Self-Respect. What are Your Responsibilities?

Self-Respect definition:

Is pride and confidence in oneself; a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity.

Self-respect comes from within, but it requires interactions with events outside of the self to truly grow.

When you have self-respect, you actually fully love yourself. You love yourself for who you are on the inside and not just because of what you do, what you look like, or what you’re capable of. When you have self-respect, you take pride in who you are and you know that you’re valuable. See This Study

This brings us back to Interbeing, the idea that when you work on one aspect of something you are actually working in all aspects.

Our theme here is self-respect yet the work we do here has a huge impact on our ability to love ourselves. See the other aspect of self-love in the illustration below.

Graphic for all the elements of self love including self-esteemWe have seven areas of responsibility to build our self-respect. 

We will tackle each one separately and offer ideas for exercise to build your self-respect muscle in each area.

Now before I go on you might be interested in my Be Inspired page where you will find my Sunday Affirmations each week. Click on the button below and give us a thumbs up to join other Be-Inspired Enthusiasts.

How the magic happens. Last night I went to bed with this question: What video could I use for this article? Overnight someone commented on my YouTube channel on the video below. I had forgotten I’d even made it. But when I replayed it I realized the universe answered my question. And while the video doesn’t directly relate to self-respect it does address this question of how long does it take?  We often ask the question so we can prepare our excuses for why we can’t do something. The biggest excuse is, it takes too long. 

My mathematical formula is tongue in cheek but I hope I get the point across. 

And this applies to working on the six aspects of Self-love that we are working through right now in our six-part series.  As you watch this video, keep in mind this question. How long does it take to achieve self-respect?

Standup for Yourself

Quote page with a quote of Self-respect

My personal inclination is not to cause a fuss. I rather try to mold myself to a situation that seems to be selfish or uncaring. 

I’m a don’t rock the boat kind of person.

What about you? 

While it’s a great ability to find ways to communicate with others it can also cause problems.

I bet you can think of a situation where that instinct to blend it backfired.

Assertiveness is an important part of communication. When you’re assertive, you’re standing up for yourself while respecting others.

It’s also an excellent way to enhance your self-esteem and self-respect. The inability to be assertive suggests that part of you doesn’t believe you’re deserving of respect.

So how do you work on making sure people don’t mistreat you?

  1. Give your opinion freely. Practice your ability to be assertive. Always give an opinion when asked. Avoid saying, “I don’t care” or “Whatever you want is fine.” Tell the people in your life what movie you want to see and the restaurant you want to try this weekend.
  2. Review situations where you gave way and didn’t stand up for yourself. and ask yourself: What was the trigger that made you hold back?                                  
    1. Keep the focus on yourself. Rather than saying, “Your opinion is wrong”, say, “I don’t agree with your statement.” The first way attacks the other person and is aggressive. The second option is assertive.
    2. Focus on win-win. Aggressiveness focuses on winning at the expense of others. Assertiveness is much more balanced.


    This takes practice at finding the balance. Forgive yourself if you feel you overstepped.  But continue to speak up and express yourself. 

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
Source: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Positive Affirmation:

I trust myself to uphold my values and speak my truth with love and kindness.

Set Better Boundaries

Having no boundaries is a sure sign that you do not have much self-respect.

Having boundaries is an important part of mapping out who you are, what your values are, and demanding that others respect those borders.

It’s not about isolating yourself behind barriers to keep others out. 

Please keep that distinction in mind as you think about what is acceptable behavior that allows you to live your own life.

I’ve always had a pretty clear idea of where my boundaries are. 

Once when I was doing my apprenticeship training the head chef told me I couldn’t do any work outside of his kitchen. At the time I was getting $45 dollars a week and believe me once I paid my rent there wasn’t much leftover,

No one was going to dictate terms to me. So I told him I wasn’t going to quit the catering work I was doing. So he fired me. 

However the manager senior to him interviewed and I was reinstalled in the apprenticeship program.

The boundaries are to define what you will or won’t tolerate in your life.

Keep These Points in mind while you set or define your boundaries.

Value yourself. Remind yourself that your thoughts, desires, and rights are just as important as those of everyone else. It’s fair to protect your rights, and you have the right to be treated with respect.

Be clear on what you want. Others are more likely to accommodate your requests when you’re clear about your needs. It’s not enough to express your displeasure. Tell others what you want.

Setting Boundaries Exercise

Brainstorm a list of ways that you can set better boundaries. Does anyone in your life habitually step over your boundaries? How can you deal with them? Do you say “yes” when you want to say “no”? How can you address that?

Write out your thoughts on paper first.

Having Conversations.

You can’t expect people to respect boundaries you haven’t set. Having a quiet conversation to set your boundaries is the best approach. However in the end it is your responsibility to enforce those boundaries

Avoid Toxic People

Dr. Jillian Glass who is purported to have invented the term “toxic relationship” defines it as “any relationship [between people who] don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there’s disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness.”

Learning to build your self-respect means not tolerating suboptimal relationships.

Step One: Brainstorm a list of people who might fit the above definitions.

Step Two Do the following process with each person on your list.

  1. Start by slowly fading them out. If you were involved in an unhealthy situation, don’t suddenly end the friendship. Instead, set boundaries that are realistic but strong. (I have found this to be the best method for dealing with toxic relationships or people.)
  2. End it officially when the slow fade fails to work. Although you may attempt to let your friend go gradually, that might not work. You might want to take a more direct approach.
  3. Stay honest with yourself. You may not want to get yourself involved in a drawn-out conversation. But you must talk to your friend about how you feel. Remember, you have good reasons to end your friendship.
  4.  You might also consult a book on the subject. 
  5. Seek professional guidance if you feel out of your depth.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” 

Source: Buddha

Affirmation Practice

I am letting go of relationships that no longer serve me and opening up space for something better in my life.

Say No More Often

If you’ve had children you probably remember their “NO” phase where they said no to everything.

Perhaps you even remember this state when you were a child.

What happened I wonder?

Where did we acquire our discomfort in saying no?

In the section on setting boundaries, one important lesson is to say no to people who want to invade those boundaries.

One way we avoid saying no to something we really don’t want to do is to say maybe. To give a wishy-washy answer and dodge having to make a decision.

The maybe is your biggest enemy in learning to say no It seems like a reasonable compromise. 

Unfortunately, you hang up energy and attention on that moment of indecision and you will find yourself wasting your time debating the merits of your action.

Our lack of self-respect is the core reason we have trouble with no.

“If I say no they won’t like me anymore.”

“They won’t invite me next time.”

And other forms of insecurity.

As you work through these 7 responsibilities you will find “NO” will become one of your biggest aids in your quest to create self-resect.


Stick to Your Core Values

People have trouble sticking to their core values because they don’t know what they are.

you should be able to name your core values quickly and easily,

We created a tool to help you determine your core values. It doesn’t take very long and you end up with your top 3-5 core values.

Click here to get your free core value assessment tool. 

Don’t Hide Your Emotions

Maybe you were discouraged from expressing your feelings when you were growing up. Maybe you judge yourself harshly for becoming angry with your children or jealous of your partner.

Whatever the reason, bottling things up could be holding you back.

Self-respect means knowing and understanding your genuine emotions.

Throwing of years of conditioning is a process that requires some patience with yourself

Men especially have a difficult time allowing their emotions to shine through.

Partly it’s learning to be vulnerable.

Part of the journey is a deeper look within.

This falls under Self-Awareness. We cover this subject Here


This is our recommended book if you want to read more about staying open and vulnerable and accepting your emotions. 

Don’t Rely on Others for Fulfillment

A photo of a happy manSelf-fulfillment goes hand in hand with Self-respect. 

Self-fulfillment,  known also as self-realization or self-actualization, is a mix of our hopes, our dreams, and living to fulfill a purpose that has meaning to ourselves.

When we lack self-respect we tend to rely on others or live our lives through others.

Following the exercises above and continuing your journey of self-exploration will bring you face to face with your unique purpose in the world 

As we learn self-respect and boost our self-awareness and self-esteem come to love ourselves more. 

With that comes an understanding of our unique and special gifts that are ours alone to protect, shape, and offer to the world.


Take a sheet of paper and fold it in half lengthwise. On the top left-hand column write Goals dreams, ambitions.

Create a list. (this doesn’t have to be done all in one sitting). You may add to the list as things come to mind).

On the top right-hand column write the word “Source”.

Source is that from which something comes.

Identify the source of each item on the list.

Highlight the ones that you know for sure are yours alone.

For instance, what you think was your dream vacation turns out to be your husband’s.

Or the goal of running a full marathon turns is something your athletic mother wanted you to do.

As you work through the list you get more clarity on your own self-fulfillment.

Conclusion: Self-Respect Liberates

Developing greater self-respect may seem like a lot of work but the reward of assuming these 7 responsibilities is the liberation of your soul.

When you love yourself enough to set your boundaries, demand you be treated well, learn to say no, and create only relationships that align with who you are, you have developed a strong sense of self. 

When you look in the mirror you find a lovely, caring, joyous face smiling back at you,

It’s worth the work.

All you have to do to see that smiling face in the mirror is to take a small step 

Take one of the exercises suggested here and do it


Read the Five Other Blog Posts In The Self-Love Series


If you enjoyed this article you are the perfect fit to take The Beautiful Summer Morning FREE 5-day Self-Growth Challenge.

The challenge comes in one pack with 5 days of challenges. Each day you get an email reminder to do your challenge for that day. You will feel more confident, self-assured and fulfilled once you complete the challenge. Of course you can choose not to participate, but are you willing to give up on improving your life, foregoing  new opportunities and more success? 

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