Respect is the worth or value that you give something or someone, how important it is to you. When you have self-respect, you are important to yourself.
More than that, you accept yourself. Sometimes self-respect is confused with self-esteem. Your self-esteem is usually based on what you or other people think of you, your abilities, or your skills. In this case, everything about you gets evaluated and judged as either good or bad. You are either a good singer or you are not. You are good at math, sports, and painting, or you aren’t.
Your self-esteem may increase if you are good at some things and you know that you are. It could even increase when other people tell you are good. You could also boost your self-esteem when you receive compliments, like when someone tells you that you have beautiful hair or pretty eyes.
You see, your self-esteem is linked to whether you have many qualities that you (and, more importantly, other people) think are good or not.
Self-respect, on the other hand, has to do with acceptance. Because you are important to yourself, you don’t judge anything about yourself as being good or bad. All your features, characteristics, personality traits, and quirky habits are. There is no evaluation and no judgment.
That means you don’t place as much importance on what other people think or say about you. Because you like who you are. You accept who you are – even the ‘bad’ parts of yourself.
We all have things that we may want to change or improve. There will always be areas where you can grow and learn. The secret to having self-respect is, to be honest about who you are and meet yourself where you are, as you are. You are sure about your beliefs and values and aren’t influenced to change them because other people don’t agree with you.
When you accept everything about yourself, you stop caring what other people think. You don’t worry about whether they evaluate or judge you and think that you don’t measure up to their standards or expectations. You are entirely okay with who and how you are.
People who have high self-respect tend to be calmer and feel less stressed. This is because they don’t constantly worry about what other people think about them. They show up in every moment as their true and authentic selves. They don’t feel they need to pretend to be someone, and they are not for other people to like them. They don’t need other people to like them because they like themselves.
The interesting thing about self-respect is that it is not connected to your success or failure. It doesn’t care whether you came first in the race or last. Instead, it may say: “well, I just had so much fun running.” Self-respect is unshakable. It doesn’t matter whether you have a good or bad day – you always value yourself and like who you are. It means you don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes or don’t manage to achieve a goal.
When you have self-respect, you are less likely to blame others. Instead, you will take personal responsibility for yourself, your choices, and your actions. You are less likely to feel guilt and regret, lie, and keep secrets.
The secret to cultivating self-respect is to get to know who you are. To dig deep to find out what kind of person you are. Look at the things you say and the things you do. Consider the qualities you have - those that could be labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ You may always be late or messy. You could hate waiting for people or making art from odd things you find out about.
When you dig deeper, you may find that you laugh easily. You could also find that you get jealous quickly. Accepting everything about you that could be evaluated as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ helps you build self-respect.
That is not to say that you shouldn’t want to improve on who you are. Liking and respecting yourself also means wanting the best for yourself. For example, you could cultivate self-respect by accepting that you have a short temper. That is just a part of who you are. On the other hand, you may not like fighting with people you care about. This could encourage you to find better and healthier ways to express your anger.
How do you know whether you have self-respect? Think about this: how good do you feel when someone gives you a compliment? Feeling good when someone compliments you on something means that you are still evaluating yourself. You are still influenced by whether someone else thinks something is good or bad. When you have a strong sense of self-respect, compliments will not carry as much weight because you have already accepted that behavior, skill, or trait as a part of you and who you are.
That also means that you will be less vulnerable to criticisms or insults. You don’t seek attention or validation from other people. How you feel about yourself does not depend on what other people tell you.
Self-respect does not mean you are arrogant, self-centered, or conceited. It is not about thinking that you are more important than someone else but also important. It doesn’t mean you expect special treatment, but that you expect to be treated with respect. It is about ensuring your needs (not wants) are met before taking care of others’ needs.
It is about living with dignity and integrity. That means you live in a way worthy of respect and have strong moral principles. Having strong moral principles means you are concerned about doing the right thing.
This can be a bit confusing since having self-respect means that you don’t judge something about yourself as being ‘good’ or ‘bad.’
Let’s use our example from earlier about having a short temper. You could just accept that you have a short temper – in that way, you practice self-respect. Another part of you may enjoy treating other people with kindness and understanding. These two parts may be in conflict with each other. Having self-respect means you still believe (know deep down in your gut) that you are valuable and essential in both instances: when you lose your temper and show kindness and understanding.
When you have self-respect, you tend to treat others with respect. Because you don’t judge or evaluate yourself, you don’t feel the need to judge or evaluate others. It is easier to simply accept them as they are. In turn, others will show you more respect because they admire you. They see that you value and have high self-worth and respond to that.
By having self-respect, you tell other people that you are not a victim, you are not a doormat, and you deserve to be treated well. You will naturally put boundaries in place when you have self-respect. That means you tell and show people how to treat you. It is perfectly okay to tell people that you don’t like being treated in a certain way without necessarily judging their treatment of you as being ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ It is simple enough that you don’t like it, and you practice self-respect when you tell them.
Not everyone will accept your boundaries or like it when you practice self-respect. Sometimes people deal with their own stuff and take it out on others. When you have self-respect, you will recognize this and realize that it has nothing to do with you. It is up to you to decide whether you want to continue interacting with these people or not.
Having self-respect and firm boundaries means that you don’t people-please. It also means that you don’t spend time with people who treat you poorly and disrespectfully. When you have self-respect, you know who you are – you like who you are. You know that you are important and deserve to be treated with the same kind of respect and consideration that you show yourself and others.
You can explore and develop more self-respect by playing with your Megadolls. Self-respect is represented by the color blue at Megadolls world. Dress your Megadolls in blue clothing to remind them to practice being more respectful to themselves and others.
With Megadolls, may we all inspire, encourage kindness, experience creativity, and promote meaningful play with awareness and compassion for others.