Our society is continuously concerned with self-esteem, often neglecting self-respect in the process. However, the latter might hold the key to achieving peace of mind and the calmness we desperately look for.
Contrary to popular belief, self-respect has nothing to do with success, as there are always failures to deal with. As a matter of fact, with self-respect we learn to accept things as they truly are, dismissing the failures and coming to terms with things that are beyond our control.
You give yourself permission to be human
You let yourself make mistakes, cry when you’re sad, feel angry when someone has wronged you, etc. You allow imperfection and messiness into your life because you know those are the qualities that actually make up an authentic life, which is far more important to you than looking perfect anyway.
You have boundaries
You have non-negotiable boundaries for your relationships. You know your boundaries and you know the qualities you absolutely need from your friends and your partner. To those who miss the mark, you respectfully cut ties with because you know they are not the right fit for you.
You clean up the contacts list
You no longer feel the urge to text people who you know deep down don’t care. Who doesn’t want you? Who are bad for you. Instead, you delete their numbers and move on with your life.
You hold yourself accountable
You hold yourself accountable because you know real self-love is more than just a series of positive affirmations. When you say you’ll do something for someone else, you do it. When you set a goal for yourself, you do everything in your power to meet it. And when you fall short, you do everything you can to rectify those mistakes.
You can say NO
You’re not afraid to say “no,” even if it’s for no other reason than that you just don’t want to.
You practice being present as much as possible
You know that you cause yourself unnecessary grief by wallowing in the past or worrying about the future. Instead, you focus on the now, which you are learning is the only moment you really have any control over.
You apologize sincerely when you screw up without making excuses.
You own your mistakes because you respect yourself enough to allow yourself to be imperfect.
You trust your gut
You listen to your gut the way you would listen to your most trusted confidant. You know your instincts are there for a reason, and that’s to guide you.
You actually take care of yourself
You exercise because of the way it makes you feel not because of the way it makes you look. You eat right because you know your body needs vital nutrients to function. You get enough sleep because you understand the importance of rest. You make self-care a priority and don’t feel like it’s a waste of time because you know it is imperative to your overall health.
You don’t need a crutch
You stop trying to numb yourself with booze, with drugs, with food, with shopping, or with whatever your vice is when things go wrong. Instead, you deal with the discomfort and pain head-on
You don’t need to put yourself down
You’ve stopped shaming and berating yourself as a means to inspire change.
You’re incredibly mindful of your inner narrative
You know how detrimental negative self-talk is to your well-being. When you catch yourself being unkind to yourself, you gently redirect yourself away from that dialogue and back to a softer approach to how you address yourself.
You know your limitations and ask for help
You don’t avoid asking for more from your partner or your friends. You don’t diminish the validity of your requests by apologizing or saying how “needy” you are. You know that having needs make you human, not a burden.
You speak up
You let people know when they’ve hurt you rather than suppressing and letting resentment take the place of reconciliation.
You can let things go
You know now that you don’t have to react to everything that bothers you.
You are understanding of others and accept them as they are
You’ve stopped being so judgmental of others and respond with compassion instead of contempt when you hear about someone else’s missteps. After all, since you’ve stopped talking to yourself so harshly, it’s become easier to transfer that grace to others as well.
You don’t dread alone time anymore
Before, you hated the thought of spending a Friday night with just yourself but not anymore. You actually enjoy your own company.
You do not limit yourself for others
You allow yourself to outgrow people, cities, jobs, and old versions of yourself (and you do not apologize or feel guilty for doing so).
You have stopped caring about fitting in
They have their truth and you have yours. You don’t try to convince them you’re worth loving, that you’re on the right track, or that the choices you make are worthwhile. To you, it’s not worth the time or energy. Plus, in the end, you know you don’t have control over other people’s ideas and perceptions about you, just your own
You don’t fall apart when you get ghosted or broken up with
Yes, you give yourself permission to be sad and disappointed and heartbroken and all that, but you don’t attribute rejection to something wrong with you. Because you also know that you can be a bad fit for others.
You also find gossip to be incredibly dull
You don’t need to bask in other’s misfortune to make yourself feel better because you just don’t need to.
You no longer seek validation by trying to “win” someone else over because you realize approval isn’t a prize.
You know that love and acceptance isn’t something you should have to earn. If someone doesn’t like you, you allow it. You don’t try to change their mind. You just let them go, simple as that.
You’ve stopped trying to convince love to happen
You don’t chase people anymore or settle for almost relationships. You respect yourself to ask for what you want and move on when the other party is unwilling or unable to deliver.
You understand that your friends and your partner have their limitations
After all, we’re all working on saving ourselves. Life is hard for pretty much everyone. Usually, if someone is unable to provide you with what you’re requesting, it’s not because you were wrong for asking or that they are bad for being unable to deliver. So now, when your partner or your friends are unable to help, you say you understand and figure out how to fulfill that need without them. Because you know you can always depend on yourself.
You love your past self as much as your current self
You understand that you had to be who you were in the past in order to get to where you are now. You realize how much you learned from him or her, and for that, you could never look down upon those versions of yourself because they are the reason you’ve grown.