Self-respect can be loosely explained as, well, the phrase has already explained itself. Self-respect is more of a compelling statement to respect ourselves. Is that really a hard concept for you?
Okay, on paper, it sounds easy but inside us, it’s an uphill task, a constant battle within ourselves, our wills against ourselves. Self-respect is an inner quality that can take years of dedication to develop, which some people never achieve. Another bunch of people are more concerned with superficial things like money and seeking approval, to mind developing this important quality: Treating yourself like you’d want others to treat you.
A friend of mine lives under the mantra: Never doubt yourself, there is a hero in everyone. Good call. There are three entities to a human being; Mind, Body and Soul. Although what really matters is what lies inside us, self-respect ought to work in tandem with all the three to ensure we do not self-corrupt or self-hate or sell ourselves short in any way, anywhere.
Ever since I learnt to appreciate myself in every dimension, from my mind, body and soul to other aspects of my life like beliefs and values that I hold, age, education, status, finances, race, tribe and all other what a views then that’s when I understood my true worth, self-respect and the concept of inner peace after years of living under the pressure.
Then, that there is no human who is better or more important than another. I have talked about strengths and weaknesses et cetera alot before and how everyone needs to understand theirs. Self-respect is a quality that we should all work towards developing while being aware of both our greatest strengths and of our limitations too. Perfect Imperfections, they say.
After developing self-respect is when we are ready to get out and stamp our foot in society out here and set firm but reasonable boundaries with our fellow humans. I learnt several lessons of respect from my own self-respect which I’m here to share with you today.
When I talk of respect, I am not reffering to the kind that we are expected to show our superiors at the workplace courtesy of a bigger office and authority they have on us. No, that kind is mandatory if you want to keep your job and be vouched for as ’employable’ by your refferences. Yes, we have to submit to and respect figures of authority in all spheres of life but even that, figures of authority should deal with their subjects with respect, unless of course they are dealing with robots.
I am talking about the kind that we expect from and accord humanity after everyone strips off bare of the money, the power, the office, the status, the fame, the crowns, trophies, academic titles and so on to just who we are as a species.
So here are the lessons of respect that I have learnt from respecting myself:
✓Respect is Earned. You don’t expect an entire 7 Billion people to respect you for God knows who you are. No one cares, we don’t care, you gotta earn people’s respect if you want it. You don’t automatically deserve it, throw away that sense of entitlement, no matter who you are. Everyone has their own space, you included. Define yours.
✓Mutual Respect or None At All. Respect is a give and take, it’s a two way thing. Showing respect without getting respect in return is slavery, simping, desperation, a sign that your worth is on auction. Downright self-neglect.
✓Respect is neither Demanded nor Bought. Don’t expect to buy me with fake conditional kindness, I’ll let you down. Feeding egos is not my specialty. Never has been. If you expect allegiance or to sit on some sort of pedestal in my space after giving a helping hand, nah! That’s not going to happen. Just call in the favour already, put the price tag on it while at it, I will sure mail you the cheque once am loaded. Or better still, keep your help to yourself if I have to be disrespected and looked down upon in return. With all due respect.
If you are giving respect and not getting any back, you don’t demand for it. You take it back and walk away. That’s an act of self-respect.
✓When someone genuinely shows you respect without minding your status, how big or small you are, and you don’t treat them with the same kind of respect, then it speaks about how horrible of a human being you are. It’s indecency.
✓If you don’t respect me like I respect myself, then we gon’ have a problem.
Respect is a rare thing in this world because most people don’t understand the concept and its dynamics. By virtue of nature, the fact that we are human beings and that we are born with nothing the same way we’ll exit and that what matters is how well we treat one another, we should be treating each other, everyone, with respect irregardless.
But self-interest and our human minds have corrupted all aspects of the moral decency code. Most people want respect to serve them, especially after ascending to a small position of priviledge and power. For this reason, although we hold humility, we have to be very specific about who we give our respect to lest we compromise our own self-respect in the process.
Respect by design is not meant to serve us. If we make it do then that changes us to something else. Makes us full of ourselves, prideful, arrogant, narcissistic. We should serve respect. It should guide us and and in this way we are able to live in harmony with all people and with nature no matter what name, power or money we make of ourselves. We do not change our core.
There are still amazing humans around who still believe that all humanity ought to be treated with respect. It is indecent to disrespect such humans. Funny thing is that many a times they end up being manipulated, used and disrespected for the obvious reason that ‘they do not understand how the world works.’ Naive, if you will.
If you are one such human, don’t cease being a nice human but remember these humans aren’t your relatives and they don’t all see the world your way. Even relatives will disrespect you. Walk away from people and situations that erode you or if that’s not an option, set firm boundaries and take my Lessons of Respect from Self-Respect. This planet is so hard.
Between two people who’ve decided to let each other into each other’s personal spaces, respect should flow naturally, like I’ve said, both ways. If along the way or constantly it has to be asked, begged for, fought for, bought or demanded from, then one person is being disrespected, or, there is total disrespect in that circle. It’s what we call a toxic connection.
Maybe a time will come when all of humanity, everyone will learn to show respect to all the rest of humanity, but until then, it’s a Win-win or No Deal for me out here.