Self-respect is often something that is learned and shaped through our individual experiences. This can mean that before we’ve figured it out, we often go against our own beliefs, feelings and convictions for the sake of others. It can leave us feeling worn out and disrespected.
It can also mean putting forth more emotional labor than we receive, which can mean imbalanced relationships. Learning self-respect, and more importantly, learning how to say no, can change your entire worldview, and make you a more positive and assertive person.
Here Are 10 Ways You Can Start to Respect Yourself – You Deserve It
“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. ” – M. Scott Peck
1. Focus on yourself and start loving yourself
Learning to love yourself can be just as tricky as learning self-respect, but it’s the first step in the process. Focus on loving yourself rather than tearing yourself down, or putting other people’s needs before your own, even when it hurts you. That self-love is going to be the building block for your self-respect.
2. Trust your intuition and follow your gut
If you get a bad feeling about a person or situation, follow your gut. Intuition is a survival technique that all humans have. When we ignore our gut instincts, it can lead to bad decisions.
According to author Michael Pratt, “It turns out intuition isn’t always bad and there are conditions where it is a good way to make the right decision. What we found demystifies a lot of the information out there that says intuition isn’t as effective as if you sat down and walked through an analytical approach.”
Learning to respect your intuition can help you on the way to learning how to respect yourself and learning when to say “No.” 9 times out of 10, your gut is speaking to you, and your instinct is right.
3. Change the way you talk about yourself
Imagine that you’re talking about yourself the way you would talk about a friend. Would you make constant, disparaging and negative remarks about someone that you care deeply about? No! Learning to talk about yourself in a positive manner, even when things are going wrong or when you make mistakes, means that you’ll learn to love and respect yourself. The best way to do this is to always talk about yourself as if you were talking about a cherished loved one.
4. Learn to say “No” when necessary
According to author Susan Newman, “You won’t be able to say no to everything asked of you, nor will you want to, but you don’t have to be an ever-accommodating yes person to be loved, respected and admired.”
If you don’t want to do something, can’t do something, or know that doing it will cause you significant distress, it’s okay to say “No”! Practice saying it out loud and get used to the sound of the word, so that it no longer causes anxiety. Having boundaries is another important step to self-respect. If someone doesn’t respect your “No”, then they’re not worth your help in the first place.
5. Remove toxic people from your life no matter how difficult it can be
It can be difficult to cut people out, especially if they’ve been important to you in the past. However, learning to have self-respect means that toxic people have got to go. Toxicity is only going to hinder your journey to self-respect. There’s a good chance that those people didn’t respect you in the first place, and you deserve to be surrounded by people who bring positive things to your life.
6. Stick to your own moral code no matter what people think
You don’t have to drink, smoke or party if you don’t want to. Set your own moral code, and stick to it! As long as you’re not hurting anyone or yourself, you’re not obligated to break your morals for anyone else. The people who don’t respect your choices aren’t the kind of people you want to be around, anyway. Sticking to your convictions is the best way to practice self-respect.
7. Learn how to handle your emotions without falling apart
Yes, even the negative emotions. All emotions are good, both positive and negative ones. The key is to allowing yourself to feel and process these emotions in a healthy and constructive manner. Learn to cry and release those negative feelings without wallowing in them. Handling your emotions doesn’t mean hiding them. It’s okay to open up and feel the full spectrum of emotions that life has to offer.
8. Never settle for less. You don’t deserve it!
You deserve the best life that you can possibly live, so learn to respect yourself by never settling for less than you deserve. If your partner doesn’t treat you right, then you don’t have to stay with them. If your job undermines your intelligence and skills, find someplace better. Life doesn’t have to be just good enough. You deserve to be living the best life possible.
9. Learn to forgive yourself and others
Allowing yourself to harbor negative feelings will only leave to more toxicity. Forgiving yourself for past mistakes is important to self-respect, because you don’t deserve to constantly berate yourself. You’re so much more than your past mistakes. Forgiving others means that you’ll be able to release those emotions you’ve been holding onto and move on. Professor of Psychology Dr. Everett Worthington rightly mentions, “I’d like people to know that there are documented physical benefits, mental health benefits, relationship benefits, and sometimes spiritual benefits to forgiving.”
10. Remember: honesty is the best policy
This means you have to be honest with both yourself and the people around you. When you’re capable of being honest, it shows that you love yourself enough not to hide the truth of how you feel or what you want. The more honest you are, the more self-respect you’ll have. Of course, this isn’t to say that you should be blunt or mean. Honesty in a positive way that honors your feelings is the key.
Practicing these tricks every day can help you build up your self-respect. Everyone deserves to have their feelings and thoughts honored and respected. It’s hard for other people to do so, if we don’t honor and respect ourselves first. Though it may feel difficult, it isn’t nearly as impossible and it seems. After all: you deserve it!