Check out incharacter. http://incharacter.org/
This article confirms what I have long held to be true: self-esteem is poppycock. But self-respect, well, that is an entirely different matter.
...the self-esteemist demands the recognition of others - "respect," in the lexicon of the slum hoodlum - in order to prop up his self-esteem. Unfortunately for him, the world of others still usually insists upon some kind of achievement before according recognition: achievement in a broad sense, but achievement nonetheless. But the self-esteemist wants to skip this arduous requirement; the result is that he is an angry and bitter soul.
There's more. Go read it. The last few paragraphs pack a punch. Why I need to crawl out of my jammies before noon and quit wearing sweatpants to the store. Read the whole article, it's searingly true.
For many years I believed that how a man dressed was unimportant; it was the man within that counted, not the man without. My belief excused me for being myself rather scruffily dressed, which was very easy and convenient for me in terms of effort required. But I now think that I was mistaken, for it does not follow from the fact that outward appearance is not all-important that it is of no importance at all.
The small matter of cleaning one's shoes, for example, is not one of vanity alone, though of course it can be carried on to the point of vanity and even obsession and fetish. It is, rather, a discipline and a small sign that one is prepared to go to some trouble for the good opinion and satisfaction of others. It is a recognition that one lives in a social world. That is why total informality of dress is a sign of advancing egotism.
Self-respect requires fortitude, one of the cardinal virtues; self-esteem encourages emotional incontinence that, while not actually itself a cardinal sin, is certainly a vice, and a very unattractive one. Self-respect and self-esteem are as different as depth and shallowness.
The whole thoughtful article can be found here: