Aretha sang R-E-S-P-E-C-T demanding respect, and we may surely feel we deserve more respect from someone around us, but what about from ourselves?
How can we expect to be productive, happy, and confident people if we lack a fundamental self respect?
What are some examples where self respect is suffering?
1. Negative self-talk, where you demean or talk negatively about yourself. You wouldn't think saying "You suck at…" would be respectful to someone else, so goes your self-respect if you say those sorts of things to yourself. My son was at a baseball tryout today and did quite well, but missed a few ground balls, he came over to me and said "I suck at baseball". I talked to him about self respect and how it would lead to self confidence, and ultimately better results (as there is a direct connection in the brain between how we THINK we are going to do at something and how we ACTUALLY do)
2. Giving in to someone else all the time. I see this every day, people don't defend (or even express) their own point of view, but instead lack so much respect for themselves that they just stay silent and allow someone else to dominate. It may seem to have no impact at the time, but each time you let this happen you lose more self respect, lose more self confidence and take a step back from living a full, on-purpose and happy life
3. Selling yourself short. So many people underachieve compared to what is possible in their lives. They may do this because of a negative past life experience, a fear, laziness – all of which leads to a low self respect and ultimately, others will think the same. Would you rather be with someone who dreams big and reaches for the stars or someone who has chosen to live the safe, uneventful, boring life? I don't mean you have to immediately become a risk taker, rock climber, race car driver, etc…it's not about becoming more Xtreme, but it IS about thinking big, not being afraid and constantly having enough self-respect to believe that anything is possible if you truly want it bad enough.
So how do you go about improving your self-respect?
1. Start by thinking back in your life when you did have the most self-respect, when you felt like you were unstoppable, at the top of your game and proud of your achievements. Can you remember how that felt? Why did that situation make you feel that way? You want to learn from those experiences so you can re-create that time in your life (albeit applied to the present, not the past)
2. Give yourself the freedom to think anything, but then edit those thoughts to adhere to the principles of self respect. You don't want to pretend you don't have negative, conflicting thoughts – that would be unhealthy. Instead, acknowledge those thoughts, but realize they are leading you down a path of low self-respect, so alter those thoughts to be more in line with what you want. For example, someone you love tells you they want you to do something you would prefer not to do…acknowledge that at first your thought is to give in the avoid conflict, but then ask yourself – is that really what I want? Wouldn't it be better if they knew my point of view? Wouldn't anyone who really loved me respect me more if I showed my own self-respect?
3. Put your emotions into perspective…this is where we use meditation as a mechanism to help put our thoughts, fears, emotions into more objective perspective. No, we don't turn into unthinking, unfeeling robots, but we also take the edge off of negative emotions that tend to lower our self-respect
4. Choose those around you…only stay around those who will treat you with the respect that you now hold for yourself. By choosing self respect, you have the strength and focus to pick quality friends, employees, jobs, lovers or other significant people with whom you will spend your time
Don't wait another minute, you must learn to improve your self-respect before any personal growth can occur in your life. You can try positive thinking, affirmations, motivational training, time management or any other method of personal development, but if you lack self respect, it just won't take.
What about you, how is your self-respect?