Oh! That’s a wonderful story. Come, let me tell you...
I always thought self-respect is one of the most important ingredients in a personality. Anything which you yourself do not respect or value, how can you expect it from others? Moreover, right from childhood, I was inclined towards the path of salvation. And to be qualified for it, it was a given understanding that people should not feel ashamed of you.

So, I allowed my habits and behaviour to get nurtured and cultivated in a manner such that I can hold myself in high-esteem. And gradually, as I interacted with people, a belief began to sink in that, ‘I am good and worthy of being treated well by people’. This not only helped boost my confidence but a feeling of self—respect too got established within.

It was just about being recognized for what I am - so I didn’t see any kind of ego in this!
Just then, I heard about a 4-day satsang programme of Pujya Deepakbhai that was organized in my city. I happened to attend that. In the satsang, Pujya Deepakbhai was explaining about what is ego and the kind of role intellect plays in protecting this ego.

In every sentence that he was saying, I felt as if a new secret of the actual cause behind every suffering was being revealed. “Any suffering that comes to us is because of our wrong understanding”, he said. “And the biggest wrong understanding of all is, ‘I am Chandubhai (you may insert your own name here).’ We do not know our Pure Soul - that is our ignorance. Due to ignorance, we believe that I am Chandubhai. That is the subtlest level of egoism. And that’s charging new karma.”

This satsang of Pujya Deepakbhai became the life-turning incidence in my life......as it filled into my being an enthusiasm to know more about spiritual science.

Pujya Deepakbhai’s words made me realize that the worldly conduct is 180 degrees away from the spiritual conduct. While the end result of the former is only pain and suffering, through spiritual conduct there comes peace and harmony. The former is what we learn from the world and the latter is to be learnt by following Gnani’s words. Gnani means the Enlightened One!!!
I had just got the biggest understanding of life from him - In reality, I am a Pure Soul. Therefore, to believe myself to be anything else but the Soul is all ego.
Thing which you are not, but you believe I am that – this is called ego! And Self-respect is one type of pride.
Incredible, isn’t it?!

I was reading a book named ‘Aptavani 9’, wherein Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan defines the different facets of ego in great detail. This book proved to be highly intuitive and thought-provoking, for all along, that which I used to term as ego, Dada kept calling it pride in here. And now that I had understood from Pujya Deepakbhai what really is ego, I was getting more and more interested in knowing how my real Self really looks like.

This curiosity inspired me to receive Self-Realization from the Living Gnani!!! After this experience, as I attended more and more satsangs, Pujya Deepakbhai, very carefully and minutely helped further sharpen my awareness of what I am and what I am not. This helped me see more and more vividly, the various kinds of ‘ego’ present within.

Excessive attachment to one’s own ego is called pride. And self-respect is a type of pride, but it is confined to things in which one is qualified; it is limited to the qualities or personal attributes that one possesses.
To set up protection against insult is Self-respect.
Dadashri says, “One who has self-respect is constantly engaged in protection of this pride. Self-respect is the protection one employs to insulate oneself from insult.” Such person is always involved in the give and take of worldly respect - Respect others and be respected in return.

Oh! I was just not aware that in the veil of so called self-respect, I was all the while protecting my ego and pride. Furthermore, I got to understand that the pleasure I received from the belief that ‘I am good and worthy of being treated well by people’ is so temporary. The moment an incident were to take place in life which wrongs this belief, the happiness is gone!

Pujya Deepakbhai picked me up from this vulnerable location of ‘ego’ that gives temporary happiness, and placed me in the most secured and safe seat, that of the Soul, which is a haven for all those suffering from ego. It is an abode of eternal bliss!!
Self-respect is a necessary thing in worldly interactions.

Until the real Self is not known, one must maintain self-respect. Dadashri says, “Let it be; there is ego there for sure, but at least he will not become shameless.” If a person does not have self-respect, he will become shameless and brazen. Due to self-respect, he will remain within the boundary; he will never cross that line. So self-respect is needed in worldly interaction, until one has attained Self-realization.

No doubt, in the worldly life, self-respect is a virtue. But the one who wants liberation will have to let go this self-respect too. It is a pride within limits; but still it is pride. We get to understand this when people’s view and our view about our self does not reconcile. For instance, when one believes ‘I am a graduate’, if people disagree, he would immediately feel, ‘Why are they doing this when I am a graduate?’ Our expectation is that people should consider me a graduate and this causes suffering.

Now that ‘I’ am the ‘Self’, there does not remain any need to maintain self-respect.
Self-respect is the pride based on the ego of ‘I am Chandulal; I am the body’. But after attaining Self-Realization, one realizes the real Self. With this, the ego of ‘I am Chandulal’ dissolves and therefore there remains no need to keep self-respect. Pride and even limits of pride are all gone. Hence, one who attains the path of salvation is no more concerned with ego or self-respect.

This is the story of how I realized the difference between self-respect and ego. Hope you liked it and I pray it proves useful to you.

Please visit:https://www.dadabhagwan.org/path-to-happiness/spiritual-science/what-is-ego-egoism/difference-between-ego-and-egoism/

Author's Bio: 

Ambalal M. Patel was a civil contractor by profession. In June 1958, spontaneous Self-Realization occurred within Ambalal M. Patel. From this point on, Ambalal became a Gnani Purush, and the Lord that manifest within him became known as Dada Bhagwan. A Gnani Purush is One who has realized the Self and is able help others do the same. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan used to go from town to town and country-to-country to give satsang (spiritual discourse) and impart the knowledge of the Self, as well as knowledge of harmonious worldly interactions to everyone who came to meet him. This spiritual science, known as Akram Vignan, is the step-less path to Self-realization.