How to Build Self Respect for a Happier Life

Self-respect is one of the most important qualities we can develop to create the life we want. Self-respect impacts progress in all areas of life including your relationships; most importantly your relationship with yourself.

The person with self-respect simply likes them self, regardless of success or failure. And a person who likes themselves is more likely to treat themselves with care and respect.
Self-respect, like so many other facets of life, is about choices; it will form the basis of every choice we make and in turn, every choice we make either adds to or detracts from our self-respect.

“Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.”
Clint Eastwood

If you are not proud of who you are, the choices you have made and actions you have taken you may have compromised your values, even though you may have not have been consciously aware of it at the time.


Qualities and attitudes needed to enhance self-respect include;

  • Self-awareness and acceptance
  • Knowing and respecting who you are what you value and stand for
  • Valuing your time and energy and using it wisely
  • Respecting  your body - eating healthily, exercising, get adequate sleep
  • Being the kind of person you are happy to present to the world - does your presence uplift, or do you put or drags others down?
  • Treating yourself and others with compassion and empathy
  • When necessary having the courage to stand up for yourself and your needs and values.
  • Respecting your environment - how you respect your house and car are likely a reflection of how you respect and value yourself
  • Recognising and managing your emotions, even when those around can’t
  • Pausing to listen to the calm, wise part of yourself rather than the immature, fearful, critical voices of the inner saboteurs.
  • Knowing that you are a unique human being with your own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Doing your best and forgiving yourself for mistakes and imperfections
  • Being optimistic, expecting the best, however always cultivating an internal strength and ready to negotiate the challenges of life
  • Believing that you have both the right and the ability to plan and create your own destiny
  • Respecting your word, your honesty, and integrity
  • Courage and inner strength to change habits and behaviours which no longer serve
  • Discernment to make wise choices and the courage and self-discipline to follow through
  • Developing and using the talents you have, recognising that you are making a difference and your life has significance.

Self-awareness and self-discipline are necessary for self-respect, neither of which come easily to many of us. However, without self-respect how can we lead happy, healthy lives and at the end of our days look with satisfaction knowing we used up our allotted years well.

For those who have a tendency to be a hard taskmaster to self and others -note that it is possible to have self-respect and still laugh at our occasional slip-ups - in fact, it just might be healthy to have a lighter touch or to curb the danger of becoming judgemental and critical of self and others -something which is NOT  recommended for building true self-respect…

Building self-respect and character are about strengthening ourselves - not
perfectionism and judging either ourselves or others when we fail to achieve
the standards we are personally aspiring to.

This false approach to building self-respect inspires anxiety and/or ridicule
on the part of others rather than the genuine respect, we were hoping to have
mirrored to us.

On a personal level - over the years I have struggled with a number of these
qualities and approaches particularly the first 3.

  1.  I have in the past been a people pleaser ( link to another article ) not
    standing on a firm base with respect to my values and needs.
  2. I have failed to value my time and energy and much of my time has been
    used to rescue individuals and organisations, which in the long run may
    have been detrimental to them building their own strength and resilience.
  3.  When anxious I have in the past I have had a tendency to binge eating and
    retail therapy (my library of thousands of books can attest to this! And
    certainly, I have allowed my worries to keep my mind busy at night and I have
    calculated that I may be in sleep deficit to the equivalent of possibly nearing
    a year of solid sleep.

What about you?

Are there any areas in your life in which you have not
treated yourself with the respect and self-care you deserve?

Has this led you into a downward spiral of continually reduced self
respect and self-care?

I would be interested to hear about your experiences - and also if you have
discovered other ways in which we can let ourselves down and lose self
respect and self-confidence and the ability to create the life we at some level
are aware we want.

This is one of a series of articles I am continuing to develop and write on the
“inner self-work” required as a base to successfully get more out of life.
Look out for other articles on Self Esteem, Self Confidence, Self Compassion, Self Acceptance, Self Discipline, Self Care ….

Often we feel have to work everything simultaneously. From personal experience, where I have become overwhelmed and confused by attempting to fast-track and “multi-task” the process. The more efficient, effective method may be to focus on one aspect at a time.

Not surprisingly each is interconnected and so any small changes made will positively impact many arenas of your life.

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