When you have a deep respect for someone or something, you have Reverence for it.

This deep respect is a sum total of many emotions. It has admiration, esteem and awe; there is an aspect of devotion in it and more than a tinge of worship. You look up to that person or thing; you feel blessed to be able to offer your admiration to them, not the other way round.

When someone or something becomes your Highest Reverence, that someone or something become your guiding light. There is nothing as important to you as the object of your Reverence. All you are, your values and your person, is expressed through that, which you revere.

Reverence is a gift granted to an entity other than yourself. At least, that is the common perception and practice. We are taught self- deprecation in the name of humility; self- doubt in the name of modesty. We are taught to place our Reverence outside ourselves- and more. We are taught that if we feel even a trace of Reverence for our own person; for our opinions, thoughts and choices; we are pure evil.

A bigger joke was never perpetrated on humanity!

A noble soul has reverence for itself.

~ Friedrich Nietzsche


In the absence of Reverence for self, you flounder sans oars and rudder, as you hurtle down the river of life in your little boat. You have no confidence in your ability to take decisions. You dare not trust your own judgment. When a crisis comes, you are frozen with fear. You have no idea what to do. You wait for instructions.

Everything your intuition suggests to you, seems like the worst course of action. You shut the tinny voice of your inner wisdom, you reject the guidance of your own experiences. Petrified of making a mistake and inciting the wrath of the omniscient others, you do nothing at all. There you sit, shivering with terror and dread, while your world crumbles to dust around you.

The best of opinion is reserved to others. They deserve all your respect and admiration. They have the right to all your awe and devotion. As long as it is not you (the definition of others), anything and everything goes. The Good is everything that is NOT YOU. The thought is bewildering and repugnant to me.

Let parents then bequeath to their children not riches but the spirit of reverence.

~ Plato

Life is not a cheap bauble to throw away irreverently. All life deserves your Reverence- including your own. You cannot let the magnificent fact of your existence pass you by, untouched by the light of your own awe and wonder. There might be billions of people on earth, but there is just one you. You are inimitable. Everything about you is unique, exclusive and unrepeatable. No one has a soul like yours, or fingerprints, or life experiences.

Self-Reverence, self- knowledge and self- control; these three alone can lead one to sovereign power.

~ Alfred Tennyson

Imagine the trouble the whole universe went through to bring you to where you are today- a journey exclusive and unique to you- custom designed only for you. Imagine the universe fussing over you like a protective mother, making sure you walk the paths you were meant to walk. Imagine it ensuring that you are given the resources and the companions you most need at any point of your journey.

What is all this for? Is it so you can turn around and say that your person is worthless and undeserving of respect, love, admiration and Reverence?! Can you imagine anything more cheeky- and offensive?

When the Masters recommended that you Love thy neighbor as thyself, they cleverly ensured that you’d first love yourself and then, using that as a model, love others.

It is the same with Reverence.

May you appreciate the wonder that you are and the miracle of all creation.

~ Charlene Costanzo

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24 thoughts on “Reverence”

  1. Needed this a lot, Dagny. We are conditioned to be self deprecating in the name of goodness. Any thought for self is conditioned ot be seen as selfishness. A wonderful post.

  2. Brilliant Brilliant ! Beautifully penned Dagny .. and I relate to each and every word. No one is going to respect and revere us unless we respect ourselves first. We must all strive to become worthy of our own reverence.

  3. Absolutely agree with your premise, Dagny. But to play the Devil’s Advocate, I wonder if every person is worthy of reverence? Theoretically, there are bound to be good qualities in every person but practically there are so many obnoxious people that I wonder if they revere themselves, how much more terrible will they become? I think what matters more is that we step back and be very open in our introspection. We should be able to know (in an unbiased manner) our own strengths and weaknesses. By all means respect and revere our good traits and at the same time be aware of how to better the negatives. Self-reverence is a fine balance to strike. It may tip over to narcissism, pride and bloated arrogance easily. I hope I am able to convey my point here. Your post brought these important lines to fore from one of my favorite songs “Humko mann kee shakti dena; mann vijay kare; doosron kee jay se pehle; khudh ko jay karen…

    1. I love it when you play devil’s advocate Rachna! 🙂

      You point is well taken. Self- reverence could well slide into narcissism and arrogance. And that would be awful.

      I would say two things in response to your point:

      1. I believe that people who truly understand the meaning of ‘reverence’ also understand the act of bowing down before something… even if it is your own self. The act of bowing down cannot happen unless there is a feeling of humble gratitude in your heart. How then, can such a person become too full of himself?

      2. If a person does slide into narcissism, he has already gone out of the realm of our concern. We are talking about self- reverence, arrogant hot- heads are no concern of ours. Life stand round a blind corner for such people, with a hefty club in her hand. They merrily round the corner and she goes KABOOM!!

      Problem solved, either way. 😀

  4. Yes, we should certainly respect and value our uniqueness, our unique experience, our life-journey, our thoughts, beliefs etc…no denying there. But where and when does draw a line between reverence for the self and an obsession with oneself and only oneself? This requires a deep wisdom, does it not? Wisdom to know that the self is not separate from others in essence, and reverence for others is thereby reverence for the self, and vice versa, when seen and experienced in the light of that inner truth of one-ness. Not sure if it makes much sense but reading your thought-provoking piece inspired this thought today 🙂 Thanks for another powerful read today!

    1. As I said in my response to Rachna’s comment above, Beloo, I believe that people who truly understand the meaning of ‘reverence’ also understand the act of bowing down before something… even if it is your own self. The act of bowing down cannot happen unless there is a feeling of humble gratitude in your heart. How then, can such a person become too full of himself?
      Not everyone feels reverence. To many it is still an alien concept. They’ve never known what it is.

      Thanks! 🙂

  5. I agree we also need to acknowledge and respect us, along with others. This is an important part of discovering our-self. We should be aware of both our limitations and our strengths.

  6. I so agree, Dagny. I believe that each of us is where we are meant to be, equipped with the learning one needs to make a success of life, and to empower others in the process. We should believe in that innate ability of ourselves, especially of that still small voice within us. The more we listen to it, the more it tells us things that will strengthen us. You weave words together so beautifully.

  7. Unless the person is truly enlightened, reverence and self-reverence are both very dangerous. Reverence for another person could lead to blind belief in that person. Self-reverence could lead to arrogance and a belief that “I am always correct.” We are currently witnessing ‘self-reverence’ among the leaders of our political parties, and the ‘reverence’ of the members and supporters of these parties for their leaders.
    Equal respect for oneself and for others is more desirable.

    I really loved this post because it is genuinely thought-provoking! The diversity of the comments amply proves that. I’ve clicked on Follow before posting this comment.

    1. As I said in my reply to Rachna’s comment above, and as you too have said in your own comment, people who have the wisdom to truly understand the meaning of ‘reverence’ also understand the act of bowing down before something… even if it is your own self. The act of bowing down cannot happen unless there is a feeling of humble gratitude in your heart. How then, can such a person become too full of himself?
      Thanks a lot for the follow! I hope you will spend some happy times on these pages. 🙂

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