9 Ways to nurture self respect and change your life

Nurturing Self Respect - Kaare Long


Many of us don’t even know what good self respect is.

We spend a lot of time researching and learning what it looks like when others disrespect us, but do we really even have an awareness of how much we nurture our own self respect on a daily basis?

We treat ourselves badly in many micro ways every single day, so they may not seem that big of a deal one at a time, but when you think on the grander scale and add up the numerous offenses, it can start to look pretty bleak. We wouldn’t DREAM of treating our friends the way we treat ourselves – we just know that we’d probably not have any friends. So, what is wrong with this picture?  Not to fret , awareness is always the first golden step to changing or adjusting any unconscious habit – and more likely than not, disrespecting yourself is a learned behavior and is not something you’ll even realize you’re doing until the day when you realize you don’t like treating yourself like crud anymore. Well, CONGRATULATIONS! Today is that day, or at least a day after that trans formative moment when you decided enough was enough.

To start practicing self care and self respect there are some key things you can start doing today that will make a big difference and start you on the healthy track to a more confident and fulfilling life with the most important relationship you have – the one with yourself.



You might scoff at this and decide that you do take care of yourself, but before you sign off on this one as complete, really think about how you treat your body, your mind and your spirit every day. Do you eat healthy? Do you exercise your body? Do you allow yourself downtime and do you take time to play as much as you work? Many of us are conditioned to believe that ‘self care’ is ‘selfish’ and nothing could be further from the truth. You are likely not taking care of yourself as much as you could once you gain some awareness of that little lying goblin in your mind that tells you you cannot have that nap or go to that yoga class because you have too much work to do. Being ‘too busy’ is not a badge of honour, it is actually self neglect and self abuse. Look at your daily habits objectively and start working towards better self care.


The comparison game we play every day wreaks havoc with us on a very deep level. We can never be like anyone else, logically it is impossible. Yet, we often think we need to reach a standard we set for ourselves based on comparisons with others. It’s simply not achievable , so we set ourselves up for failure and then beat ourselves up about it. The real truth is that there is only one you, and you and your particular set of skills and attributes and quirks and misgivings are exactly what the world needs. You are needed as much as the next person. Believe in yourself and believe in what you have to offer.


Self esteem is talked about more in our culture than self respect is, and often they are mistaken for the same thing. The issue with self esteem is, is that it is more dependent on successes and can be negatively influenced by perceived failures. Our evaluation of our self esteem will fluctuate depending on how well we think we’ve done in any given circumstance. Self respect on the other hand, doesn’t care if we’ve failed or succeeded. It knows we are awesome regardless. It is unconditional and doesn’t need us to constantly evaluate how well we did or didn’t do.  It’s not based on my limitations and it’s not based on resignation. It holds no opinion one way or the other and just accepts fully – it’s not contingent on anything. Learn that distinction and aim to develop a strong self respect as it will bring you more peace in the long run.


This can take some time, but it’s a precursor to many of the following steps. Investigate and be curious about yourself. What are your values and principals, your talents, and your personality? What are you passionate about? What inspires you? Learning about yourself in this way allows you to start respecting yourself as a full person. Discovering things along the way you’ll see yourself in a different perspective and as you would another person, you’ll begin to value the things that make you, you!


This one activity alone can transform your life. Be true to yourself and trust that you know what you do and don’t want. If someone does something that doesn’t feel good, tell them. When a relationship dynamic in your life tends to drain you more than it does empower and support you, then trust how you feel about that and start putting a healthy distance between you and that person. Knowing yourself is the first step in being able to set boundaries confidently. Trusting yourself is the key to keeping them. Honour your needs, put you first.


Our ego minds will often lie to us when we are afraid to face ourselves and look at our actions and behavior objectively. But, part of respecting yourself is in being able to trust yourself. How can you trust yourself if you lie to yourself all the time? When you value a person in your life, you will be sure to be honest with them at all times because you know that building that level of trust and connection is vital to the relationship. The same applies to your relationship with yourself. Being honest with yourself isn’t a game of ‘self flagellation’ – the goal is not to beat yourself up, but to shine a light on your fears or insecurities so that you can support and empower yourself through them and eventually away from them. Be truthful with yourself at all times – you will learn many wonderful things about yourself by doing this.


This works with believing in yourself, because in order to believe in yourself you must cease and desist all comparing, envy, jealousy behavior that just serves to tell you that you are not enough. It is false and not the truth. Who you are is unique, and there is only one you. Learning how to embrace your differences and to draw confidence from your idiosyncrasies will set you free. You’ll no longer care what other people are doing, and you’ll start supporting others instead as you no longer see them as a threat. This will nurture strong relationships and your own self empowerment will begin to empower others.


Self empowerment = Responsibility for oneself. Once you are honest with yourself, embrace who you are and are able to set clear and healthy boundaries, you will be taking responsibility for your life and will no longer be a victim. You will realize that the power lies within you to manage your own behavior, do the work required to get what you want and respect others to develop strong and healthy relationships. When you take responsibility, the world will offer you more authority – it’s just the way it works. Anything is possible, when you decide it is.


Finally, the most important. Have deep compassion for yourself. Forgive yourself, trust yourself, love yourself. When you feel low, let yourself feel what you need to feel. When you fail, allow yourself the disappointment, let yourself express it because then you can take the next step and let it go, learn from it and then level up. Speak to yourself with kindness, support and with great generosity. The compassion you would offer your best friend should be the base line of what you need to offer yourself. Often, we don’t even come close to offering ourselves the level of understanding we do to our friends and family. Comfort yourself, know you will make mistakes and love yourself any way – don’t punish yourself, criticize yourself or otherwise beat yourself up. Always remember: I have done the best I can with the knowledge I have today. Tomorrow you will do better because you allowed yourself to learn in a supportive environment.

Self respect can seem elusive at times, but it is closer than we think. When we begin to nurture our self respect, we’ll begin to see a difference in all of our relationships; personal, business, intimate etc. The world is a mirror of how you treat yourself first and foremost. Enjoy your own journey of self discovery and self respect!

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