As we try to help mold the world around us by interacting with the things that we can change, we must remember to not forget to do the internal work of changing ourselves. We have talked in the past about perseverance, self-mastery and control. But, I am talking about something deeper than that today.
As we expect others to respect us, we in turn must give them something worth respecting. Are you always true to your word? Or, do you hedge a bit depending on who you are with? Are you reliable and punctual? Or. does everyone have to wait around for you to get your head in the game? Are you a leader? Or, are you just a bully in disguise?
The manner in which you think of yourself and take care of yourself is critical to your quality of life. Self-respect is a very strong indication of how you view yourself. And, how you view yourself is reflected in how others will view you. The link is that you must first truly respect yourself, your gifts and your talents before you honestly earn, and keep, the respect of others.
Here are a few tips:
1. Assess your own feelings. Your emotions are at least as important as everyone else’s. So, if you are feeling uncomfortable with a situation, act on that information. Take your own feelings into account in your everyday life and in all of the decisions that you make.
2. Stop putting yourself down. Avoid making self-deprecating comments, verbally and subconsciously. Such remarks are often used as as a form of humor which can help build rapport between people. However, if you are uncertain about whether you treat yourself with the respect you deserve, avoid making them until you are feeling more sure of yourself. What you say about yourself over and over becomes what you eventually come to believe.
3. Emotionally support… yourself. Take care of your own emotional needs. Self-respect is apparent through the things that you do to make yourself comfortable, content, and happy. If you find yourself in a relationship that constantly makes you feel emotionally upset or out of balance, maybe, just maybe, it is time to figure out another way of doing things. You are the only person that you can be absolutely assured will be there to take care of you emotionally.
4. Act like you care. Behave in ways that show that you care about yourself. How you conduct yourself sends a strong message to the rest of the world. Taking care of your body, watching the language you use, and refraining from engaging in socially unacceptable behaviors (such as drinking too much, losing your temper, or speaking inappropriately) show that you have a certain measure of respect for yourself.
5. Model the behavior you wish to see in others and in yourself. Look at your role models. Think of someone you admire and respect. What is it about the person that earns your respect? Strive to emulate that trait. You will be amazed how your self-respect will blossom.
6. Show respect, always. Treat others with respect. In order to treat others with respect, you need to have a clear idea about how to act in respectful ways. Then, you can turn those same responses toward yourself. Make showing respect a priority in the way you live.
If you have not been treating yourself very well, try out a few of these strategies for practicing self-respect today. As you make these practices habitual, you will automatically begin to treat yourself and others in more respectful ways. You will be amazed at how much your quality of life will improve!
1. Get one sheet of paper, index card or 3 inch sticky note.
2. Write your self- affirming statement on it. Something like, “I am a handsome guy,” “I am a beautiful and strong woman.” Choose what works for you, or what you want to model.
3. Tape it on your bathroom mirror. Every morning and every evening say the words out loud to yourself. Yes, it will feel silly in the beginning. But we want to plant this message so deep inside that we believe it, act like it, and eventually become it.
4. Do the work to build yourself up! You are worth it!