“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.” – Joan Didion
We are all aware of the concept of self-respect. It’s the simple trait of upholding your values and setting boundaries clearly when you need to.
Lack of self-respect brings a lot of problems and pain our way. If we don’t respect ourselves, we’re not giving other people any reason to do the same. And, if this keeps going it would lead us to resentment, low confidence, an inauthentic life.
However, as simple as it may be to understand it, we face challenges staying true to it and effectively practicing it.
There are people that we’re supposed to respect but their actions threaten our own self-respect, they can be elders in the family, colleagues, teachers, etc.
Then, there are limitations that we put on ourselves like valuing external validation more highly than internal, comparing ourselves to others and then feeling not enough, tolerations misbehavior to maintain politeness, practicing negative self-talk, and more.
So, to effectively respect ourselves, we must overcome these obstacles and learn how to take a stand calmly.
Here are my 6 tips that can help you strongly uphold your self-respect and live a life that you feel true to yourself:
- Commit to respecting yourself
- Define your values
- Love yourself
- Decline politely
- Set boundaries confidently
- Appreciate your journey
6 Ways to Uphold Your Self-Respect Strongly
1. Commit to respecting yourself
Before diving into solutions and ticking off a checklist, let’s pause and set our intention. We are here to make one important choice. A choice that will transform how we communicate with the world.
A choice that will empower us to move in the direction that we want to without getting sidetracked by unauthentic distractions. A choice that will support a fulfilling life. The choice to respect ourselves. Let’s say these 7 positive affirmations:
- I choose to respect myself.
- Speaking my truth is important to me.
- I value my voice.
- I prioritize my well-being.
- Respecting myself is important to me.
- I am confident in expressing my concerns.
- I stand up for what is important to me.
At Gratitude, we understand how helpful affirmations are. We have curated multiple affirmation folders in our app for goals like work-life balance, starting mornings positively, higher self-worth, etc. Try it out here.
2. Define your values
Now, as we have decided that we respect ourselves, it is time to define our values. Essentially, self-respect helps us protect what we believe in and what we stand up for each day.
For example, if friendship is a strong value in your life, then at any moment that someone is unkind to your friend behind their back, or behaves to show that friendships don’t hold meaning to you, then you must make yourself clear.
Similarly, if balance is a value in your life but the way you are living these days goes against that, then you must course correct. Balance can be threatened by work-life imbalance, poor time management, ineffectively prioritizing goals, etc.
The moment that we go against our values, we start feeling uneasy and incomplete. So, define or reconnect with your values and choose to respect them.
3. Love yourself
Love and respect hold their hands. To truly love someone, you must respect them. So, when we truly love ourselves, we will consider it our duty to respect ourselves and upload it.
Self-love is a concept I am deeply connected to, in fact, I’ve made a course on it. It means to treat yourself like you would any person that you genuinely love in your life.
So, talking to them kindly, appreciating all the wonderful things about them, loving them just as they are, and also showing them a brighter path, to never belittle them.
We must do the same for ourselves. In the moments that we put ourselves down with negative self-talk, saying things like “I’m such a failure,” and “I’m pathetic” we are disrespecting ourselves. Imagine, would you say these words to someone that you respect? No, right?
Even if they’re wrong, you would not exaggerate a situation to their identity. We must be cautious with how we treat ourselves. It is imperative that we choose compassionate words that move us in the right direction instead us holding us back under a dark cloud.
4. Decline politely
For people who love to help others or are caught in the bad habit of people-pleasing, saying “No” is a necessary skill to be learned. But, we fear that we’re being impolite or not being there when someone needs us.
But, what if we need ourselves? What if declining a plan or expressing that we’re not in the headspace to be emotionally available would be really beneficial for our health? If we respect ourselves, what is the choice we should make?
I think that’s a great question to ask - “If I respect myself what should I do here?” and “Would accepting this go against my self-respect?”
Introspection will help us make good choices.
Also, here are some sentences that we can use to decline politely:
- It doesn’t work for me this time, but thanks for asking me!
- Now is not a good time. I’ll let you know when I’m free, okay?
- Sorry, I’m fully booked on other things right now. I’ll take this up later.
- I thought about it but I can’t see a way to fit this in at the moment. Maybe next time?
- No, thank you but it sounds lovely, so next time!
5. Set boundaries confidently
There are times when we have to be assertive. There are all types of people in this world and they’re in all types of situations. With time, people change too. Someone who used to be a friend to us might evolve into someone we hardly relate with.
Someone who is generally very nice might start behaving differently and say things that don’t sit well with us. Who knows what the cause is? When we don’t make boundaries clear and let the other person know what is acceptable, it makes room for resentment in our hearts.
As we haven’t said how we feel, our feeling convulse within themselves and make it deeply troublesome for us. Even when it’s time to break away from a friendship (because they’re the hardest), we must choose what is right for our self-respect.
Also, this helps in work environments, we must let the other person know when there is no space for us to take any more work. Failing to do that will only make our pile bigger and lead to burnout.
In moments when we need to set boundaries clearly, here are some ways that we can respond:
- Just want to make it clear that I disagree with this opinion.
- Your behavior is making me uncomfortable.
- Is there a problem?
- That has not been my experience.
- I want to do my best work, and I won’t be able to do that right now.
- I would need more time to think about this.
- I’d like to take a break and come back to this in a couple of hours after we’ve both had time to think.
- I don’t want to discuss this anymore.
- I prefer not to say.
- I think you’re being insensitive.
6. Appreciate your journey
And, my last tip is to appreciate your journey. As we see how far we’ve come, the problems we’ve overcome, and all the lessons we’ve learned, it helps us grow self-respect.
In times when we lose sight of our capabilities and value others’ achievements more, it is important to know that we have had a journey too, and it deserves to be respected.
The fact that we are the one person who has been with us all this time, through thick and thin, is paramount. Let’s choose to appreciate our good qualities, our memories, our growth, and how we contribute to the world. It is essential.
And, that’s it! These were my 6 tips for upholding self-respect strongly. I hope they helped you. Share this with the people you care about. Take care :)