New Year’s Resolve: What is Self-Respect?

I heard this in a a sentence recently and laughed at the dead on accuracy of it: Do not do what you wouldn’t want your daughter to do!

Self-respect seems to mean a lot of things different people, but what was it to me? Finding it was a struggle, but maybe one that came easier with age. Once I was able to wrap my head around the subjective nature of what I was trying to find for myself the answers came to me the came after what I consider my Homeric journey of discovery; and a journey that will likely never end.

For now it equates to the ability to know when to stand up for myself, my family, and our well-being in the face of a detrimental situation. Understanding more beyond that becomes much more involved with knowing fully (to grok) what your aspirations, needs and wants are and saying “I will put these above everything else. I will prioritize myself” during a situation that may test your resolve or where others may be pressuring you to be something you’re not. Self-respect is a matter of integrity: establishing a moral code for ones self and not breaking it. When people live within the expectations that they have of themselves the self-respect comes easily.

At the start of the New Year, here are some friendly reminders for myself and the causal reader here.

Self-respect is when…

  • You aren’t afraid to say “no” when it’s necessary.
  • You care for others, but not at the expense of your own well-being.
  • You aren’t afraid to end toxic relationships, or relationships you’ve outgrown.
  • You’re able to let go of the things you can’t control, and focus on what you can.
  • You give up trying to control or change other people. You are able to “detach with love”. You know that it’s not your responsibility to change them.
  • You are able to pick your battles. You are able to discern what’s important to you, what’s urgent and what can be dealt with at a later time, what this approach and that approach will realistically accomplish, etc.
  • You understand the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation, and you know when an apology is sincere and when it’s not.
  • You are patient, but not at the expense of your own well-being. You don’t let people string you along with excuses and empty promises.
  • You don’t react, you respond.
  • You ask for help when you need it.
  • You make sure that when you help others, you’re really helping them and not enabling them.
  • You have a strong set of morals and values, and you don’t compromise on them.
  • You choose your own life path, even if it means disappointing some people, such as your parents.
  • You take care of your body, but at the same time, you don’t loathe your body as it is now. You eat healthy, but you don’t let your diet make you crazy, or assign moral value to food (or to yourself for eating those foods).
  • You might not be thrilled when you get rejected. (I honestly don’t know anyone who would be.) But you are able to accept that, and not chase after or berate the person who rejected you.
  • You don’t tolerate bullying or gossip. You have no room in your life for drama.
  • You don’t participate in other people’s drama.
  • You stop people-pleasing.
  • Lack of planning on someone else’s part is not an emergency on yours.
  • You take responsibility for yourself, but not for other people.
  • You stop making excuses for other people, or covering for them.
  • You’re able to let little things go. And you keep it in perspective: you know what is a little thing you can let go, and what’s something you need to put your foot down about.
  • You don’t let yourself be pigeonholed into roles you aren’t suited for or don’t want to play because of your gender or what have you.
  • You are your real, authentic self in your relationships, not playing a role.
  • You know that relationships are a two-way street. And while you realize that no relationship is ever going to be a perfect 1:1 ratio of give and take all the time, it also shouldn’t be one person doing all the giving and the other doing all the taking.
  • You don’t feel exhausted, drained, or resentful, because you are able to set strong boundaries.
  • You stop letting fear of rejection or abandonment have power over you.
  • You are able to express your needs and feelings, and to know what those needs and feelings are in the first place.
  • You give yourself time to rest and recharge.
  • You give yourself as much respect and care as you give to others.

…and remember to take care of one another. We are all soulmates.