We all crave respect. Respect allows you to live a life of dignity, freedom, and authenticity. You demand respect from others.

But do you ever stop and ask yourself whether you respect the person on the other side of the mirror?

Telling lies, allowing people to mistreat you, putting others before you, giving until you run on empty are all clear signs that you’re disrespecting yourself. Other times, it’s deeper and more subtle.

So, let’s sample a few ways you disrespect yourself without realizing it.

You Don’t Have Boundaries or Don’t Enforce Them.

Boundaries are healthy and extremely important if you want others to respect you. Here’s the thing though, most of us don’t have problems setting boundaries with people outside our inner circle. Our biggest problem is setting boundaries with those we love.

For instance, you can’t tell your kids to give you space because what kind of mom does that? But if you don’t reinforce this, what does that do to you? When do you nourish yourself? Most importantly, how does your kid learn the importance of setting boundaries in his own life?

Those of us who are agreeable find it hard to uphold boundaries because they don’t want others to feel as if they’re in the wrong. To remedy this, Psychologist Mariana Bockarova suggests practicing the skill of being slightly disagreeable. This way, people won’t walk all over you, tossing you left and right and interfering with your peace of mind.

“They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

You’re Not Selfish with Your Time.

Give people whatever they want from you, but please guard your time fiercely because it’s irreplaceable. It’s a resource that can set up for a freaking awesome life if well utilized. We disrespect ourselves when we allow our time to be wasted. Like when we continue waiting for people who never keep time.

You’ve got to decide how flexible you can be with your time. My magic number is fifteen minutes after which I’m out. There will always be people, errands, and responsibilities screaming for your attention at every corner. If you don’t know what to say yes to, you’ll waste valuable time on meaningless stuff or spread yourself thin.

Not everything needs to be done today. In fact, if you zoom into your life, you’ll see that only a few things move the needle in your life. You can’t know what you’re capable of until you’re in complete control of your time.

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”― Charles Darwin

Your Self-Talk Is Demeaning.

We tend to underestimate others and underestimate ourselves. You see a stranger as deserving of respect, but because you’re wrapped up in your struggles, you overlook the fact that they, too, are just as imperfect as you. At times, you speak to yourself in a manner you wouldn’t talk to a stranger.

You tell yourselves phrases like; I’m stupid, I never do anything right, I always attract losers. This kind of talk is destructive and pushes you lower on the worthiness scale. It keeps you trapped in fear of the future, stressed over what happened in the past, and angry about how you’ve been treated in the past.

Words are loaded guns. They always manifest in real life. How you talk to yourself shapes what you expect from yourself. Worthless self-talk produces worthless outcomes in life.

You Settle for a Relationship That’s Less Than You Deserve.

The worst relationship traps are those in which you realize you can’t change anything or too much effort is required to make things right because you’re in too deep. The truth is people change all the time. You can never predict how your partner will be five years from now.

Yet we often date lovers whose red flags are visible from miles away. You settle for less than you deserve. You take up the role of changing someone’s habits and attitudes. The reality is, you can’t change a person. Any forced change is only temporary and will leave you drained and frustrated.

I can’t see greater disrespect than settling for a relationship that doesn’t feel right from the get-go.

You Don’t Take Action to Move Your Life Forward.

Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.” ― Adrienne Rich

We all struggle. We all encounter hardships. We all grapple with insecurities. But the best among us understand they’re their own rescuers. They don’t lie in wait for the government, family, or loved ones to pull them up. The only difference between happy, fulfilled, and progressive people boils down to one thing; the ability to take the necessary action.

When you don’t take action to improve your life, life pushes you to some dark, unpleasant corners where people don’t disrespect you. If you can’t support yourself, you start depending on others, and eventually, they begin resenting you.

This, in turn, punctures your self-esteem. Without healthy self-esteem, you can’t make any significant move to elevate your life.

You Tune Out Your Gut Feeling.

Often, you know if a person, a decision, or an action isn’t the right one for you. Yet, it appears so shiny that you override the gut feeling within you, only to regret it later. Every time you tune out your gut, you’re saying; I don’t trust myself.

You’re planting seeds of doubt and in your conscience. This is how you get stuck. Any significant life change you make starts with the ability to trust yourself, a self-belief that you’re headed in the right direction. It may not always be the right direction. But, it can lead you to the next best thing.

“Respect yourself and others will respect you.” ― Confucius

Like Confucius said, respect from others begins with respecting yourself first. You can start by doing the following:

  1. Setting boundaries. Learn to say NO.
  2. Become selfish with your time. It’s your only irreplaceable resource.
  3. Trust what you feel deep down. There’s always a grain of truth in your gut.
  4. Don’t enter a relationship if you spot any red flags.
  5. Take the necessary action to move your life forward. Don’t leave your life to chance.

Leah Njoki is a former flight attendant turned writer who thoroughly enjoys her morning runs. But her greatest joy is that of being a mom and wife. She’s passionate about self-discovery, growth, and inner fulfillment. Her writing resonates with thousands of readers. You can read her work on ownyourspark.medium.com & on her site here: www.ownyourspark.com.




Image courtesy of Miguel Arcanjo Saddi.