Self-respect can take on a different meaning for all of us based on who we are as people and the experiences we face. Yet, I think that we all have an instinctual idea as to what self-respect would mean for each of us. There should never be a reason needed for respecting others or yourself, but if you needed an external push in the right direction, I hope these holidays do just that.
One of the most common barriers to having self-respect is the notion that it feels selfish - it feels like a luxury rather than a necessity. In that case, as someone who has often thought the same, let me please tell you that is not at all true. Having self-respect increases our well-being and confidence levels which, in turn, helps us to do better in all aspects of life. If you feel selfish for maintaining a certain space for yourself, think about it this way: having that space allows you the room to work through your own thoughts, enjoy your own presence, and participate in healthy activities of your choice (journaling, music, TV, etc.). In the long run, that will only make you better at everything you do. You will be better at living, better at loving, and a better friend to yourself and others.
Although self-respect can be hard, it is always worth it. To get started, here are some self-respect ideas that I hope you can gift yourself not just this holiday season, but always.
Respect your energy levels
Too often, we push ourselves past our physical and mental limits of working primarily because it feels like we have no other option. The truth is, though, we can all find at least 15 minutes per day to meditate, do yoga, or get in some form of exercise. We can all find the courage to actually stop working for the day when we are no longer productive and put our attention on beautiful things: family, friends, hobbies, books, or music.
Take a break from social media
It's hard to realize how much of an effect our feeds have on us when we have them constantly occupying our attention. Social media requires us to be "on" so often that it can be hard to draw the line between our screens and real life. Have a social media cleanse by turning off your phone or by placing it in a separate room. As you get accustomed to the peace it brings, you'll be able to do it more often!
Giving yourself credit
Have you given yourself credit recently? Have you given yourself credit ever? It's amazing how you can feel more open and appreciated when you say something as simple as 'You've been trying so hard lately and that's amazing', 'You're strong - you kept going even when it got tough', or 'You finally took the break your body needed and I'm so proud'. Try it out and experience the little smile that comes on your face right after.
This could mean forgiving yourself, forgiving others, or even both. Either way, the end goal is to experience the peace that comes with finally being able to let something go.
Self-respect is the gift that keeps on giving and over time, and you'll find it helps you live a better life and be a better you in ways you didn't even imagine. When you're finally able to believe that you are talented, or intelligent, or kind, or amazing, you and the world will be a better place for it.