Self-respect means having pride and confidence in yourself and behaving with grace, honor, and dignity. 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. 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 still naturally always 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. Self-esteem is knowing you can conduct yourself well in every situation, and having a good grasp of various things in life. Outwardly, you are successful, which contributes to your self-esteem. But it’s possible to experience and act with self-esteem while having very little self-respect. The problem with just 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.

Why Self-Respect Is 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’d 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  your abilities. Which means that you never compare yourself to others, and you don’t feel jealous when others shine in their own way.

To respect something is to accept it. To respect yourself is to accept yourself. So it’s only until 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.

Life is a series of waves, of peaks and troughs, of ups and downs. No one is happy all the time. We tend to experience more lows than highs, and those lows can be much more intense than the highs are. It’s rare to be in a low point in your life and not know it, but it’s all too easy to be living well and to not fully appreciate it. The best way to improve your life is to have self-respect. To demand that others treat you the way you’d treat them – with compassion and respect. Unfortunately, while growing up, everyone repeatedly told you to respect others. And because of this, you may have became obsessed with pleasing everyone else, putting yourself last, as you were told self-importance was wrong. You might even start to confuse self-respect with over-confidence or having an inflated ego, but that’s not accurate. And new research indicates that self-respect is crucial for happiness. The only thing that really matters in life is being happy. Not just content, not just satisfied, but fulfilled and full of meaning. This is a hard goal to reach, and one that’s impossible to live up to all the time.

Here are some suggestions which will help you to increase your self-respect and improve your life :

Don’t allow yourself to be used. People will attempt to take advantage of you throughout your life. Realising when this is happening can be difficult. People are often sly and manipulative.

Know when to say no. Part of having self-respect is being able to turn people down when you don’t want to do something. Be in control of your life. Tell people ‘no’, and stick to your word.

Don’t feel pressured to make everyone like you. Not everyone you meet will like you, and that’s okay. It would be weird if they did. People are different, people like different things. Some people aren’t nice people. Life goes on. However, don’t use this as an excuse to be rude and nasty to people because “who cares what they think?”. Treating others the way you’d like to be treated is an important part of having self-respect.

Have integrity. Integrity is perhaps the most important and elusive of those traits vital to a sense of self-respect It means holding yourself accountable to your own moral code and principles, and sticking up for what is right – even when (especially when) it’s not beneficial to you personally to do so. The high road is a tough one to tread, but it’s infinitely rewarding.

Stand up for yourself. Don’t allow yourself to be a pushover. In an ideal world, everyone would be nice to each other and we’d all get along. Unfortunately, the real world isn’t like that. When it really comes down to it, you need to have your own back and be willing to get your hands dirty to defend yourself.

Know yourself, know your worth. Have confidence in your abilities. Everyone is good at something, even if you haven’t figured out what that something is yet.  Keep trying new things until you do. You have value and you matter. Remember that.

Do what makes you happy. If being happy is the most important thing in life, then doing whatever makes you happy is the best way to ensure you enjoy your life. As long as it’s not hurting anyone else, do whatever it is you enjoy doing.

Spend your time wisely. Don’t make the mistake of thinking money is the most important commodity in life. Time is. Spend it wisely, doing the things you love and with the people who matter most to you. Once the time is gone, you can’t get it back. Don’t be a person full of regret on their deathbed, thinking of all the things they should have done with the time they had. Your life is ending one second at a time.

Prioritise the important things in your life and balance them. We often try (and more often fail) to juggle a large number of different things Prioritise which ones really matter to you and to your self-growth and focus on these, learning to balance them so that you can healthily and realistically manage all the areas of your life.

Meditate, don’t medicate. One of the most important lessons to learn when it comes to having self-respect is how to deal with life’s problems in a healthy and constructive manner. It can be all too tempting at times to drown your sorrows at the bottom of a bottle. The best thing you can do to keep yourself focused and healthy mentally is to meditate often. It’s a skill – practice it. No one is perfect at it straight away, but stick with it and it will help you to become a better, happier person in the long run. Keep in mind that the idea isn’t to silence your thoughts, but to let them come before calmly and gently reminding yourself to try and focus on breathing and keeping a clear mind.

Determine which of your beliefs and values reflect your authentic self. Stick to them and you don’t need to change them for anyone. Under no circumstances should you change your values to suit someone else, as then you will let yourself down. Maya Angelou had aptly advised : “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”

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