Respect comes in two forms: self-respect and respect from others. These two types of respect, however, are intertwined.
Consider what happens when you lack self-respect. You are on the losing end of every relationship. You’re more willing to indulge in negative habits. People treat you like a doormat. Your life and environment are often in shambles. When you lack self-respect, you don’t get respect from others either.
Think about the people you know with little self-respect. Compare and contrast those with the people you know that have a high degree of self-respect.
As you can see, greater respect makes for a more enjoyable life. You can never have too much respect. So, what can you do to improve the respect you receive from yourself and others?
- Forgive yourself for your mistakes. You have enough compassion and respect for others to forgive them. You should extend the same consideration to yourself. You don’t know anyone that’s perfect, so it’s not fair to demand perfection from yourself.
- Live according to your values. Respect yourself by living the way you think a person should live. Respect your beliefs and preferences. You have your own set of values. There’s no reason to abandon your values to accommodate someone else’s. Your values are the most important in your life.
- Be choosy about who you allow into your life. You wouldn’t allow just anyone into your child’s life. Show the same distinction when it comes to your social circle. If someone isn’t pretty great, why are you spending time with them? Have high standards. The people around you can quickly lift you up or drag you down.
- Take care of yourself. You deserve the best. At a minimum, this means healthy food, exercise, and enough sleep. Pay attention to your grooming. See the doctor. Amuse yourself. Spend money on yourself. No one else is as interested in your wellbeing as you are, so take full responsibility.
- Avoid comparing yourself to others. You’re so great, there’s no reason to compare yourself to anyone else. You disrespect your individuality when you compare yourself to someone else. Do your own thing. If you want to make comparisons, compare yourself now to your past self.
- Follow your dreams. What you want and love matters. Avoid giving up on your dreams too easily. Live a life that excites you. Maybe your parents want you to be a lawyer or a CEO. Who cares? Let them go to law school.
- Stop worrying about the opinions of others. If you’re happy with yourself and your life, the opinions of others don’t matter. When you care what others think about you, you’re giving their opinions more value than your own. That’s a form of disrespecting yourself.
- Speak kindly to yourself. Do you ever think of yourself as stupid, worthless, or incapable? Now is the time to stop. Would you speak that way to someone you respect? Of course not. Think about how you would behave toward someone you greatly respect. Now, treat yourself even better.
- Avoid settling. You deserve good things. In fact, you deserve great things. Avoid settling for anything that isn’t up to your high standards.
- Be honest. Dishonesty comes from a lack of self-respect. Be open about your beliefs and preferences. Be honest with yourself and others. If someone asks for your preference or opinion and you lie and say, “I don’t care” or “I don’t know,” you’re disrespecting yourself.
Self-respect and self-esteem go hand in hand. Be the kind of person that you would be proud to show the world. It’s questionable if happiness is even possible without self-respect. So, there is much to gain by respecting yourself. Respect yourself and others, and you’ll get the respect you deserve from the world.