Why is self-respect so important?
When you have self-respect, you actually fully love yourself. You love yourself for who you are on the inside and not just because of what you do, what you look like, or what you’re capable of. When you have self-respect, you take pride in who you are and you know that you’re valuable.
On the flipside, without self-respect, it’s difficult to have honesty, confidence, and integrity. Instead, a person without self-respect may feel the emotions of anger, guilt, blame, shame, or regret, and they sport secretive behavior because deep down they feel unworthy. Beyond that, if you can’t respect yourself, how can you respect others and how can others respect you?
Putting Your Needs First
Too many people put the needs of others before their own. Although this is admirable, in order to respect and serve others, you need to meet your own physical and emotional needs first. Meeting your own needs first is an important part of respecting yourself.
Here’s a story of Joan, who realized too late the importance of respecting her own needs:
Joan had a friend that she did everything for. She would always put the needs of her friend before her own. Whenever her friend needed help with something, big or small, Joan would always be there even if she had to rearrange her own schedule.
It worked for a while, but then Joan began to feel that the constant help for her friend was becoming emotionally taxing. It was almost as if Joan became a servant to her friend. She wasn’t Joan; she was just her friend’s “friend.” Even her friend began to think of her that way.
Eventually Joan began to feel like her friend was taking advantage of her and these feelings escalated into resentment. Joan started to make excuses to get out of helping her friend. Now they are no longer friends.
Joan was trying to achieve self-respect and thought she could only gain self-respect by putting her friend’s needs before her own. She was trying to prove she deserved respect instead of looking into herself and finding the great things about herself that already deserved respect.
* Because she didn’t even respect herself, her friend didn’t respect her either.
If Joan respected herself and her own needs, she might have communicated her feelings to her friend and put her own schedule first sometimes. Joan would’ve felt the confidence to do the things she needed to do for herself in addition to doing things for her friend.
Fundamentally, Joan’s self-respect would have allowed her friend to respect her also. There’s a good chance that Joan and her friend would still be friends if she had only looked inside herself and realized that there was already a lot to respect.
* There’s nothing wrong with stepping up for others, but you must have a solid sense of self-respect for yourself first.
Respecting the Mind, Body, and Spirit
Because you’re a unique human being with strengths and great qualities of your own, you need to respect your entire mind, body, and spirit.
Don’t look in a mirror and say, “I’m not attractive” or “I’m so stupid.” That’s not what matters. Don’t you think your loved ones love you unconditionally? Of course! They love you because of what’s inside of you. They respect you for who you really are and you need to respect yourself too.
* You need to respect yourself because you have an inner being that demands your patience, love and respect.
If you find yourself to be unattractive, unintelligent or uninspired, throw that mentality out the window! Respect your body because it is the home of your mind and spirit, then harness that spirit and love it because it is who you are.
Loving your body, mind, and spirit is the key to gaining self-respect. It is then that you can extend yourself out to meet the needs of others.