This was a question I asked in my Love Yourself first! group recently. I got various comments on it and not surprisingly many people said they don't respect themselves enough. There were also group members who said they do respect themselves more than in the past and constantly working on it. I am so glad when I read those comments!
It also made me think: there is a lot more to educate and change. We have work to do and I came up with this article. My intention is to give you some ideas and perspective, also practical steps you can take to raise your self-respect.
Let's start with the obvious. What is self-respect?
As per the dictionary's definition: pride and confidence in oneself; a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity.
Now that we know what self-respect means the next question is: do I have it?
If yes, keep doing what you are doing because you are on the right path. If not, I'm very proud of you admitting that you have work to do in this department. You already took the first step toward self-respect: you recognized that you lack self-respect or you don't have enough of it.
Where does the lack of self-respect come? Here are some areas worth to look at:
this is what we learned in our family as a child. Did your parents, grandparents, relatives have enough self-respect?
Did you get enough respect as a child from your parents, siblings, relatives, later teachers and friends?
How easy it is for you as an adult to set up boundaries? Do you say yes, when deep down you want to say no?
Are you a people pleaser and always worry that you hurt someone's feelings when you say what you really want to say and not what they want to hear from you?
When you think of yourself, what are the thoughts coming to you? Are they negative? Do you believe you are worthy, you are enough and you can or deserve to respect yourself?
Are you allowing others to make decisions for you because it is easier than standing up for yourself?
Are you on your priority list at all?
The list could go on and I hope you got the point. We learned to respect ourselves based on other people's reactions but the good news is that regardless what happened so far in your life you can make a decision right here and right now: I respect myself more from now on.
It seems simple, I know. Honestly, it can be that simple.
We live our lives by making decisions every 10 seconds. In every situation you can make a choice that is helping to respect yourself more or less. It is up to you.
Accept this: my point of view creates my reality. Always.
When you believe you don't deserve respect from yourself and others you will make - mostly subcontious - decisions based on this belief and you will get plenty of evidence, why you don't deserve respect.
When you change your way of thinking and start choosing the idea that you are worthy of respect then you will start getting evidence for that.
Which way of thinking creates more?
These are the actual steps you can start practicing now:
Make a firm decision that you respect yourself more from now on.
It's a new idea for your brain, - it's a threat for your survival - so it will come up with every possible excuse to sabotage you to keep you safe! This is when you remind yourself that I create my reality with my point of view! If your current thought is not helping, then it goes to the garbage. Out!
Make a concious decision again to think something better that will help and create more evidence for your worthiness.
Rinse and repeat as necessary
Here is an example so you can understand it easier:
Today I make a decision that I am going to set up boundaries for my self-respect.
A not too close friend sends a text: I need you. Can you please baby sit tonight so I can have a date?
If you always responded very quickly, then stop yourself and don't respond right away. Pause. How do you feel about this request? Do you want to do it? Or you already planned a nice evening when you take a bubble bath and then watch a movie?
Make a decision by asking this: what creates more for me? If I say yes or if I say no?
Make your decision based on your answer. If you feel resentment because you really want to stay home, then stay home. You don't need explanation. (Also, when you start saying no more often, those who take advantage of your kindness will disappear from your life quite quickly saying that you are rude. Never mind, you don't need them anyway.)
Send a nice and firm text message and enjoy your evening without guilt. You can say no in a very polite and respectful way. How others will receive it is not your concern. Get used to it that sometimes people will not like you for saying no.
You can go back - and you will a lot at the beginning - to these steps until this becomes your default thinking. As you practice it more, less and less challenges are going to present themselves in your life, because you learned what you had to experience.
Did you learn something? What is your challenge when it comes to self-respect?
Anita Papp is a self-love mentor and life coach, empowering people to respect and love themselves more. Her passion is to wittness her clients transformation becoming thriving, self-loving authentic and confident individuals who know they can create the life they want and couragous enough to choose it.
If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also book a free coaching session with her here