Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

How to increase your self respect

I am always amazed at how little most people seem to respect themselves. It’s far more common to come across people who never give themselves credit for anything positive that they do. Self criticism is common too. So why do so many of us lack self respect? it’s easy to believe that others are doing more and achieving more than we are, especially when we buy into all the social media shenanigans. It’s not true though and our tendency to ‘compare and despair’ decreases our self respect, even though it shouldn’t.

Here are simple ways to increase your self respect

Maintain firm personal boundaries

Do your best to stick to your personal boundaries. If you feel that you should not have to put up with constant criticism from a partner, make sure you uphold that boundary. If you let it slide, you self respect will go with it too.

Be assertive

Stand up for yourself. Some people think that being assertive means you have to be confrontational but that’s not true. There are three types of behaviour: passive, assertive and aggressive.

Being passive will lead to a lack of self respect. This type of behaviour lends itself to an attitude of “you before me”. Remember you teach people how to treat you even if you are passive and don’t react. Imagine for example that you meet someone for a drink. If they arrive late and you don’t mention it (it could be done light heartedly and in a humorous way), the late party will make a mental note that you will accept that. proceed as you wish to continue!

Being assertive is the best way to conduct yourself and means a “win-win” situation is more likely. Aggressive behaviour underlies a “me before you” attitude. Always try to remain assertive, you will respect yourself so much more for it and so will others.

Stop being a people pleaser

You can’t please everyone all of the time. If you find that you tend to put the needs of others ahead of yours, try to understand the root of this behaviour. You may find that as a child you were told what to do and were never allowed to have an opinion. You may see an association between the way you were respected as a child and how you now behave as an adult. There is often a link. Remember you are not that helpless child anymore who has to put up with bad behaviour by adults around you. You have more power and choice now as an adult.

Ask for what you want

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. This is one of my favourite sayings. When we fear an outcome we tend to avoid the behaviour. So, if for example, we fear asking our boss for a raise because they may refuse, we will most likely avoid that scenario. The problem with this avoidant behaviour is that we don’t reality-test our thoughts and fears. The threat therefore remains intact. Therefore, it’s important to keep pushing through your fears and to test them out. You can start with small baby steps, you don’t have to begin with your biggest fear of all.

The more you reality test your fears the more you realise that often the anticipation is worse than the actual event. You will also discover that even if you don’t get the raise from your boss, the refusal won’t be that bad. This increases your confidence to cope with life’s situations.

You may not always get what you ask for but it’s your responsibility to ask in the first place.


Treat yourself with compassion

Treat yourself as you would a dear friend. That means accepting that we all fail, we all do silly things and that’s okay. It’s a part of life. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Stop taking life so seriously.

Be kind to yourself and refuse to talk to yourself in an unhelpful or even harmful way. Self statements such as; “I am useless/worthless/unloveable” etc are not helpful in the slightest.

Instead talk to yourself as you would someone you loved and cared for. Sure, we all screw up but that doesn’t me that, we, as people are useless. The person and the behaviour are separate. if you don’t treat yourself with respect, neither will others.

Mandy X

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