It’s Time To Learn: How To Respect Yourself

By Marie Miguel

Updated January 21, 2019

Reviewer Judson Haynes


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"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection"

- Buddha

What is self-respect and why is it so important? The concept is defined as having "pride and confidence in oneself, and feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity."

Learning to respect and value yourself is essential for living a positive and fulfilling life. If you don't believe that you are worthy of being treated well, then you can't expect anybody else to treat you otherwise. Self-respect stops us from allowing others to treat us unfairly. It stops us from allowing others to lie to us, and from staying in relationships that we're not gaining anything from. A lack of self-respect can make our stay with people who have a negative impact on our lives and remain in careers that make us unhappy.

Unfortunately, too many of us have left our self-respect behind or never had it in the first place. If you are one of those people, then it's time to learn how to love and respect yourself.

How to Respect Yourself

Here are some rules to live by that indicate you are showing yourself the respect you are worthy of.

  • Don't settle for less. You're incredible and you deserve the best - whether it's surrounding yourself with positive people, having a fulfilling career, following your dreams, or something else great in your life.
  • Don't let other people's thoughts about you shape who you are. You know yourself better than anyone so begin utilizing facts and experiences to forge a healthy self-image.
  • Remind yourself of your strengths instead of focusing on the negative things in your life. You are a person worth loving and respecting, and you need to remember that.
  • Forgive yourself for your mistakes, instead of beating yourself up. We all make mistakes and sometimes, we wish that we can go back and change the past. But all we can do is accept what's happened and move positively forward.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. End relationships that affect you negatively. Spend your time with people who respect you and who influence you in a positive way. Be brave and cut yourself free from people who don't treat you well.
  • Be honest with yourself even when the truth is hard or uncomfortable.
  • Know and stick to your own values. Know your boundaries while you practice what is right and steer clear of behaviors that don't align with your values. Don't let anybody persuade you to sway from that.
  • Take good care of yourself - physically and mentally. Respect your body and your mind by eating healthily, exercising regularly, and constantly feeding your mind with knowledge. You have to relax and unwind, as well, but also find time to learn and grow.

Learning to respect yourself will help you enjoy your own company and realize what you truly want in life as you follow your dreams. You will become a happier and a more confident person with true friends who have a positive effect on your life.

It may seem that developing a healthy sense of self-respect can be a difficult task. If this is something you're working on, be gentle with yourself as you go through the process. Being too critical will only delay your progress. Truly developing self-respect takes time and doesn't happen overnight. Talk with others who support your goal. If possible, find someone you feel you can admire in this regard. What behaviors or thoughts do they display that you might be able to emulate?

The idea of self-respect can feel like a fuzzy concept. Having some concrete actions you can take to help develop it will make you feel like you're making headway. Here are a few ideas:

  • Dress in a manner that makes you feel good about yourself.
  • Respect your body by eating well and having a regular exercise routine.
  • Discover where your particular talents lie and develop them.
  • Accept the compliments that others give you.
  • Don't be afraid to say "no" when you're asked to do something you are not comfortable with.
  • Be true to your word and carry out what you say you will do.

Think about some small, achievable goals you can set for yourself on a daily basis that would positively impact your self-respect. Even the tiniest steps will push you in the right direction. Also, resist the urge to compare yourself with others. You are on your path and they are on theirs. There is no need to keep a score sheet. You are bound to have ups and downs, but don't let your down moments derail you.


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How can you keep your goal of self-respect a constant in your life? Sometimes it helps to have some inspirational words you can refer to from time to time to keep yourself motivated and on track. See if these quotes offer some words of wisdom to rely on.

"If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete." - Jack Kornfield

"Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy." - Robert Tew

"The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself." - Michel de Montaigne

"Respect yourself and others will respect you." - Confucious

"The only person that deserves a special place in your life is someone that never made you feel like you were an option in theirs." - Shannon L. Alder

"When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everyone will respect you." - Lao Tzu

"Loving yourself starts with liking yourself, which starts with respecting yourself, which starts with thinking of yourself in positive ways." - Jerry Corsten

"You'd be surprised how easy some things can be, things you never thought you'd do, when you take self-respect out of the equation." - Sarah Addison Allen

"Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives." - Louise L. Hay

"I firmly believe that respect is a lot more important, and a lot greater, than popularity." - Julius Erving

"Deeply respecting yourself is the first step toward having a deep respect for others." - Amy Leigh Mercree

"Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it." - M. Scott Peck

"He that respects himself is safe from others; he wears a coat mail that none can pierce." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Self-care is never a selfish act - it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others." - Parker Palmer

Developing self-respect is a worthy pursuit and one that will take time. Give yourself credit for your efforts and celebrate even the small victories you have. If you feel you would benefit from having a professional therapist to help you along with this process, assistance is just a click away. BetterHelp provides affordable counseling from licensed therapists online and from the comforts of your own home. Take the first step today.


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