Human beings will always act to ways preserve their self respect, even if it means using ego defense mechanisms. When self respect is intact, there is no need to guard it. This positive state of awareness exist naturally.
A person who is without food and shelter will find it difficult to maintain self respect, however even if physical needs are met something more is required to satisfy self esteem needs. Ultimately when the individual is satisfied in the mind, there is self respect. When there is dissatisfaction or disturbance in the mind due to a lack of self realisation, self respect is lost. The ego defense mechanism jumps in to preserve the lost of self respect. Actions are then motivated not by self esteem but by negative threats such as aggression, greed and ego.
Parting thoughts for reflection: With self respect we will not be affected by the adverse opinions and actions of others.