to some perceived parameters in some form, such as beauty, youth, strength, wealth, status, knowledge, possessions etc.

Self esteem is the ego comparing what we have to what others have. Therefore when we sense that we know more, can do more or possess more than others, then we have high self esteem. When we sense that we are comparatively less than others we usually land up with low self esteem.

Esteem can either inflate or deflate the ego, based on our perception of reality.

In every social environment certain things or qualities are considered more valuable than others by society. So even if an individual may possess great qualities it may be discounted as useless, thus leading to low self esteem. Constant comparison with others may provide a source of inspiration but is usually the source of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Modernity, values wealth and its pursuit more than all other qualities and thus some individuals have bloated self esteem and some others low self esteem.

Respect is the realisation and acceptance of ourselves as we are and others as they are. Respect or the lack of it is reflected in the tone and approach of our interactions with our world and with other beings. Respect is a product of our value system If we have self respect, inevitably we have respect for the other and the world. This is essential for our success and happiness. It is important to note, that respect which is a high human quality is vastly different from tolerance which is a much lower human quality.

When we lack self respect, our conduct triggers negativity and harm us ourselves and the world.

There is another element called pride.

This is how we feel arising out of what we have achieved, known or acquired. Pride usually comes from what we have inherited or with what and who we are associated with. Pride can mainly come by following a particular religion or ideology, belonging to a particular family, social or professional group, or by occupying a particular position in society.

Pride is a negative trait, because when we have pride we become complacent and hence do not feel to be open and the need to change, hence we stop learning and progressing. In excess, pride becomes arrogance.

Ambition is a strong desire to do or achieve something. Ambition and passion are essential for achieving success.

There you have it, the explanations of the big differences made necessary by the feedback from readers on my earlier article 'Ego is essential for success and happiness'.


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