Self-respect forms the foundation of all the decisions you’ll ever make, how you treat yourself, and how you allow others to treat you. But is self-respect crucial for happiness?
You may think the key to happiness lies in health, wealth, and the success of your personal relationships. And all these things are key elements on the path to greater fulfillment.
But what many fail to recognize is that self-respect is crucial for happiness.
What Is Self-Respect and Why Is It Important?
Self-respect means having confidence in yourself and behaving with grace, honor, and dignity.
The difference between self-respect and self-esteem
Self-esteem is knowing you can conduct yourself confidently in every situation. Outwardly, you are successful, which contributes to your self-esteem. But it’s possible to experience and act with self-esteem while having little self-respect.
The problem with just relying on self-esteem, or being caught up in this evaluative framework, is the moment you have a bad day and doubt yourself, you fall prone to blame, guilt, regret, and stress.
The difference between self-respect and ego
Self-respect is the respect you have for yourself, while ego is your understanding of your own importance.
An inflated ego may be borne from too much self-esteem, or when you realized just how important and special you are inspired by mental imbalances. People with a huge ego sometimes feel unequal to others because, deep inside, they feel worthless and undeserving of respect.
But when you respect yourself, the ego is still naturally present but does not play a huge part in your actions. The person with self-respect simply likes themselves, which is not contingent on their own personal successes or failures.
What Is Self-Respect In a Relationship?
While it is very important to respect your partner when you are in a relationship, it is equally important to respect yourself too.
In fact, self-respect is the foundation of all strong and healthy relationships.
When you accept yourself as a whole person, with both flaws and strengths, it changes how others perceive you. When you know who you are and how much you’re worth, you will not let anyone, and not even your partner, treat you as a doormat.
That is why you should practice self-respect in all of your relationships: with your partner, friends, parents, and everyone you meet.
When you lack self-respect and self-love
Before we explore why self-respect is crucial for happiness, we must first learn to recognize the red flags of low self-esteem.
1. You’re the doormat
If you’re always the one that people ask things for without giving back anything in return, then you might need to build up your self-love. The same is true if you let people walk all over you, giving in to their wishes even though you hate it.
2. You lose yourself in a relationship
You start a relationship and then, in the process, completely forget who and what you are. Decisions are made without your approval or notice, and you just plod along. You forget your values and find yourself doing things you wouldn’t normally do, which is totally against your true nature.
3. You are attention seeking
You’re dying for validation which your low self-esteem cannot provide. Instead, you follow an image or symbol in order to gain attention and sometimes do stupid and erratic things, like making a fool of yourself at a party or the office.
4. You overindulge in bad habits
You’re drinking, drugging, overeating, self-harming, punishing yourself, and your body. Food and drugs become ways to indulge and forget.
5. You care for people who don’t care for you
You’ll move mountains for someone who doesn’t even take notice of you. You keep making excuses for those who wouldn’t think twice to throw you under the bus.
6. You tolerate verbal, mental, or physical abuse
You tolerate abusive partners and nasty people because you remember that one time they really treated you nicely, and you hang on to that feeling of belonging.
7. You have desperate, casual sex
You have sex with someone just because you need the attention. Your sex isn’t liberated, fun, or respectful. You don’t enjoy it, but instead, use sex as a way to feel you belong or are loved.
8. You are a puppet
You meekly go along because you genuinely believe you have nothing of value to add to a conversation, relationship, or meeting because you think your opinions offer no value.
9. You became untidy and sloppy
Your surroundings are a mess. Your room is scattered with clothing and the sink in the kitchen is constantly full of dishes. You don’t’ care about cleaning up and just want to sleep all day.
Why Self-Respect Is Crucial for Happiness
So, we know how to recognize the red flags of low self-esteem. But why is self-respect crucial for happiness?
1. Self-respect exhibits toughness and moral nerve
You will display strong character with the willingness to accept responsibility for your own life, and you’ll fight for your values and beliefs, no matter what. This will make everyone else take note and admire your courage.
2. Self-respect makes you a better person and partner
If you respect yourself, you believe you’re a worthy individual. And when you feel worthy, you believe you are deserving of love and respect. And when you command respect from others around you, they’d start to appreciate you more and take you more seriously.
3. No more need for comparisons
When you love yourself, you feel good, you value your attributes, your talents, your skills, and your abilities. This means that you never compare yourself to others, and you don’t feel jealous when others shine in their own way.
How Do You Show Self Respect?
1. Respect your beliefs and values
Determine which of your beliefs and values reflect your authentic self. Stick to them. It’s yours, and you don’t need to change them for anyone. Under no circumstances should you change your values to suit someone else, as then you will let yourself down.
2. Respect your body
It’s the only one you have. Take care of it and pamper yourself often. Live healthily and make exercise a lifestyle priority.
3. Respect your environment
If you can’t take care of your home or car, you can’t take care of yourself. Clean up, de-clutter, and surround yourself with beautiful things that are a reflection of your beauty and character.
4. Respect your interests
Stop hiding your hobbies. Openly share your passions. There are plenty of people who will be interested in the real you.
5. Respect your word
The most powerful tool to have is your word. So stay honest, form opinions, and openly communicate how you really feel. You owe it to yourself to speak up.
6. Respect your boundaries
People will value you less when they realize you’re spineless and easily manipulated. Understand your limits and learn to say no.
7. Respect your fears
If you try to escape or run from your fears, they will gain power over you. Face your fears head-on, and push through them.
8. Respect your failures
They are an incredible feedback system. Stop seeing the negatives, turn them to your advantage, find legitimate value in them, and learn from them.
9. Respect your time
Manage your time efficiently. Ask yourself what’s really important and balance your priorities.
10. Respect elderly advice
Maya Angelou perfectly said: “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” Find quotes from the elders to strengthen your character and thinking.
11. Respect your weaknesses
Always see them as opportunities for growth and character-building.
12. Respect your goals and dreams
Make a list of goals and start with the easiest one. Accomplish it, feel great that you did something for yourself. You’ll start to become confident in your abilities while simultaneously achieving what you want.
13. Respect your feelings
Don’t stay in a job that makes you miserable. Don’t stay in a relationship that makes you sad. Don’t do something if it doesn’t feel right.
14. Respect your opportunities
Say yes more often, it will give you many new adventures and experiences and expand your comfort zone needed for growth.
15. Respect your needs first
Find what will make you happy and don’t try to meet someone else’s needs before you took care of your own.
16. Respect and accept the retaliation
The people who retaliate to your changes are always the people who were manipulating and using you in the first place, causing your low self-esteem and self-doubt. Shut them out of your life.
17. Respect your actions
Action is the most powerful force for positive change. Even if it is not the right action, it still releases energy. Combine action with a positive attitude, regardless of your thoughts and feelings, as your actions and attitude will eventually impact your self-esteem.
18. Respect your accountability and responsibility
Accountability and responsibility have been proven to accelerate action and success. Stand tall, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
19. Respect your thoughts
Let your thoughts come and go, accept them, and then teach yourself to think positively through stillness or meditation. Change the way you think, talk, and behave toward yourself.
20. Respect the company of respectful people
You are a combination of the people you spend the most time with. Respect yourself enough to make sure those people are positive influences. Actively seek out people who treat you the best way possible.
21. Respect your new confidence
Do things that you’re good at. Accept compliments. The more you do things that build up your confidence, the more confident you’ll feel.
22. Respect honesty
Honesty is the ultimate sign of respect. When you’re honest with yourself, you’ll see what’s good for you and what’s not.
23. Respect acceptance
To respect something is to accept it. To respect yourself is to accept yourself. So it’s only until you truly love and respect yourself, accepting who and what you are, that you can start to believe you are worthy of another person’s love and respect.
So, in the end, it boils down to this: accept yourself, respect your efforts, and you will, in the end, respect yourself.
And self-respect leads to self-discipline.
Now that’s real power.