Sometimes it’s difficult to explain what self-esteem means because the word “esteem” is rarely used as a daily word. Esteem has the same con-notion as respect. So self-esteem is the same as self-respect.
Self-respect means that you believe in your own integrity, in your own worth and dignity. The same definition you can give to self-esteem. Esteem means nothing else than integrity, worth and dignity.
Self-esteem or self-respect means knowing that you are equal to every other being on the planet. You are unique as a very valuable personality. You can’t compare yourself to anybody else. There is no other person like you.
It started as a Tent City founded for homeless people and grew into a permanent neighborhood called Dignity Village. After conducting elections, Dignity Village even has their own administrative and legislative branches of government. The name tells it all: Dignity Village is a place that gives dignity back to people who’ve lost their jobs and homes – which sadly has become a national crisis.
The small houses are primarily built by the villagers. Building their own small houses in Dignity Village also means building self-respect through the knowledge that they can still accomplish good things for themselves. Organizing an entire village with all kinds of activities and responsibilities is an even stronger means toward building a high self-esteem.
Dignity Village is an incredibly strong sign of lived esteem. People who feel they’ve lost all esteem in our society just because they lost job and home can experience an esteemful life. Actions like Dignity Village are necessary to give hope and esteem to those who’ve lost so much.
“Any person who in any way suffers because of hunger or suffers because of poverty — that affects me. We are in a world that is truly interconnected and we need to all realize that we play a role. No matter what we do, small or large, whether it’s dramatic or not — all contributes.”
These are the words of 66-year-old Lydia Pendley of Santa Fe, NM who has dedicated her life to helping others.
Her esteemful actions are based on her respect for the dignity of every human being and her desire to work for peace and justice in the world.
Lydia Pendley celebrated her last few birthdays a little different than most of us. She registered her party as an event on Stand Up Against Poverty Day. She asked her guests to make a donation instead of bringing gifts and collected more than $2,100.
Lydia Pendley has found her unique expression of giving esteem as a sign against poverty. Her dedication and esteemful actions encourages other people to follow her example and express esteem in a similar way.
The City of Angels Ballet in Silver Lake near Los Angeles offers free classical ballet training for children coming from some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods.
Each afternoon hundreds of children make the long car drive to the tiny studio, their portal to ballet’s magical world.
The company was founded by Mario Nugara, a professional ballet dancer who wanted to create a ballet academy offering classes for the children of South Los Angeles.
For Nugara and the children the City of Angels is not just about ballet, it’s also about community and experiencing respect and dignity.
Nugara said: “It’s about these young people getting self-esteem, a good feeling of self-esteem”.
Every visitor to the City of Angels can note that no matter where these children come from, in this studio they are all princes and princesses.
Engineer Amit Goffer of Haifa, Israel created a device called ReWalk which allows people who are paralyzed to walk again. This is a great news for paralyzed people who hopefully will be able to walk again.
The moving story of Radi Kaiof, who thanks to ReWalk can walk after 20 years of being in a wheelchair, sums it up in these words: “It’s not just about health, it’s also about dignity.”
When we think about how to express esteem in our daily life we shouldn’t forget to include people who are in wheelchairs.
Looking down at somebody doesn’t mean giving less esteem. If the other person is in a wheelchair it doesn’t change the esteem we give toward this person.
Dignity and esteem should be given to everybody.