This is a Maxim that a lot of people, including myself, need to work on for different reasons. It is not about ego in the negative sense of that word, but truly respecting yourself the way you would anyone else. This is hard for many of us to do because of negative self-image. It is that negative self-image that we need to conquer. The message here is that we are worthy of respect, not because we are “great” but because we are “attempting to be great”. This is a message that we have to internalize or we are likely to do things that are harmful to ourselves in the long run.
In respecting yourself you need to take an honest look at your self-image and self-esteem – treating those things the way you would if you were giving another person advice. It is a fine balance to be neither too hard nor too easy on yourself, but it is doable. After you have done this, you commit to working on the areas where you are weak while maintaining the areas where you are strong. For example, I could commit to exercising my body more while someone who is already fit might commit to doing more intellectual activities. This is the best way that I have found to live the message of this Maxim, and it is not the easy road by any means. However, this road is worth traveling.