The True Meaning of Self Respect and 5 Ways to Protect It

Woman laying back in pool

Receiving the respect you deserve is one of the most important aspects of building and maintaining a healthy self-image. Many of us have a slanted view of ourselves, because we’ve been disrespected on various levels and, in some cases, for extended periods of time. Disrespect comes in so many forms and can catch you off guard if you haven’t been taught what to look for. And often disrespect comes from those we are the closest to or who we hold in high esteem.

I realized how much I was being disrespected once I turned the volume up on my values and saw how comfortable people were with violating them, at what looked like my approval. What I once saw as “okay” or “normal” was in fact the complete opposite.


Once I arrived at this point of clarity of how much I was being disrespected after turning up the volume on my values, I became very angry with myself. BUT I had to remember and focus on the fact that this was prior to me recognizing how to be conscious of what my values were and what honoring them meant.

This is where self-respect is born! Self-Respect is born out of not only knowing and being conscious of your values, but by practicing honoring them and standing up to protect them at all costs! Self-respect is realizing that the courage to speak up for your values will come easily the moment you decide to carry out those goals of honoring the ones that were once neglected. That courage to speak up doesn’t have to come across in a nasty way. It can simply be to exercise your right to say NO.


Be ready for people to expect you to explain yourself and your decision to honor your values.

One of the MOST liberating moments I have experienced, is that once I state my decision to honor my values, I don’t have to justify it! This was like fireworks for me! I was so used to feeling the need to explain why I did or didn’t want to do something, as if I needed to justify my own decisions. Let me be the first to tell you that:

[Tweet “You are NOT obligated to anyone who disrespects you and does not honor your values!”]

After this epiphany, many more came, and I have been blessed to turn them into ways to protect myself and receive the respect I deserve from others.

1. Revisit Your List Of Values

If you haven’t already done so, write down your values — the intangible things YOU hold important (i.e. happiness, peace of mind, honesty, respect, etc.). Next to each value, write down your goal(s) to honor them. Always make time to revisit that list to make sure you’re not neglecting other values. This will help you to refresh your mind of what’s important to YOU while you tackle your day-to-day routine.

2. Reflect

Be sure to reflect on the feeling you had when you honored your values! Congratulate yourself for being strong and standing up for yourself! This is so encouraging and will be your fuel to continue on. I remember expressing NO sympathy for disappointing someone who asked me to do something that violated my values, whether they realized it or not – it didn’t matter. It felt so good to decline and move on, and it showed me just how strong I can be regardless of who that person was.

3. Exercise Your Right NOT to Explain 

Again, when you have your core values set in writing and you’re at that point of enforcing those values, you do NOT have to justify your decision to respect yourself! You can simply say, “I won’t be able to do that”. That’s all that’s required is your decision. After that it’s on that person to deal with your decision in their own mind. Relieve yourself of the pressure to do anything more. I once heard the saying, “The word ‘No’ is a complete sentence”.



4. You Have the Right To Change Your Mind

Sometimes we may find ourselves in a bind where we agreed to do something that we really didn’t want to do and now we are in “decision remorse” and want to get out of it. That nagging voice or feeling of letting this person down is breathing down your neck. If that feeling grows stronger, honor that feeling and exercise your right to change your mind. I am not, by any means, telling you to be wishy-washy. I’m talking about that feeling of “something doesn’t feel right about this” or that “I’m not comfortable with this” kind of feeling.

I value peace of mind, and if I don’t have that I am in clear violation to my own value and putting myself in the line of disrespecting myself. You have the right to change your mind in any situation. Do this directly, yet, politely since you initially agreed. You can say, “I know I agreed to do “X,Y,Z”, but unfortunately I won’t be able to fulfill that. I do apologize for the inconvenience.” If you can cover down in another way do so, but not at the expense of violating your values and disrespecting yourself. Also be sure to respect that individual by letting them know as far in advance as possible so they can make the needed adjustments.

5. Do NOT apologize if it’s not warranted

I used to be a person who apologized for everything…this was the result of being in an abusive relationship, which many of us have encountered. Apologizing became a bad habit. I was made aware of it during what I interpreted as a heated conversation with my best friend who asked me, after I apologized, what was I apologizing for. I was like a deer caught in headlights. I couldn’t answer that question. He told me that I did that a lot but understood it came from the abuse I suffered. Wow! From there I became very mindful of when I offered those words, “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” and made sure that it was warranted. If it wasn’t, then I assured myself that I didn’t have to say those words. Nowadays, I have NO problem keeping those words to myself and only offer them if it’s truly sincere, and not out of habit.

[Tweet “Perfection is in the effort; mastery is in the execution.”]

These 5 points are so vital to achieving self-respect as well as receiving respect from others. Most people don’t respect someone who is a push-over, overly apologetic, etc. Most people respect inner-confidence, strength and this comes from honoring your values, and showing others what that looks like! Your challenge today is practicing the above steps. Write down what happened, how you responded and what the results were. If it doesn’t go as planned, know that it’s okay, but promise yourself that you will do better.


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. @arianaieva

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