R.E.S.P.E.C.T! Yes, it’s a well-known song and a word often used when it comes to teaching children how to interact with adults, but there is more to it than just being a catchy tune. Respect is effectively the glue that holds relationships together. It can be defined as “esteem for, or a sense of the worth, or excellence of a person, a personal quality, or ability”. Without respect, interpersonal relationships are filled with conflict and dissatisfaction. When we don’t respect others, they are unlikely to respect us. But perhaps more importantly, if we don’t respect ourselves, how can we expect others to respect us?
The value of self-respect
To show respect to others, you must first have respect for yourself. Self-respect means accepting your emotions for what they are and putting your physical, emotional and mental well-being first. Essentially, self-respect motivates you to hold yourself in high esteem; meaning you’re more likely to choose things that nurture your physical health and mental well-being.
In both a work and home environment, a healthy level of self-respect enables you to have the confidence to set firm boundaries. It means knowing what you stand for, what your values are, and being accepting of both your strengths and weaknesses.
Cultivating self-respect through gratitude
One of the most effective ways of nurturing self-respect is through gratitude. Gratitude is simply defined as the state of being grateful. It involves expressing thanks or appreciation for something; from a small gift, to life itself. Gratitude involves recognising all the positive things in your life and how they affect you. This can range from acknowledging a beautiful flower on the side of the road, to being mindful of those feelings of thanks that come from recovering from an illness.
Whilst practising gratitude doesn’t cost any money, and certainly doesn’t take much time, the benefits can be beneficial and impact your self-esteem and overall well-being in a significant way. Higher levels of gratitude have also been associated with:
- Improved physical health as a result of a lowered stress response
- Improved mental health as a result of improved mood and less anxiety
- Improved empathy and less aggression by improving sensitivity
- Improved sleep
- Improved resilience to both stress and trauma
Embark on a 21-day gratitude challenge
How much difference can three weeks make in your life? Just three weeks of consciously practising gratitude could be a real-life changer. A 21-day gratitude challenge can help you foster a new attitude by looking for the good around you and expressing thankfulness for it. In turn, gratitude can boost your self-respect especially when you intentionally notice and appreciate other people being good to you, or even your environment. It can really help you develop a stronger sense of your own value.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Gratitude journaling – keep a diary of things you’re grateful for every day. Think about a single moment from the day, an interaction with your favourite person, or list five things you’re grateful for that day. It doesn’t even have to be a physical journal. Download an app or keep a note on your phone. This makes it easier to quickly record something you feel grateful for in the moment.
Gratitude jars – whenever something good happens, or you feel thankful for something, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. Whenever you’re feeling down, give the jar a shake and pick out one piece of paper. This technique will remind you of something good in your life that you can appreciate. It can help you recall simple pleasures that you might have otherwise forgotten.
Gratitude mapping – create a visual ‘mood board’ of everything you’re grateful for. Place this somewhere you will easily see it to remind you to be grateful every day.
Make the commitment to find time every day to be grateful for something small. This way you’re likely to naturally develop a more optimistic outlook towards others and yourself. Plus, you may be surprised to find out just how good your life really is!
A deeper essence of self-respect
While you watch this video, although, self-respect is not the focus, at its essence it is about the deepest self-love and hence self-respect.