Hey there! Today we are discussing the concept of self-respect.
To respect oneself is not always an easy thing to do. But let’s find some ways to help disrespect ourselves less. And of course, some ways to respect ourselves more.
Inevitable Disrespect on the Path to Self-Respect.
Self-respect is defined as “pride and confidence in oneself; a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity.” It is a beautiful thing to be able to respect ourselves. But the path to being able to respect ourselves is not always an easy one. Quite often on the journey, we learn how to practice self-respect because of the pain of disrespect.
Feeling disrespected can come from anybody in any relationship. But I don’t feel off in saying that who disrespects us the most, is probably ourselves. We show ourselves disrespect in many ways. It, of course, may come from the actions of others. But more often from actions of our own. It is pretty much impossible to feel self-respect when we are allowing ourselves or others to treat us disrespectfully.
We must come to know what we are willing to put up with, and what we will not. Most of us disrespect ourselves often as we go about our days and our lives. The ways that we do this may be subtle, or they may be blatant. They may be something we are aware of, or we may be blind to the reality of our self-disrespectful ways.
Whether we are setting ourselves up to lose self-respect because of the allowing the behaviors of others, or our own, we must set personal boundaries with all these behaviors so they don’t cause harm to our ability to respect ourselves. But to set these boundaries we must first come to know ourselves, to know what is appropriate.
To Know Ourselves.
To respect ourselves, we must come to know ourselves. But what is it to come to know ourselves? We must become aware of our bodies’ impulses, habits, and tendencies. As well as what beliefs and morals are guiding these impulses. In a recent article we discussed coming to know ourselves so if you have any questions about that area please check it out.
Getting to know who we are, enables us to purposely act in ways that will enhance self-respect. As well as help us avoid the impulses to behave in ways that would dampen it. Knowing ourselves and accepting those new realities about ourselves will make behaving in ways that are trigger disrespect, much more difficult to act on. As well as give a powerful tug from our consciences that let us know we shouldn’t have done what we just did. Which may bring a stinging of guilt and shame but ultimately give us the chance to change our ways for the better.
Self-knowledge also allows us to understand and feel what boundaries we need to set with other people. Disallowing individuals to treat us in ways that may harm the way we view ourselves. We are the only ones that can truly figure out what we should put up with, and what we should not.
Coming to know ourselves on a deep level is immensely important, of course. But knowing ourselves is not enough for building the amount we respect ourselves. We also must learn to be ourselves.
To Be Ourselves.
Not only must one come to know themselves to respect themselves. We must also be ourselves to respect ourselves. By neglecting to be ourselves, we are showing ourselves disrespect. It is difficult to feel genuine self-respect when neglecting to act and speak in ways that reflect our nature.
The same goes for when we are consistently treating others with disrespect we are also disrespecting ourselves. Of course, treating people respectfully doesn’t mean just agreeing to everything they say or even refraining from arguing with them. And it certainly doesn’t mean letting them walk all over us. Challenging other people to think, and having firm boundaries with others, respects ourselves well at the same time respecting the other.
Acting by the Golden Rule asks us to “treat others as we would like to be treated.” This universally believed rule is at the heart of most religious thought. It implies that it is in our nature to desire respectful treatment. And in our nature to give it. There are physiological rewards to be found in treating others well. It is a beautiful outlet for our bodily impulses, which are pleased when given a connection to our fellows.
To be ourselves is to allow the energy that flows within us to have its healthy expression which breeds self-respect. To close our energies off from healthy expression, or expressing in harmful ways we as well as our self-respect will suffer. Whether we are immediately aware of this or not.
Developing a Self-respect Routine.
The responsibility for respecting ourselves rides solely on our own shoulders. This responsibility is a great one. Requiring our commitment and vigilance to a routine that will make consistent self-respect not only a possibility but a reality.
1. Self-respecting Routine.
To build a self-respecting routine. We must come to know ourselves, to come to be ourselves, to respect ourselves. A routine is something that we set in place, scheduling in activities that will make results that we desire, possible. To get the most out of a routine it must consistently enough that it almost becomes second nature. Though at first and at difficult times, it may feel like something very foreign, even intrusive to our lives.
But to build self-respect, consistent application of self-respecting actions is a must. All the thinking in the world will not be enough to keep us in a self-respecting state.
2. Resolve to Show up and Be Productive.
It’s, of course, important to show up to be a part of our relationships, as in being physically present. But it’s entirely another thing to ACTUALLY SHOW UP. Meaning that we are engaged, actively listening, and looking for creative solutions to problems.
To really show up to life takes commitment. It requires that we are mindful, thoughtful, and seeking to help. This is whether at work, home or in the community. Routinely seeking to enhance the quality of our surroundings has positive effects on the growth of self-respect.
3. Treating Others Well.
To treat others well is to treat them respectfully. It is to treat others as if they are intelligent and loving creatures. Even if they aren’t able to immediately prove that to themselves or most others. Treating others well means dropping our harsh judgments about there characters. Instead, seeking to honor their positive qualities.
But treating others well is also about developing healthy boundaries. By letting someone take advantage of our kindness, we are not respecting them. We are only allowing their disrespectful routine to run havoc in their, and our lives. Not enabling the crappy actions may not end their unhealthy routine, but it will send a loud message. And just maybe we can help change the course of their life. There are plenty of other healthy places to direct our kindness,
For today I urge you to do something to respect the nature of some individual in your life. Whether that is giving a compliment, offering assistance, or even telling them no and that you can’t allow them to use you anymore. Do this today, and look to do it tomorrow, that is what consistent routines are all about, consistent practice.
4. Engage Routinely in Healthy Activities.
To engage in healthy activities is to do something enjoyable. That could be going outside to shoot some hoops, knitting a sweater in a, calling a friend or writing a novel. It can be anything really, anything that you enjoy. Set out to do something every single day that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to cause a dime, but it will cost just a little bit of time.
5. Respecting our Emotional States.
When feeling emotionally heavy and run down it can be difficult to feel respected, as well as difficult to keep up with a routine. And that is okay, emotions run through us often that simply do not feel good. It really isn’t even reasonable to think that we will always feel good. But when you are not feeling good, to respect that feeling, is also respecting yourself.
You can also respect that feeling by kindly but firmly letting it know that all is going to be okay. And that getting up and having a little bit of fun, practicing gratitude or processing some of this emotion through therapeutic writing will help out greatly. Emotions come and go if allowed. The more we respect them, the less likely they will trigger our impulses to act in ways that will damage our self-respect.
Continuing with a self-respect building routine will also help with our emotional state. The stronger we adhere to the routine, the more secure we will be to process these emotions successfully. And the more successfully we process these emotions, the faster we will get back to more positive frames of mind.
Doesn’t more positivity and self-respect sound good to you?