Self-respect plays an important part in our emotional health. If you've lost your self-respect, you can take steps to rebuild it. However, the key is your own attitude. If you take positive steps and are optimistic, you can! If on the other hand, you have a pessimistic, negative attitude, you won't.
If you are ready to start, here are a few steps to build your self-respect.
Stick to Your Values and Beliefs
Prepare yourself to accept or ignore criticism. There will always be people who will say negative, hurtful words about you. It's an unfortunate fact of life that some people enjoy seeing others feel awkward, or who are lacking in self-esteem and/or self-respect. This is because it makes them feel good! It makes them feel better than that person.
If they put you down, don't listen. Take pride in yourself and stick to your values and beliefs. Remaining steadfast to your core values and beliefs will help make it easier for you to regain your self-respect.
It is completely normal to feel bad when being criticized by others, even if the criticisms are unfounded. However, if you want to improve your self-respect, you have to learn how to deal with criticism, whether it is valid or otherwise. Instead of taking criticisms personally, develop a mindset that enables you to use these criticisms to serve as one of the keys towards building a better you.
Change How You See Yourself and Other People
When you are able to effectively filter criticisms, you can make more logical, and less emotional evaluations of them. Criticism that you recognize as valid can be used as feedback, to help you be better – at a task, or as a person.
That which you determine is unhelpful, negative, or spiteful should be filtered out. When your self-respect is at a low ebb, it is too easy to give credence to unhelpful criticism. However, it is essential to train yourself to be less affected by it.
When you do ignore other people's negativity and criticism, you will change your perception of yourself and others. This is not a sudden enlightenment, but a process. In doing so, you will learn to trust yourself more, and question others more also, including their knowledge (or lack) and motives.
As your self-reliance strengthens, so will your self-respect.
When your self-respect is low, it is common to perceive simple, neutral statements from others as criticism or judgment. Instead of viewing others as people who look down on you, see them as kind-hearted people. This can greatly change the way they treat you and vice versa.
Show Honesty and Commitment
Regardless of the mistakes you have made in the past, and we have all made many, move on and make ‘you' a better person. If you have had negative experiences in the past, be positive about the future. Be honest with yourself and to others, and be committed to becoming a happier you.
You have plenty of chances in life to make yourself a better you today and tomorrow. Forget about yesterday. It's gone and done.
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Give Yourself Credit When You Deserve It
It will be much harder to increase your self-respect if you don't ‘do something'. Sitting on the couch watching Netflix all day, every day, won't do you any good at all. You have to do something that is beneficial for your self-esteem.
If you are lazy or have a ‘don't care' attitude, you can certainly expect people to have negative perceptions about you, and they would be justified. Get up and do something worthwhile. Be clear in your intent and reason – make the reasons for self-improvement about you, not others' expectations.
If you take pride in what you do and find yourself achieving, then make sure you give yourself the credit you deserve. It's important you do! This builds your self-confidence and respect for yourself.
Take Care of Your Physical Appearance
Gaining self-respect can be hastened by not taking your physical appearance for granted. Dress to make yourself feel good and dress appropriately according to any given situation. Just remember, though, you don't have to be a slave to fashion when taking care of your appearance. What matters most is that you feel ‘right' and look smart.
Unfortunately, people do judge by appearance, and if you look in the mirror, you may be subconsciously judging yourself too. Therefore, allow others (and yourself) to see you as someone worthy of respect. Once you realize you have dressed appropriately for an occasion, it will make you feel more confident.
Make sure you don't become a fashion watcher when keeping up appearances. If you feel you can't keep up with the trends, it may cause the opposite desired effect, and instead, only lower your self-esteem. Also, avoid dressing up for the sake of pleasing others or to gain attention. If you do, you risk lowering not just your self-respect but your self-esteem as well.
Don't Be Selfish – Show Selflessness
If you live your life helping others whenever you get the chance, you'll feel good inside, and you'll gain respect for yourself. You'll feel like a good person, plus, other people will see you in a positive way. Again, do this in a way that feels good to you. Don't do so out of feelings of obligation, or a sense of duty, as this will make you feel resentful and powerless. If done for the right reasons, you will know it, as your self-respect will increase.