In order to learn to respect oneself one has to start the journey within. It is learning to look at oneself clearly and to accept oneself as one is; only then can we start changing any negative patterns. No negative pattern can be change from a place of self denial; one first has to bring the subconscious to the conscious in order to integrate the lesson, however this can not be achieved if one lacks “introspection”
None of us are perfect; we will never be perfect, so why try so hard to put up an image of perfection?. Life is a journey which requires constant self development. As we learn to respect ourselves, we learn to be more gentle towards those aspects of us which are considered negative; without hiding them. As we learn to respect ourselves we tend to stop tolerating behaviour from others which may hinder our self growth and self respect.
As you start your path towards self discovery, healing, and growth, you will notice how naturally you start shedding old patterns of thinking which did not serve you. A new genuine confidence slowly starts to build up guiding you towards a healthier mental plane. Like any process of transformation this will require work and is not without pain; you most likely will have to let go of people who can no longer understand or accept the new healthier you. Letting go of the familiar can be scary and painful, however staying in your comfort zone out of fear will only increase your level of dependence on negative people, behaviour or thinking patterns. It is important to clarify that when I mean negative, I am not only referring to those who choose to victimize themselves but also to those who are constantly expressing positivity on the outside while their inner mechanisms do not match their attitude. You can have a friend who others may consider positive due to his or her congenial personality, however this does not mean that person can not be negative to your self growth. Negative then for the sake of this article implies any person or event which may stop you from growing as a human being and shedding any negative or destructive behaviour you may have held onto out of fear.
Let’s take a closer look at what do those who respect themselves do or don’t do….
They do not seek the approval of everybody.- At the end of the day all you should do is what is best for you, which ultimately will lead you to a happy life. People pleasing behavior is one often exposed by those who are not in the path to self discovery, who are still dependent of the opinion of others and who ultimately confuse “reputation” with “character”. If you know there are negative behaviors or thinking patterns which need to be changed within you in order to reclaim yourself, then it’s important to learn to listen to your instincts and to follow your heart. To stop your growth in order to ask everyone else what is best for you, is no different than to waste your time trying to stop a storm. You can’t please everyone, every person out there has their own idea of who you are or who you should be; as a result you will get many different opinions which at the end of the day can be confusing. Keep in mind their advice may not originate from a desire to do you harm, rather from their inability to step out of their own comfort zone and confront their own shortcomings. You need to learn to “elevate” yourself above the opinion of others and do what is right for you!. Those who respect themselves listen to their own inner guidance above anyone else’s.
They do not hold a negative idea of themselves.- If you want your reality to change, then you need to learn to embrace who you are without “lying” to yourself. If you go around self punishing then the world will only become a jail instead of being a plane in which to experience life. Learn to look at your positives as well as your negatives, this will give you a realistic place to start. Focus on developing your positives as much as you work on healing your negatives, in this way you will develop character and genuine self love. The problem these days is that there are too many “positive” workshops or “healing” workshops which focus either on denying or on guilt. To teach to focus only on the positive while denying the negative doesn’t work long term because one can not ran from oneself. The workshops/steps which focus on guilt tend to use shame an punishment; once more those who partake will not experience long term changes as nobody likes to feel as a “sinner” who needs to beg forgiveness in order to be worthy of it and yet still be seen as someone always connected to his or her past. Our souls and minds are magnificent gifts which “know” the truth about ourselves and will not allow us to betray who we really are and what we are capable of. Illnesses arise from a contradiction within our thinking process; in order to rea arrange our thinking process we need to accept the whole picture, not just parts of it. Those who are in the journey to self growth learn to love themselves first and unconditionally; they surround themselves by things and people who will propel such growth.
They do not remain stagnant.- The world at times can be a very scary place, that is why many choose to remain within their comfort zone; this guarantees they won’t have to face anything which may require to confront themselves. Reality is one can not grow if one does not try different things. People who respect themselves try to challenge themselves in order to further develop.
They do not try to fit in.- One can not grow and develop if you are going to be too busy trying to please everyone. In order to grow in this world you will need to learn to create your own path and learn to trust your instincts. Learn to feel comfortable in your own skin and with your own company; you will see how a whole new world opens for you.
They do not work on things which drain their life.- Unfortunately most people work on jobs they hate in order to pay the bills. If you did not choose a life path which brings joy to your life, then the responsible thing is to work on something in order to pay your bills; however, YOU are not dead!…as long as you are not dead or battling a serious challenge or disability then you can still make the changes necessary towards the life you always dreamed of. It may be true that taking the steps towards building your dream life can be challenging once you already have responsibilities or a family; however what matters is not how fast you get there. What is important is that you are taking the steps necessary towards your own happiness. It may not come as fast but at least you are investing your energy on something which long term will provide you with a sense of fulfillment and joy. We are not here to survive life, we are here to live life!. Those who respect themselves take the time to discover what they really like to do with their lives and then follow such calling. Someone who loves himself will leave any work that is detrimental to his physical or mental health.
They take care of their mental health.- It is good to take care of your physical health but it is imperative to take care of your mental health. Too many people out there spend too much time building the outside while their minds are in complete chaos. If you don’t feel well mentally, you need to take the steps towards self care. No one else can do it for you; others can help you, but only you can make the changes. Who cares if others criticize you for taking the time to take care of your mental/spiritual health?…you are not a machine!. If you keep pushing yourself when you are not feeling well, all you will accomplish is to create more hurt within…NOBODY is worth that. You can only give your best to others when you yourself feel at your best. The changes necessary towards inner peace won’t happen overnight, but that isn’t what is important; what matters is that whatever changes happen will be long term. Those who respect themselves put their own sanity above anything else because they understand that without it one can not enjoy life.
They are not Lazy.- Too many people have allowed technology to take over their lives and call it entertainment. Many people have lost their motivation because it seems easier to sit in front of a screen than it is to go out on the real world and experience things. Those who respect themselves are not slaves to technology, rather they know how to practice discipline and self control; using technology to build their dream life instead of allowing technology to suck the life out of them.
They choose to claim their right to be happy.- Too many people spend their lives being unhappy yet focus their energy on superficial things in order to dull the pain. These type of people usually do this because they don’t value themselves, are afraid to make choices which may cause them their reputation or simply because they are too lazy to change their own circumstances. Those who truly respect themselves always choose that which will make them happier. They do not set limits to their right to happiness because they understand that no one else has the right to claim their lives. No matter what challenge is presented, these people push through independently of what others may think. They know magic does exist, but in order to experience it one has to be willing to face the obstacles which will undoubtedly present themselves. If you don’t do what makes you happy, then the fire within you will die. You need to learn to make choices which promote your happiness regardless of whether others understand it or not; this rule applies to people, work, things, relationships and everything else.
To summarize, we came here to grow and play not to be punished… all starts with you!