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How to Respect Yourself: Secrets of Self-Respect & Self-Belief

If you want a happy and drama-free life, you need to learn how to respect yourself. Then, you’ll never settle for anything less than you truly deserve!

how to respect yourself

You would think self-respect would be easy to have, but it’s not. There’s so many things that challenge us and our beliefs. Learning how to respect yourself takes time, but it’s more than worth the effort.

Of course, you can still respect yourself and make mistakes or do things that you don’t want to do. That’s a part of learning and life. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about knowing what not to accept. [Read: Self-concept – how we create and develop it to control our happiness]

What is self-respect?

Self-respect is very hard to define because it’s not something you can see or measure. It’s a sense of self and a pride in who you are. When you respect yourself, you don’t settle for less and you know what you’re worth.

Having self-respect means you love who you are and although sometimes you might struggle, you know what you do and don’t deserve.

Of course, self-respect is tied very closely to self-esteem and self-worth. When you have one, you can easily work on the others and make your life happier and healthier as a result. [Read: Follow your dreams – All the amazing reasons why it’s worth it]

The importance of having self-respect

Self-respect helps you to avoid situations that bring you down.

For instance, you might be in a bad relationship and your partner may treat you poorly. If you have self-respect, you’ll refuse to stick around and deal with it. But if you don’t have any, you’ll stay and be dragged further and further down.

Self-respect helps you to make decisions in life and it allows you to have strong and healthy relationships. Without it, you’ll simply move from situation to situation that leaves you hurt and wondering when you’re ever going to be happy. [Read: What am I doing with my life? 23 ways to start living without worry]

Why do some people have no self-respect?

There are many reasons why self-respect is lacking. An abusive relationship can cause self-respect to plummet, but someone who has grown up with very little confidence can also struggle with self-respect.

A person who had an unhappy childhood may find they have little to no self-respect. This is especially the case if they were raised by narcissists. They may have had to constantly prove themselves to be ‘good enough’ over and over, therefore causing them to end up in negative situations.

Stress can also lead to a lack of self-respect, causing someone to end up in situations they don’t want to be in.

It’s useful to try and pinpoint why you struggle with self-respect, but more useful to work on increasing it. [Read: Emotional baggage – how to help someone put it down and find freedom]

Signs you have no self-respect

If you’re not sure whether self-respect is an issue for you or not, check out these signs. If you can nod along to a few of them, it’s very likely that you need to work on raising your own self-respect levels.

1. You over-expose yourself

Do you always need to be center of attention? If you do this by over-exposing yourself, be it your body or your personality, that’s a strong sign that you need to learn how to respect yourself more.

When you learn how to have self-respect, you don’t feel the need to expose yourself in these ways. The lack of clothing will make way for outfits that you feel comfortable and sexy in. Pushing yourself into the center of the room by being loud or provocative will disappear and you’ll simply not feel the need to do so. [Read: 14 signs of attention seeking behavior that masks their insecurity]

2. You are desperate for love and sex

People with little self-respect often confuse love and sex very easily. They assume that if someone has sex with them, it’s some kind of validation. It’s not.

Many people have sex and then move on. They don’t need to feel anything for the person or even find them that attractive in some cases. By always looking for love and sex as some kind of validation of being a worthy person, you’re missing the point.

Learn to love yourself first and the rest will fall into place. [Read: Attention seeker – 17 signs you’re one even if you can’t see it]

3. You always need attention

This is a little like the first point we made about over-exposure. If you always need to be in the middle of everything, with all eyes on you, that’s an issue. Learning how to have self-respect isn’t about being famous or everyone talking about you, it’s about a sense of calm and ease from within.

Some attention is good, that’s a given, but if you always need it and you struggle without it, ask yourself why. [Read: Attention seeking behavior – Why some people go looking for drama]

4. You lose yourself

Do you often lose yourself in relationships and situations? A person with self-respect knows who they are and they don’t lose parts of themselves in any situation.

Ask yourself if you like the person you are around certain individuals or when you’re doing a specific activity. Is this person far removed from who you really are?

5. You tolerate abuse

Abuse can take many forms. It can be physical, emotional, verbal, psychological, the list goes on. The bottom line is that when you have no self-respect, you will tolerate such behavior no matter what.

This is quite likely in a toxic relationship. A person who’s confidence has been shattered will have no self-respect and as such, they will put up with whatever their partner throws at them, looking for small morsels of attention to prove that they love them deep down. [Read: Am I in an abusive relationship? 17 sure signs]

6. You talk down to yourself

Negative self-talk is extremely damaging. We believe what we tell ourselves, so if you’re always telling yourself that you’re no good, you’re not attractive, or you’re not lovable, guess what? You’ll start to believe it.

A person with little self-respect will often talk negatively to themselves. [Read: Is your negative thinking ruining your life?]

7. You allow people to walk all over you

Do you find yourself acting like a doormat for whoever wants to walk over you? If so, that’s a sign you need to learn how to respect yourself.

Constantly needing the validation of others causes you to say ‘yes’ to everything, therefore putting your own needs last.

8. You often compare yourself to others

When you have a good amount of self-respect, you can admire other people, but you don’t feel the need to compare yourself and come up short. A person with no self-respect will always do this and will always find a reason to feel lacking. [Read: How to stop being insecure in a relationship and be happy together]

Here’s how to respect yourself

If you’re finding yourself constantly going against your beliefs and feelings, then it’s time you developed your self-respect. Will it take hard work? Absolutely. And you’re probably going to have to say ‘no’ to people you’re not used to saying ‘no’ to.

But trust us, once you start saying ‘no,’ that word starts flowing out of your mouth.  

A little self-respect goes a long way. So, here’s how to respect yourself. [Read: How your self-respect in a relationship affects you and your love life]

1. Acknowledge your lack of self-respect

You have a lack of self-respect. It stings reading that, doesn’t it? But you have to hear it from someone. Acknowledge that you have a lack of self-respect because that’s the only way you can change.

This is a phase, so push through it.

2. Focus on loving yourself endlessly

This is easier said than done. we know you have a lot of distractions – school, work, partner. But you have to turn to yourself and focus on you. If not, you won’t be able to personally develop – and you need that, because we all need to grow.

So, if someone is dragging you down, step on the breaks and take a time out to work on you. [Read: 34 life changing steps to fall in love with yourself all over again]

3. Listen to your intuition

Follow your gut. Self-respect means respecting your intuition. Everyone has intuition, it’s a survival skill that humans are given. So, not following it would be a waste.

If something doesn’t feel right, stick with that feeling because you’re right. [Read: How to live a happy life – 15 things you HAVE to know]

4. Change the way you talk about and to yourself

Have you heard a friend talk about you in a positive way to someone else? That’s how you need to look at yourself. Look at yourself how your friends see you, because that’s the real you.

You need to take away the self-doubt and only think about what you can do. If you keep thinking negatively, you won’t be able to complete your goals.

5. Learn to say ‘no’

You don’t have to be the one who always says ‘yes,’ you can be the one who says ‘no.’ Try saying it out loud right now. NO. N-O. It’s such a small word, yet it holds such a strong impact.

Of course, it’s terrifying to say it to someone, but you have your boundaries that you need to stick to. So, say ‘no.’ [Read: How to say No – Stop people pleasing and feel awesome instead]

6. Remove the toxic people around you

You may have to cut some important people out of your life, but if they’re toxic, you can’t have them around. Now, if they’re your family, it may be challenging, but you need to find a way to limit the negativity.

These people will simply suck your energy and destroy you slowly if you don’t.

7. Set your own moral code and boundaries

Who cares what your friends do on the weekends? If you don’t want to drink, then don’t. You need to set your own moral codes and follow them.

Set a rule and stick to it no matter what. Why? Because going against that rule doesn’t help you in any way. Identify your boundaries and don’t feel pushed to go beyond them. [Read: How to set boundaries – 10 crucial steps to feel more in control]

8. Learn how to handle your emotions

This doesn’t mean you have to hide behind an emotional wall and never open up to anyone. It means that you have to process your emotions *the negative ones* in a way that’s positive and productive for you.

Sure, you can cry, but at some point, you have to wipe those tears and keep going. [Read: 16 reasons why you’re always being taken for granted]

9. Don’t settle for less

Just don’t do it. You literally have one life. Don’t settle for a partner who’s cheating on you or verbally abusing you. Don’t settle.

If you settle, you’re giving up on yourself and your life. You have to set your personal standards and make sure you don’t go below them.

10. Learn to forgive yourself

If you want to know how to respect yourself, learn to accept that all of us take the wrong path now and then. We all make mistakes, some big, some small, but we make them.

That being said, you’re going to have to let those feelings go. And honestly, it’s going to be hard. But then, you’ll be able to move on with your life and progress to a positive future. [Read: How to forgive yourself and free yourself of the weight of guilt]

11. Forgive others

It’s only normal that you’re going to have people in your life who have hurt you. But if you harbor that anger inside you, you’re only hurting yourself.

The best thing that you can do is to forgive them. It’s not about them, this is purely about you. You’ll have more space in your heart and mind to absorb positive energy, rather than that negative crap. [Read: How to forgive someone – 15 positive ways to unburden your mind]

12. Be honest

You have to be honest, not only with yourself but with the people around you. Honesty is a true sign that you love yourself.

You’re able to distinguish what’s good for you, what’s not, and take control of your life. There are going to be moments when your honesty will challenge you, but that’s the ultimate test of your self-respect. [Read: How to love yourself – 15 ways to discover self love and happiness]

13. Clean body, clean mind

If you truly respect yourself, then you’ll respect your body and soul. This means you’ll want to take of your body – it’s the vessel that takes you through life.

You don’t have to work out six hours a day, but by eating healthy and exercising, you’re showing that you respect yourself. [Read: How to take care of yourself emotionally and avoid falling apart]

14. Don’t compare yourself to others

If we all compared ourselves to those around us, well, we’d never get anywhere. Everyone is different, you’re just going to have to accept that. Some people will be better at painting than you or they’ll be thinner or stronger than you.

You have to focus on yourself and not pay attention to the others around you. Stay focused on you.

15. Develop self-belief through listening to feedback

Self-doubt is fine in context, but at some point, you must let go and trust your own convictions. Listen to feedback and actively search for it, but also follow-through on the things you believe in. [Read: 15 feel-good secrets to feel better about yourself]

16. Take risks

Your edge is where discomfort and your deepest fears lie. Seek them out. Play right to the edge of your capacity so that you’re maximally engaged. Take up that public speaking class!

At your edge comes self-respect, aliveness, creativity, and connection. So, lean just beyond it—not so far that you fall into chaos, but enough that you’re shaking! [Read: 15 ways to live your life to the fullest]

17. Search for meaning

Believe that what you do and what you don’t do, matters. Listen to your internal compass for this. It tells you what is most meaningful to you.

By focusing on things that have true meaning to you, you’re developing an excitement for life once more. Your self-respect will grow because you’re doing things that are important for your happiness.

Take responsibility for challenging projects and endeavors that are really meaningful, even when you’re uncertain you’ll succeed. With more of the right responsibility comes a deeper sense of meaning. [Read: What is the point of life? Secrets to decode the big cosmic joke]

18. Know your values

Knowing your values—and actually living up to them—is the crux of self-esteem. Breaking an important personal value even leaves you feeling ashamed. Use this negative feedback to pinpoint what your values are, so that you can honor them in the future!

For example, if you enjoy deep connections, you might feel a constant sense of low self-esteem if you only have superficial ones. [Read: The need for purpose in life – 5 things it can do for you]

19. Do some reading

You are who you surround yourself with and that list includes those who lived hundreds of years before you.

Increase the quality of thoughts you are exposed to by diving into the greats. Take your time to understand the likes of: Tolstoy, Nietsche, Orwell, Socrates. It will profoundly strengthen your thinking.

But, if philosophy and greats aren’t for you, find something that really does inspire you and grabs your attention. Focus on that. [Read: Reinvent your life: 12 must-read books to read in your 20s]

20. Start writing

Writing is thinking on steroids. It forces you to hone your arguments, articulate, and think critically.

You don’t have to publish a blog. Perhaps write on a notepad for 10 minutes a day. It’s hard to emphasize enough how crucial writing is in training you to gather your own arguments and express them.

21. Practice gratitude

Don’t overlook the small stuff. Grab a five-minute gratitude journal and remind yourself of what you have to be grateful for each day. Over time you’ll build a ball of joyous energy inside yourself. [Read: How to be grateful – 20 authentic ways to appreciate and express it]

22. Help others

It’s hard to give when you’re absorbed by your own troubles. Do something that is useful to others, or for a cause you believe in. You’ll feel self-respect for taking on the responsibility. [Read: A helpful reflection – What am I doing with my life?]

23. Know your worth – ask yourself ‘do I deserve this?’

Learning how to respect yourself means understanding your own worth. Whenever you come up against a difficult or challenging situation, take a moment to ask yourself whether you actually deserve it.

Are you about to accept a situation that you don’t deserve? Be brutally honest with yourself and if the answer is ‘no’ (very likely) then walk away with your head held high.

24. Express your emotions when you get hurt

Having self-respect doesn’t mean never having strong emotions. You’re human, you’re going to be hurt sometimes and it’s okay to feel that hurt. What isn’t okay is when you allow it to push you toward situations that don’t serve you well.

When you feel upset or hurt, talk about how you feel. It’s fine to let it all out, in fact, it’s healthy! [Read: How to talk about your feelings in a relationship and grow closer]

25. Find positive people to surround yourself with

We mentioned not spending time with negative people, but that doesn’t mean being alone. You need to find positive people who inspire you and help you feel upbeat and happy.

When you find those people, throw yourself into their joy for life and you’ll realize how contagious it can be.

26. Don’t accept toxicity from anyone

The more you develop your self-respect, the more you’ll be able to recognize toxic and demeaning behavior. Once you see it, call it out and don’t accept it at all.

Explain that you will not stand for such behavior and if they refuse to change or apologize, you don’t need that person in your life. A person with self-respect doesn’t give toxicity the time of day. [Read: Toxic people – 48 warning signs and the best ways to deal with them]

27. Learn from your mistakes

We all make mistakes, it’s a part of being human. However, when you have self-respect, you understand that these mistakes can be used as learning curves.

Rather than feeling bad about the mistake you’ve made, identify what you can learn from it and how you can avoid repeating it in the future.

28. Feel comfortable with spending time alone

Alone time is very rewarding but it’s something people fear. There is a very big difference between being alone and being lonely. It’s perfectly possible to actually enjoy the time you spend in your own company!

A person with low self-respect will usually drown out their own perceived shortcomings by spending time with others at all costs. Stop doing this. Be comfortable with enjoying time alone and you’ll grow in confidence. [Read: Alone time – why you need it, how it helps, and how to make the most of it]

29. Focus on activities you enjoy and put yourself first

When you have low self-respect, you tend to go along with everything that other people want, to your own detriment. Instead, learn to do the things you find joy in and you’ll see just how happier you become.

There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first occasionally. [Read: How to build self-confidence – 16 ways to realize you’re worth it]

Learning to respect yourself is a journey worth taking

It’s easy to think that in life, we have to do everything for other people. That’s not the truth. For sure, we should help out when we can, but focusing on number one is important too.

Learning how to respect yourself will give you a world of benefits. It will make you happier, healthier, boost your confidence, allow you to see new opportunities, and it will help you to meet new people and develop strong relationships.

There really is no downside and the time and effort is more than worthwhile.

[Read: 18 ways to have high self-esteem and start winning at life]

Now that you know how to respect yourself, you just have to do it. It’s all up to you know. So, get to it!

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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