Practicing self-respect: 9 Effective strategies

Although you may not be aware of this in your everyday life, how you take care of yourself is critical to your quality of life. Self-respect is indicative of how you view yourself. And showing self-respect keeps your positive feelings about you flowing and growing. Feeling good about yourself and demonstrating self-respect are a chicken and egg situation: it can be difficult to tell which comes first. Do positive emotions and thoughts about yourself lead to self-respect or is it the other way around? The truth is that they both influence each other. When you practice self-respect, you will feel more positive emotions and thoughts about yourself. Also, when you experience more positive emotions and thoughts about yourself, self-respect will come naturally.

This may sound a little confusing but the good news is that there are so many things which you can do to improve your self-respect that, once you try, you cannot really fail.

Tips to help you increase your self-respect

There is a great deal of negativity in the world today and this makes it very easy to lose self-respect and develop a negative view of yourself. While none of us are perfect, we all have characteristics and achievements which we should respect about ourselves. Self-respect fosters self-belief and this is essential if you want to make the most of your life. The following tips will help you to develop a healthy level of self-respect.

1. Choose self-respect

As with any change, the first and most important step is to make the commitment to change. Developing self-respect is no different. Before you go any further, make the commitment to practice self-respect on a daily basis.

2. Consider your own feelings

Your emotions are at least as important as everyone else’s. So, if you’re uncomfortable, act on that information. Take your own feelings into account in your everyday life and the decisions you make.

Sadly, many people have been thought to require the approval of others. When you require the approval of others, you are disrespecting yourself by placing the wants, needs, desires and opinions of others before your own i.e. you are telling yourself that they are more worthy than you.

3. Avoid making self-deprecating comments

Such remarks are often used as humor, which can build rapport between people. However, if you’re uncertain about whether you treat yourself with the respect you deserve, avoid making them until you’re more sure of yourself. Otherwise your self-confidence will suffer greatly.

What you say about yourself over and over becomes what you believe; unless you are clear on the boundary between self-deprecating humour and genuine self-deprecation. If you struggle with a lack of self-respect, it is safe to assume that you are not clear on where that boundary lies. For that reason, you should avoid all self-deprecating comments until you have reached a point where your self-respect is unshakeable.

4.  Keep a journal

A journal is a simple but powerful tool for creating personal change. There are many different things for which you can use a journal but in this instance you are trying to monitor the frequency with which you lack self-respect. Record each time that you disrespect yourself. Note what was going through your mind and how you were feeling. Over time, you will see a pattern for this behavior which you can deal with.

5.  Take care of your emotional needs

Self-respect is apparent through the things you do to make yourself comfortable, content, and happy. If a relationship constantly makes you feel emotionally upset or out of balance, perhaps it’s time to do something about it.

Each of us has emotional needs and as kind and generous as most people are, you cannot depend on others to ensure that your emotional needs are met; they have their own life to live. You need to notice your own emotional needs and ensure that they are met. Keeping a journal can be very helpful with this.

6.  Acknowledge to yourself that you deserve respectful treatment

We allow others to treat us in the manner that we expect to be treated. We teach others how to treat us. If you find that others are not treating you with respect, you need to question whether you actually expect to get treated with respect. This is the very essence of assertiveness.

This is as simple as it gets: because you’re a human being, you deserve to be treated with fundamental human courtesies, including respect. Recognise your own value. When you expect to be treated with respect, you will find that this usually occurs. Where it does not occur, you will find that you become more confident at speaking up and refusing to be treated in a disrespectful manner.

7. Avoid allowing anyone to treat you disrespectfully

Be clear that you expect to be treated with kindness and care, whether you’re interacting with a co-worker, partner, or your child.

Sometimes, you might think you’re giving someone a break by not insisting on being treated well. However, when you allow others to treat you poorly, you’re slacking on your own self-care and enabling them to practice negative interpersonal habits as well. When you allow others to disrespect you, nobody wins. There are many, easy to implement strategies which can help you to communicate respectfully with others.

Note: to be clear, if standing up for your rights puts you in any immediate danger, it is best to avoid doing so and remove yourself from the situation at the first possible opportunity. If necessary, seek help.

8. Behave in ways that show you care

How you conduct yourself sends a strong message to the world.

Taking care of your body, watching the language you use, and refraining from engaging in socially unacceptable behaviors shows that you have a certain measure of respect for yourself.

Think of someone you admire and respect. What is it about the person that earns your respect? Strive to emulate this person. You’ll be amazed how your self-respect will grow.

9.  Treat others with respect

In order to treat others with respect, you need to have a clear idea about how to act in respectful ways. Then, you can turn those same responses toward yourself. Make showing respect a way of life.

I mentioned earlier that you teach others how to treat you. One way that you do this is by refusing to allow others to disrespect you. Just as important is to demonstrate the respectful behavior that you expect by treating others with the utmost respect. When you treat others with respect, they are likely to follow your lead and act in a similar way.

As Gandhi said ‘Be the change you wish to see’ i.e. if you want to see more respect, then you must give more respect.

Self-respect is a cornerstone of self-confidence. If you are struggling with self-confidence, check out Unbreakable Self Confidence.

Life is built from the inside out. Before you can create your external world you must be able to create it internally e.g. have a clear purpose for life, set and visualise effective goals. The same goes for relationships. If you want to build relationships based on respect then the most important relationship of all must be based on respect i.e. your relationship with yourself. Self-respect impacts every area of your life. Try out some of these strategies for practicing self-respect today. As you make these practices habitual, you’ll automatically treat yourself and others in respectful ways. You’ll be amazed at how much your quality of life will increase!