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.
Unfortunately, while growing up, everyone repeatedly told you to respect others. And because of this, you may have become obsessed with pleasing everyone else, putting yourself last, as you were told self-importance was wrong.
And in-between you started to confuse self-respect with overconfidence or having an inflated ego.
What Is Self-Respect?
A broad definition of self-respect could be interpreted as having pride and 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 well in a given situation. Outwardly, you are successful which contributes to your self-esteem. And believe it or not, it’s possible to act with self-esteem while having very little self-respect.
The problem with 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 and believe in yourself, the ego is naturally present but does not play a huge part in your actions. The person with self-respect simply likes himself/herself, which is not contingent on success or failure.
What Does a Lack of Self-Respect and Self-Love Look Like?
You’re the doormat – If you’re always the one that people ask things for without giving back anything in return. People walk over you to get their way, and you just give in to their wishes, even though you hate it.
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.
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.
You overindulge in bad habits – You’re drinking, drugging, overeating, self-harming, and punishing yourself and your body. Food and drugs become ways to indulge and forget.
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 someone who wouldn’t think twice to throw you under the bus.
You tolerate verbal, mental, or physical abuse – You tolerate abusive partners and nasty people because you remember that one time they treated you nicely, and you hang on to that feeling of belonging.
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 at all and just do it to feel you belong.
You are a puppet – You meekly follow 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.
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.
Here’s Why Self-Respect Is So Vitally Important
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.
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 start to appreciate you more and take you more seriously.
No more need for comparisons – When you love yourself you feel good, you value your attributes, your talents your skills and abilities. Which means, you never compare yourself to others, as you will also allow others to shine in their own way.
23 Ways to Respect Yourself More
Respect your beliefs and values: Determine your beliefs and values which reflect your authentic self. Stick to them. You don’t need to change them for anyone. Under no circumstances change your values to suit someone else, as then you will let yourself down.
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.
Respect your environment: If you can’t take care of your home or car, you can’t take care of yourself. Clean up, declutter and surround yourself with beautiful things that are a reflection of your beauty and character.
Respect your interests: Stop hiding your hobbies and openly share your passions. There are plenty of people who will be interested in the real you.
Respect your word: The most powerful tool to have is an opinion and to stay honest – communicate how you really feel at all times, you owe it to yourself to speak up.
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.
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.
Respect your failures: Your failures are an incredible feedback system. Stop seeing the negatives, turn them to your advantage and find legitimate value in them.
Respect your time: Manage your time efficiently. Ask yourself what’s really important and balance your priorities.
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.
Respect your weaknesses: Always see them as opportunities for growth and character-building.
Respect your goals and dreams: Make a list of goals and start with the easiest one. Accomplish it, and feel great that you did something for yourself. You’ll start to become confident in your abilities while simultaneously achieving what you want.
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
Respect your opportunities: Say yes more often, it will give you many new adventures and experiences and expand your comfort zone needed for growth.
Respect your needs first: Find what will make you happy and don’t try to meet someone else’s needs before you take care of your own.
Respect and accept the retaliation: The people who retaliate against 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.
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.
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.
Respect your thoughts: Let your thoughts come and go, accept them and then tune them to become more positive while in stillness or meditation. Change the way you think, talk and behave toward yourself.
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.
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.
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.
Respect acceptance: To respect something, is to accept it. To respect yourself is to accept yourself. So it’s only when 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.