One of the ways to love myself is through self-RESPECT.
This is a BIG word with a LOT of responsibility and it touches many aspects of my life. Respect is important for my relationships, my health and my career, to name the areas of my life that I often need to pay special attention to.
In my relationships, I respect who I am by communicating my needs and desires to my partner. I want to be myself, instead of pretending to be someone else or the person my partner would want me to be. I value myself, my body and all that I have to offer. I stand for what I believe in and I negotiate as required without compromising myself or my core principles. This respect for who I am inside and out shows my partner how I want to be treated, with equal respect.
In the area of health, the respect I have for my body is important both for my physical maintenance and for the message I will portray about myself to others. Respect for my body includes following a good diet, keeping reasonably fit, not abusing my body with harmful products, keeping good hygiene and even making an effort to look good, to be proud of my appearance. In the area of health, my self-respect will be reflected through my poise and will dictate the way others will see and respect me. “This person seems to pay special attention to herself”, the impression says she must have special value because she does a good job of loving and respecting herself. And YES I do have special value, as do YOU! I deserve my special treatment and I require it of myself! This will in turn show others how I would like them to treat me.
In my career, acknowledgement of my strengths and my weaknesses allows me to evaluate my potential and to know where I need more push to succeed. My self-respect allows me to be fair with myself, to know and accept my capabilities and my limitations as well as to want to grow by learning through new challenges. I am comfortable with my boundaries and I find motivation within myself to push forward towards my ambitions. Self-respect dictates that I stand up for my rights, that I welcome credit when it is offered, that I accept to be held responsible and accountable for my work and that I know my value in the professional world. My self-respect will ensure that I grow professionally and that I build strong relationships for mutual success.
Self-respect requires that I find balance in my life, that I value my time and protect myself from external stresses. Again, this self-respect will dictate how I expect others to treat me.
Respect of my mind and soul will also help me keep my thoughts in harmony with my intentions. Self-respect manages the integrity of my person, in all aspects of my life. Not only will this encourage others to respect me in the same way, but my self-respect will teach me to respect others as well. I will treat others the way I want to be treated as well.
Let’s look at a very stereotypical example to show how respect makes a difference in the way I treat myself and how others treat me. If I am overweight and a smoker, if I don’t mind dressing in stained clothes, if I hardly leave the house other than to go to work where I don’t leave my cubicle, my main hobby is playing farmville and if I do my 9 to 5 job without putting in any extra effort, there is little chance that I am living a happy and healthy life. My lack of self-respect prevents me from properly taking care of myself and my appearance, to the point where my behaviour is even detrimental to my physical health. I am not interested in any type of social interaction, I do not encourage it and if I did, I would probably repel potential friends anyway. I don’t even respect my mind’s potential, my need to achieve or to learn and grow. My lack of respect has affected many areas of my life and will possibly cause enough dissatisfaction and stress to eventually kill me.
This may or may not be a grossly exaggerated situation… as sad as it is to say…
Fortunately, self-respect is learned and this attitude is reversible with support. The compilation of past experiences that have brought me to this behaviour can be analyzed and broken down for a better and healthier understanding, leading to a more appropriate reaction. Support is important as these issues are very emotional and it is difficult to be objective about them. The right person with the right thought provoking questions, can bring out the sources of the key problems.
Journal Writing of course is another tremendously helpful tool. Writing about these issues is difficult but as the mind spills out its concerns, these come up to a conscious level (as opposed to staying subconscious) and available to be dealt with. The best way to start is to write a description of you and continue with: What does this say about me? Does it show that I have respect for me or just the opposite? It is painful to hear this sometimes, but the exercise is very invigorating!
Respect touches so many areas of my life and my self-respect is primary in teaching others how I want to be treated. What is also interesting is that it is also contagious in the sense that when I show others how I treat myself and how I would like to be treated, it sets a standard that others will want to match or exceed. This is not a competition but a quest for happiness and a better life.
It’s my quest for TheNewHappyMe.