Society can be wild and dangerous and can bring even the most confident person to the ground, and neither self-respect nor self-love is a concept that people learn to practice. Instead, society pushes people to be small and submissive. It can even feel like it’s easier to do what everyone around you wants you to do. And sure, people need to be able to fit into groups.

But there is a big difference between destroying your individuality to please others. At the same time, if you’ve lived all your life with the idea that you should do everything in your power to please others, it can be hard to change. Incorporating self-respect into your life can be challenging when you haven’t been taught how to do that.

Unfortunately, this whole issue stems from how kids are raised by their parents. Usually, the parents expect complete respect from the kids, but they don’t give that respect back. And this is the case with almost all figures of authority that people have in their lives. Kids need to respect their teachers and their elders in general. But, because they are just kids, they don’t get treated as nicely as they are supposed to treat others.

Plus, it’s easier to turn to people-pleasing if you want to ensure that you can achieve something. For example, the nicer you are to your boss, the easier to secure a promotion. And that’s just an example. Not to mention that this whole need to be a people pleaser comes from not having any respect for yourself, which is a psychological issue. So, it won’t do you any good to keep making yourself small to please the people around you. It’s time to start having self-respect and treating yourself with more kindness.

Why Do People Lack Self-Respect?

Everyone knows someone who is always quiet and prefers to keep to themselves. There are many reasons why they choose to be shy and quiet, but that person is usually someone who has been mistreated throughout their life. And there’s a real reason they are all moody and sad, not just because they want to deem edgy. These are the people who are struggling with their image and self-perception.


As we’ve already established, there are many reasons why people lack self-respect. And these issues can appear at any point in someone’s life. For example, even the most confident person can become scared and shy if faced with a horrible accident. However, self-respect issues usually stem from trauma, especially if that trauma happened during childhood. Unfortunately, there are way too many cases of kids being abused at a young age.

Some are instances of physical abuse, but, more often than not, it’s emotional and psychological abuse. It doesn’t matter if that abuse leaves a visible mark because the long-term effect is the same. Any abuse will make the victim feel like they are not worthy of being loved and appreciated. And that often makes people lose all the confidence they have in themselves.

Plus, when a kid is made to feel like not even their parents love them, it’s not a surprise that they would grow up to become people pleasers. This is because, in their mind, if they couldn’t get their parents’ love, they might be able to get it from virtual strangers. But this trauma doesn’t even have to stem from full-blown abuse to lead to low self-esteem. Something as seemingly unimportant as bad parenting can also have the same effect.

The Effects of Bad Parenting and Abusive Relationships

That’s because a bad parent, even if they are not abusive, won’t make an effort to teach you how to love yourself. Sure, such a parent will ensure that their kid has the necessities to survive. But that doesn’t mean they will genuinely take care of them. Along with issues that happen during one’s childhood, some other factors can chip away at someone’s self-esteem.

And one of the most common is having a harmful or abusive relationship. Your partner is the one who’s supposed to love you the most. So, you’ll begin to doubt yourself when that person starts disrespecting you and treating you with malice. Not to mention that some abusive partners will gaslight and manipulate you into believing you are inferior and that you should be quiet and do what you’re told.

Another thing to consider is that even if your partner isn’t straight-up abusive, they can still do things that make you feel unworthy. For example, having your partner cheat on you will make you feel like you’re not worthy of love. It will make you question if you did anything wrong or if it’s your fault that it happened. It will chip away at your self-love until you stop believing in yourself.

Being a People Pleaser Causes a Decrease in Self-Love

Besides all these reasons, a few more things can destroy the way you see yourself. For example, accidents, bad friends, failure, and many more things can make you feel inadequate. And, when people lose their confidence, they usually turn to people pleasing as a way to get that validation that they cannot give themselves. But, of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being a people pleaser.

But it’s also not the best thing for you or the people around you. Being a people pleaser is not the same thing as being kind. And, no matter how much you try to fill a void by getting validation from others, it won’t help you feel better. The only way to get your life together is to stop making yourself small to fit other people’s narratives. Instead, you should focus on building yourself up again. Find that self-love!

How to Increase Self-Respect and Self-Love


1. Understand What Your Values Are to Implement Self-Respect

Most people struggle with understanding what it is they truly value. Instead, they go along with the values imposed by the people around them without questioning whether they are right or wrong. You don’t need to follow everyone else’s definition of right and wrong to be happy. Sure, some things can be considered objectively good or bad.

But that doesn’t mean you should conform to other people’s norms in the hope they might respect you a little more. It’s much more important to be true to your own values and act according to what makes you happy. For example, if you value friendship above all else, don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t care about your friends.

One way to understand your values is to list and rank the important things to you. Carry that list with you everywhere and read it whenever you need a little reminder of what’s essential. The more you can live according to your values and wants, the happier you can be. And ultimately, that’s the best way to gain back some of the self-love you lost in the past.

2. Practice Self-Care to Show Some Self-Love

Everyone seems to be making a big deal about self-care lately, but still, the concept is way more trivialized than it should be. Contrary to popular opinion, self-care isn’t just about pampering yourself and taking bubble baths. It’s so much more than that. Sure, it can also be about taking a nice, relaxing bath while doing a face mask.

But it’s more about caring for yourself and working on your psychological and emotional well-being. So, the aim matters no matter what activity you choose to practice. You work out, pamper yourself, or decide to spend time reading a book. Whatever you do, if you do it for yourself, that’s all that matters.

Self-care is important because it allows you to spend time with your thoughts. Plus, when you do something just for yourself, it will enable you to feel special. Sure, it would be nice if other people would do special things for you. But the world isn’t always that nice. Though, you can always make sure that you do things for yourself. Making a conscious effort to look after yourself will help you understand your worth and why you should start to love yourself again.

3. Surround Yourself with Good People to Increase Self-Respect

Sure, self-respect comes from within. And you are the only one who can ensure you treat yourself with the care and love you deserve. That said, it’s essential to surround yourself with good people, not just because the right people can build you up, even though that’s also an important aspect.

But having the wrong people in your life can destroy even the tiniest shred of self-respect you once had. As mentioned before, the people around you can affect how you see yourself. And, more often than not, the bad people in your life make you lose sight of who you are and your values. So, you need to identify if you have such people in your life so that you can cut them out of your life.

Even though self-love comes from within, no one needs toxic people around them. It’s better to have fewer people in your life, but make sure those people can add value to your life. Otherwise, you’ll let others’ unfounded opinions affect your thinking.


Final Thoughts on How to Stop Making Yourself Small to Please Others

The only person you can count on for the rest of your life is yourself. So, you need to treat yourself with kindness and respect. Even though there are many reasons why your self-respect might be rusty, that doesn’t mean you can’t do things to fix that. There’s always progress to be made. You have to be determined to work on bettering yourself.

First things first, you need to understand what your values are so that you can stop blindly following everyone else’s. Then, you can focus on self-love and happiness. Make time to do the things you love, or at least allow yourself some time to take a nice, relaxing bath. Lastly, make sure that you are surrounded by people who can lift you instead of tearing you down.