What comes to mind when you think of the word “respect”? Whether or not you hear Aretha Franklin singing in the back of your head, most of us see respect as something that is given to us by others. But, what about self-respect? Are you treating yourself with the same respect that you desire and sometimes demand from others? If not, then you may be missing out on one of the most important elements of happiness.
Self-Respect Breeds Happiness
When you respect yourself, it shows in everything that you do—even when people aren’t looking. In fact, it’s the things that you do (or don’t do) behind closed doors that can reveal how you truly feel about yourself. Are you taking care of yourself? Are you feeding your body the foods it needs to be healthy and strong? When you respect yourself, you naturally do the things that bring about health, wealth, and positive energy. Once you can look in the mirror and not only like but honor the person staring back at you, practicing health and wellness principles becomes second nature—not something you have to struggle to achieve. It’s at this point that you can truly embrace happiness into your life as something that comes to you effortlessly.
Self-Respect Kills Stress
Can we all agree that stress is one of the key barriers to happiness? It’s simply not possible to feel happy when your to-do list is full of tasks and your mind brimming with worries. But, can self-respect make your life less chaotic? Absolutely! When you respect yourself, you put yourself first. Does this mean you cast aside the feelings of others and become completely self-centered? Of course not. But, it does mean that you care for yourself, realizing that when you’re looked after, you are in a better position to help others and ultimately fulfill your life’s purpose. Trust me when I say you’re no good to anyone when you’re frazzled and run down.
How to Start Respecting Yourself Now
If you’ve yet to master the art of self-respect, take the first step by letting yourself off the hook. Self-respect is something that is becoming increasingly less valued in today’s culture where productivity and appearances rule the day. Take heart that you can begin to foster self-respect in your own life by devoting some time to get to know—and eventually honor—your true, authentic self. Practice stillness and meditation throughout the day to familiarize yourself with the person within—the person behind the roles of spouse, parent, employee, etc. Welcome that person into your life without judgment. Care and nurture for that person, and watch as your mindset changes from one of self-pity, depression, or envy to one of joy, contentment, and celebration.
As you begin to cultivate self-respect, don’t be surprised if people begin treating you differently. You’ve heard people say that you have to give respect to get it. It’s true, but not always in the way you might think. Try giving yourself respect, and others will instinctively respect you as well.