Lack of self-respect can manifest itself in different ways: it can be what’s causing you to procrastinate instead of going after your dreams; it can show up as a form of self-punishment, like smoking or compulsive eating, because you don’t think you deserve happiness; or it can result in depression caused by letting other people dictate the way you live your life.
It’s okay to make bad choices, we’ve all been there. What’s important is to acknowledge when you’re going against your own best interests and take a second to understand your feelings.
For one lifetime, I’ve let myself down in more ways than I can count. In my teenage years, I was a pushover: I did everything I had to do to be liked. I craved acceptance from others so much that I put other people’s needs and wants before my own. That made me feel so awful that, one day, I simply promised myself that I wouldn’t live like this anymore.
I had to take action. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. It was the only way I was going to regain my self-respect. And I want to tell you what I’ve learned along the way in hopes that it will help you feel more empowered, no matter how difficult your situation is right now.
Here are 3 tips that will help you gain the respect of the most important person in your life: you.
1. Be True to Yourself
Whenever we let other people determine the way we look, feel, and behave, we give them power over ourselves. If you bend every time someone else has a different opinion or wants you to do something that you don’t feel like doing, you’re giving yourself the message that you’re unreliable and can’t be trusted.
And what does losing your self-trust lead to? Losing respect. Think about it: if your best friend betrays more than once, would you trust them? Would you want them to be your friend? Or would you run for the hills instead?
By being inauthentic and trying to please everyone around you, you’re losing the one friend you can rely on at any given moment of time: yourself. So, what can you do to be true to yourself?
* Speak your mind – don’t stop yourself from being honest about the way you feel;
* Honor your feelings – don’t run from your ‘negative’ feelings: embrace them instead;
* Learn to say ‘NO’ – if something doesn’t feel right to you, you don’t have to do it.
If you let other people determine how you perceive yourself, you’ll inevitably lose yourself in the process. Remember:
Don’t let other people determine your value. You’re not an object. Click To Tweet
2. Be There for Yourself
Let’s say you’re going out tonight with one of your besties. How would they feel if you just decided not to show up? Disappointment and frustration are probably beginning to describe it. That’s exactly what you’re doing to yourself: not showing up when you need yourself the most. Abandoning yourself in the most critical moments is a sign that you’re not respecting yourself at all.
So, how can you show up for yourself when you need your own help?
* Don’t beat yourself up – we all make mistakes but what separates us from each other is the way we treat ourselves afterward;
* Take time to grief – abandoning yourself often happens when you focus all of your energy on emotionally or physically losing a loved one;
* Be patient with yourself – sometimes being present with whatever’s happening is more than enough sign of support.
Self-soothing is important but you may struggle with it, especially if you’ve experienced a traumatic event in your childhood that is now preventing you from caring for your needs. One of the things you can try to tune into your own feelings is to listen to sad music, watch a sad movie, or curl up in bed and hug a pillow.
Every time you’re being there for yourself when you need yourself the most, you’re showing yourself that you can be trusted and gain self-respect.
3. Stick to Your Values
Many people struggle with gaining self-respect because they don’t know who they are and what they want to accomplish in their lives. The reason often lies in the lack of awareness when it comes to determining their values.
Why is sticking to your values so important?
* You get to know yourself – by knowing who you are, you become more self-aware and that increases your confidence;
* You set healthy boundaries with others – if someone doesn’t respect your values, you can let them know;
* You make better choices – when you know your values, it helps you make decisions that will ultimately lead to better outcomes.
If you want to try a quick exercise to determine your values, here’s an episode on the Simplify Your Life podcast on finding your core values, you can listen to it here:
But, to summarize it, you need to be aware of the top 3 most important things in your life. Let me give you an example: my top 3 values are freedom, self-awareness, and love. If I don’t make room for each and every one of them in my life, I feel cranky, exhausted and unsatisfied.
What are your top 3 values? Share in the comments below!
Self-respect isn’t built overnight. In fact, if we zoom out a bit and look at it from a higher perspective: it’s nothing more than a construct of your mind! But let’s not kid ourselves: we’re here for the human experience, so we’ll have to work in collaboration with our own minds, right? 🙂
All I’m saying is, don’t get too preoccupied with ‘gaining’, ‘losing’, ‘finding’, ‘earning’ your own respect. Your own story is nothing more than a concept that your mind is telling yourself to believe. If you’re ready to break free from your own negative thought patterns, that’s something I can help you with.
And remember: at the end of the day, what really matters is not gaining the respect of others, but whether or not you respect yourself.