How To Build Self-Respect

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Struggling with self-respect? Here’s how to start

Are you taking self-respect for granted and wondering why others don’t respect you? Motivational speaker and author Lisa Nichols explains it well: you offer the world the best example of how the world gets to treat you. If you disrespect your time by, say, saying yes when you mean no…other people will follow suit and disrespect your time as well.

Nathaniel Branden reiterates this in his book The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem. He writes that if you behave in a certain way, other people will simply follow suit that if you think being treated badly is normal, the bad treatments will keep on coming.

Self-respect is having confidence in yourself and accepting yourself as you are. Ellen Jane Langer, when highlighting the difference between self-esteem and self-respect in an article in Psychology Today, wrote that while to esteem something is to look at it positively, to respect something is to accept it.

Self-respect is therefore a cornerstone of life, important for successful careers and relationships. How to build it? Here’s how.

Know Yourself

It can be challenging to respect yourself if you don’t really know who you are. Blind spots in self-knowledge, according to a study in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, can lead to negative consequences such as communication and relationship issues, bad decision making and low satisfaction in life. According to the author of the study Erika Carlson, mindfulness can help with self-knowledge. Mindfulness involves living in the moment, examining your current experiences with a non-judgmental eye. To help with that, try seeing yourself the way a friend would.

Set Boundaries

Are you the person at work who always says yes for whatever reason and ends up burnt out? Do you put the needs of others ahead of yours? It’s time you learn how to set healthy boundaries. A big part of setting boundaries is being comfortable with the word ‘no’. If you think saying ‘no’ will make people like you less, consider this example: your boss will not hesitate to call you over the weekend to ask you to do something because you’ve shown that you are a yes-person. As mentioned earlier, people will treat you the way you treat yourself. If you show them you don’t respect your time, sanity or health, they will not respect your time – they will always ask for favours or make requests because you’ve allowed it. With time, you’ll be burnt out and resentful.

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