Never violate the sacredness of your individual self-respect. – Theodore Parker
The notion of self-respect is a funny old thing. On the surface it can appear as though you respect yourself when you’re making big life choices. If you sing enough Beyonce songs at the top of your lungs you can pretty much convince yourself that your self -respect is at optimum level, while that fire in your belly inspires you to dump the low life boyfriend or ask for a raise.
Respect is a tough topic to dissect really, because there’s varying degrees of it. How we treat others and the appropriate behaviours differ across the globe depending on culture, ethnicity, age, gender, location etc. So it’s not easy to discuss what respect means on a universal scale, just personally.
For example, my opinion on the self-respect of women may very well be old fashioned compared to a woman ten years younger than me. I’m kind of accepting the fact that I’m starting to get old. This doesn’t mean I’m right or that the younger generation are. This it the beauty of individuality and freedom of choice. You get to choose.
Today, I’m talking less about the big issues and more about the little nuances which pepper our everyday lives. The way you talk about yourself to others, the responses you might give, how the thoughts in your head relate with the words coming out of your mouth and how you showcase your self worth to colleagues, family members, friends and acquaintances.
As a female who has always considered myself head-strong, independent, opinionated and passionate; i’ve come to realise that my self-respect is almost non-existent on some days and patchy on others.
As a female who also suffers with anxiety and depression issues, it can be easy to assume that all of my bad decisions and thoughts are simply a bi-product of these mental health problems. It was only when someone I love dearly pointed out my lack of self-respect that I sat up and smelt the coffee. At first I didn’t see the correlation, but then it hit me.
I’m always blaming myself while giving everyone else a free pass or the benefit of the doubt. I allow my vulnerabilities and so called ‘weaknesses’ to expose me to potential harmful situations and I always assume everything is because “I’m fucked in the head”.
When did I become this person? I think somewhere between punk rock and spirituality, I left pieces of my self respect scattered along my path of destruction. I used to stand up for myself, call others out on the their bullshit and hug my moral compass to sleep every night. Now, I mainly just worry until I can’t sleep and take the easy way out of situations so I don’t cause a scene or upset anyone.
This has built up over time, like the dry, hardened skin on a frantic drummers hands. My self-respect has been diminishing in front of my very eyes for years and I’ve allowed it to happen. Hey, there I go talking shit on myself again.
Truly ask yourself the question; do you respect yourself? Do your inner thoughts correspond with your actions? Are you saying yes because you want to or because you’re scared not to?
When you start talking yourself down out of habit, stop yourself. After all the relationship we have with ourselves is the only one on this earth we can depend on, and will literally be with us until our dying day.