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How Self Respect Affects You and Your Relationship

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Self respect plays a very important part in relationships and happiness. But can you differentiate the line between giving in and losing your own respect? By Alison Ricard

self respect

We’ve all heard this line before, that love needs understanding and compromise to be successful.

And it’s definitely true.

But love works best only when both partners understand each other and compromise for each other.

If you give while your partner only takes, no matter how compromising or caring you are, you can’t hold on to happiness forever.

And that’s where self respect comes into the picture.

Self respect can make romance better and a relationship so much better too.

After all, having self respect is the only way both of you can ever feel worthy of each other.

[Read: Top 20 reasons for divorce most couples overlook]

What is self respect?

It’s very easy to confuse self respect with ego. And these two words aren’t very different in their meanings either.

Self respect is the respect you have for yourself, while ego is your understanding of your own importance.

Self respect comes first, when you respect yourself and believe in yourself. And then comes your ego, which helps you realize just how important and special you are.

If you have no respect for yourself in front of someone, you can’t have an ego around them. And you definitely can’t feel like an equal to your partner or anyone else, because deep inside, your heart tells you that you’re worthless and undeserving of their respect. [Read: Signs your negative thinking is ruining your life]

Self respect makes you a better person and a better partner

If you respect yourself, you’d believe you’re a worthy individual. And when you feel worthy, you’ll start to believe that you are deserving of love and respect, not just from yourself but from everyone else. And when you command respect from your partner and others around you, they’d start to appreciate you more and take you more seriously.

Do you go out of your way to be nice for your partner or a friend? Do they do the same for you?

If you bend over backwards for your partner, but deep down inside, you know they’d never do the same for you, it shows that you don’t respect yourself when it comes to your partner because you’re letting them use you. [Read: 15 types of toxic relationships to watch out for]

And what you need to understand is that if you don’t respect yourself, your partner will never respect you. And that’s the first stepping stone to the end of your happy relationship. After all, when there’s no mutual respect in love, there’s no mutual love anymore.

Learn to believe in yourself

If you believe in something or feel uncomfortable doing something, don’t let someone else’s opinion convince you otherwise, especially when they can’t prove anything to you convincingly.

Are you afraid that you’d lose your partner if you go against their wishes? Or do you think you’d hurt their feelings if you don’t do something for them?

I used to feel the same way too. But in reality, when you take a stand for what you truly believe is right, as taken aback as your partner may be at first, they’ll take you more seriously and respect your opinions more.

One thing most people with low self esteem and self respect do is constantly compare themselves to lesser mortals. If talking to someone having even lower self respect than you makes you feel better about yourself, it just shows that you constantly need to see someone else’s failure to feel like you’ve achieved something. And that’s a sure sign of low self respect and the lack of will to change. [Read: The 80 20 rule in relationships and your love life]

The loss of self respect has to start somewhere

Even people with high self respect can start to lose it without even realizing it. It always starts small at some point of time, like when you feel put down by your partner, especially in front of someone else.

If your partner makes you feel stupid or dumb, that’s a subtle sign that they’re subconsciously trying to undermine you and take control even if they’re not trying to. It’s probably in your partner’s nature to undermine everyone around them. [Read: 15 shocking and subtle signs of a controlling boyfriend]

When you start to feel like your partner or a friend is better than you, that’s when your self respect starts to drop around them. You feel a constant need to please them just to feel deserving of their affection and their attention.

What happens when you lose self respect?

When you give more than you receive in a relationship, you’d start to lose more of your self respect. And with time, your perfect relationship could turn into a clingy one sided love story. Here are 5 situations that could arise because of your low self respect.

#1 You lose your voice in the relationship. Decisions start to get taken without your approval or notice.

#2 You become a puppet. You meekly string along with your partner because you genuinely believe you have nothing of value to add to the relationship.

#3 You’re not taken seriously by the people that matter to you. You could end up just being an object or an accessory because your opinions offer no value or objections. [Read: 7 secret signs of a relationship that's going bad]

#4 Love turns to gratitude. Instead of experiencing a balanced relationship with equal love, you truly start to believe that your partner is worthy of a person who’s so much better than you.

#5 Love starts to crumble. Your partner will start to believe that they deserve someone better because you’re just not good enough for them. And you, on the other hand would feel stifled and confused. And even if you voice an opinion, it may just anger or annoy your partner because they don’t think you’re worthy of being heard. [Read: Signs you're not in love anymore]

Have you lost your self respect already?

You may not realize that you’ve lost your self respect unless you look inward and ask yourself the tough questions.

#1 Do you feel like you give more than you receive?

#2 Do you feel burdened with the problems of others more than your own problems?

#3 Do you feel like you need to help someone because they may get offended if you don’t help them?

#4 Would your partner do the same thing for you?

#5 Does your partner respect someone else’s opinions more than your opinions?

Ask yourself these questions, because it’ll help you realize how you’re being treated by your partner and others around you. And instead of feeling miserable about it, try to put an end to it and build the self respect from within again.

How to gain self respect again

Self respect can be gained only when you truly believe in yourself. So do just that. If you feel like you’re being held back because of the flaws you have, try to work on them and feel good about yourself. Use these 5 steps to regain your self respect and the respect of others around you. [Read: How to be perfect in everything you do]

#1 It takes time. What you need to do first is make up your mind and prepare yourself to become a new person. If it takes losing a few people who don’t respect you, so be it.

#2 Be ready for retaliation. The people who retaliate to your changes are almost always the people who were manipulating you and using you which lead to your low self esteem in the first place. Anyone who truly cares about you would be happy to see the new you.

#3 Put your foot down. The easiest way for someone to use you or take you for granted is by testing you by asking for small favors, which get bigger and bigger with time. Don’t let others test your boundaries. Learn to say no to people who try to use you, even if it’s something trivial. [Read: 16 ways to handle controlling behavior in a relationship]

#4 Your importance. Do you really give yourself the same importance as you give your partner or your friends? You need to start focusing on your own happiness first.

#5 Believe in yourself. Low self respect starts when you start doubting yourself and your capabilities. Improve on what you perceive as flaws about yourself and bring that confidence back into your life. [Read: What should I do with my life to make it better?]

What does self respect give you?

In a short sentence? A better life. You may not realize this, but self respect will make everyone else take you more seriously.

Your partner will respect you more and love you better. You’ll feel more important and mentally stronger, which will eventually bring your partner’s admiration and respect.

People who were taking you for granted will subconsciously take you more seriously and treat you like a superior or an equal instead of treating you like a pushover because they’ll be intimidated by how much self respect you have for yourself.

[Read: 11 simple steps to love yourself and become a much better you]

So what are you waiting for? Of course, it’s not easy to gain self respect overnight. But if building your self respect could give you a better life, isn’t that worth a try?


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Have your say!
  • Kyle
    April 21, 2013 | Permalink |

    I love it, but there’s a key point here I’d like to emphasize: You cannot feel like your partner deserves so much better, or the other way around. You are with them because you think you two might just have what it takes to belong together, right? That means you are worth neither more nor less than your partner, and it will be a constant balancing act of respect, admiration, and love between you… and it will be very fun and fulfilling maintaining that balance :)

    just don’t let it stagnate.

  • Lisa
    March 5, 2014 | Permalink |

    I disagree at all – when we treat ourselves awfully, we can’t enjoy life very well – and the mascot of any person’s team, along with, obviously, the star VIP, is always ones self. So when were not on our own team, we basically lack endorsements. And it’s just a miserable way of living, but one that, when we find ourselves in, must be lived through purposefully and with steel determination and drive.

    However.

    I find this article rather catastrophizing and frankly, it overwhelmed me. The way I read it is like, here’s this fragile person and because the person does this, then that happens. And then this, that, this, that, etc, etc, and pretty soon ones life has snowballed out of control! It’s very defeating, and could make someone feel hopeless.

    I think it’s important to remember – and also respect – what makes a person so insecure that they lack self-respect the first place, and I think this article, even if the tumultuous illustration is accurate, misses appreciation for the cause of this toxic feeling by attempting to disinfect the wound with fear and bandage it with precisely what causes it in the first place.

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