Self-Respect: The Key to Everything

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“Self love, self respect, self worth – all interlinked and vital.”

Jane Thorne

Self respect can be in short supply after being manipulated, abused and devalued by a psychopath. Losing our self respect stems from the feeling that we compromised our own values, dignity, and boundaries.

Self respect means “to hold in honor” and goes hand-in-hand with self-worth, which is valuing your inherent worth as a person. A strong sense of self-worth is needed to attain empowerment. Instead, you may be experiencing blame, shame, anger, guilt, regret, fear and self doubt.

You can regain your self respect. It is imperative that you do whatever it takes to restore it. When you do, your sense of self worth will follow. Losing something can really make you appreciate it more than you ever did before. Now you can have sturdy self respect and a strong sense of self-worth, and cherish and protect them.

Self-respect permeates every aspect of your life. Having self respect is to honor yourself as a person and to accept yourself regardless of your life circumstances. Self-compassion can help you do just that and it’s is far more powerful than judging yourself harshly, which only adds to your injury. It is self-kindness as opposed to self-judgement.

We are all a work in progress, but we’re worth loving and respecting just as we are now. That’s the truth, not feel-good nonsense, and I can prove it: You understand how abusive relationships work now. If your closest friend were to become involved in one, would you lose respect for her? Would you treat her so harshly that her sense of self-worth was crushed? Probably not. Then why should you lose respect for yourself? Become your own best friend — it can be your greatest strength.

“It is a beautiful experience being with ourselves at a level of complete acceptance. When that begins to happen, when you give up resistance and needing to be perfect, a peace will come over you as you have never known.”

~ Ruth Fishel, The Journey Within

Another potent — and vital! — way to restore your self-respect is to develop personal boundaries and to protect them. In the field of psychology, authenticity means living in accordance with your values, beliefs, desires and needs. That’s how your self respect is expressed to others. And that’s exactly what boundaries enable you to do.

Boundaries are self respect put into action.

“He that respects himself is safe from others; he wears a coat of mail that none can pierce.”

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  To Thine Own Self Be True

~  William Shakespeare

LOTUS DIVIDER

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“The BEST Manual on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim again.. I am going to recommend it to the facilitators in the divorce support group I am attending.”

”Worth your time! Well written, clear, and concise. I so appreciate the wisdom I found in this writing. I feel empowered once more!”

“This small book was full of tons of useful information. I don’t usually write in my books, but my copy of Boundaries has underlining on almost every page. I was really glad I bought it.”

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16 thoughts on “Self-Respect: The Key to Everything”

  1. merijoe

    I was thinking of things that give me a sense of self respect, one of those things is that I dont over react… losing my temper (even though I have reason to) and becoming unglued in 3 seconds…I love that about me, but at the same time I hope I’m not just in some sort of denial…I will say something if something is really bothering, eventually, but with less impact and momentum than I would have had if I had yelled right away.

    1. Admin

      Hi, Merijoe. It’s good there are things you love about yourself, but self respect encompasses all aspects of yourself, including imperfections.

      Not overreacting is a very good thing, by the way — it means there’s thought between a trigger and your response to it. Many people haven’t learned to do that. The world would be a better place if everyone did.

      1. merijoe

        Indeed, imperfections too-I did see that as sort of an imperfection, and as I stated, its only one thing-there are many, I just happened to mention that one for clarification, I’ll be back! Thanks for the comment, something I hadn’t thought of.

        1. Admin

          Oh, I see that now — I’m sorry I missed it. It was long past my bedtime! It really does depend on where it’s coming from, Merijoe; if you’re denying your feelings or not expressing to others that they’ve crossed a boundary (which is why we get angry), then it’s not good and you’ll end up with resentment and feeling badly about yourself for not speaking up. But if you are just giving things some thought and then approaching the person who made you angry in a skillful way instead of screaming at them, it’s a very good thing.

  2. I thought my giving to my partner of myself was the way to find joy, peace, empowerment… that we would do it together. Little did I know that it would lead to the shame, guilt, anger, self doubt..at the time. Leaving my situation has led me to see more clearly how little I know about my self. I look forward to recieving and reflecting on what is written hear. I am learning more about myself, my self worth, my values. I did not know I did not have boundaries for myself til I left. I have them now. Still learning! Thank you!

    1. Admin

      Hi LJ. It is amazing how much we learn — especially about ourselves — from this experience! I didn’t have boundaries either, and it’s been a revelation. It takes practice being assertive when it’s something you’ve never done, but it is so worth it, and success makes it easier and more natural to do as time goes on. Prior to all of this, I’d read so many self-help type books over the years, since my 20s, but everything I read was just an abstract concept that didn’t make a difference. Experience is the best teacher. Now, self-respect, self-worth, and all the rest are very REAL. Thank you for your comment.

  3. Justine

    I love these posts on self respect and compassion.it’s true, it is taking your power back when you re- claim your self respect and compassion of self. It’s a sign that your finally healing and re- claiming your life. And that your not going to sacrifice yourself anymore. You are armed with knowledge to see the signs of abuse, and now know your worth protecting! Thanks A. B. for all this knowledge and education you share with us. You empower us!

    1. Admin

      You’re welcome, Justine. I’m so glad to hear I empower you! If there is one thing I want to do here, that’s it! Thank you.

  4. Babs

    I am thinking of ways to confront former high school people who did not ‘get’ what happened to me. A psychopath had taken over my life and manipulated me to her gain…totally. Several high school people that i bumped into over the years confronted me about it. It totally took me by surprise because I had jettisoned this psycho out of my life and she no longer existed for me. “What are you talking about?” my brain screamed at these imposters. Not one of them gave me any kudos for getting away from her…they blamed me and accused me of jealousy…she had been the ‘ugly duckling’ growing up and I had been the swan. Jealousy was not part of it at all, even though she suddenly garnished attention from males. It really did happen overnight, taking everyone by storm.

    Yes, I have hidden myself away. But also: I spent time in Canada, a wondrous country full of adventurers and wild animals. Montana and Idaho cannot compete with the outdoor kingdom of the Yukon Territory. What a wild and wondrous trip it was.

    Returning to my town of origin was a mistake (at first, until I met my future hubby). He was my champion from Day One. He said I was the most feminine prettiest woman he had ever met, and that the psycho was obviously out of her mind with jealousy. And she was.

    He was thrilled to hear my adventures in an asbestos mine (Clinton Creek, Yukon), canoe trip on the Forty Mile and Yukon River…to this day he watches all the programs about mining in Alaska/Yukon…avidly watches them nightly.

    So, former high schoolers…you stayed in the town you went to school in, many of you, and never left. How boring! You wouldn’t be thinking about me and the pathetic psycho if you had traversed the continent and met all kinds of very interesting people. No, you chose to stay in your comfort zone, and still have the same friends from high school. How sickening!

    1. Admin

      Ah, if only I knew how to get people to understand! Most people don’t get it, and people who aren’t your friends to begin with aren’t even going to try, so don’t waste your time and energy on these people who never really left high school. Their opinion of you and what happened doesn’t make a difference; only yours counts. You’ve grown, and they haven’t. You’ve gained a new and much wider perspective from your time in the Yukon and from your experience with a psychopath, and they’ve stayed stuck in time. It sounds like a losing battle to me.

      Next time one of them confronts you, just tell them it’s in the past and you’ve moved on, and that you don’t care to talk about it any longer, and then excuse yourself. I know, you want them to understand — but maybe letting go of that by accepting that they can’t understand or don’t want to would be the best path to take.

      I’m very happy to hear you have a wonderful husband! He sounds like a gem!

  5. Dee

    Just yesterday, I was looking through old and recent photos and was startled to see how much better I look in the recent ones. From old to the newer ones, I see a gradual progression of happiness and looking more grounded, peaceful and alive. In the photos taken while I was with the psychopath I look lost, tired and empty. Photos don’t lie and the change is undeniable. I think the shift is due to steadily gaining my dignity and self respect. Admin, like you, I had no boundaries, I surrounded all of me to the psychopath.

    This journey has been amazing. Cultivating self respect has not hardened me. I think my new found strength has actually softened me. I enjoy quiet and my own company (I lost many friends and family because of the relationship with the psychopath) and I am doing so many new things that I couldn’t be doing if I was with the psychopath because he occupied all of my physical and mental energy. Cultivating self respect has given me a sense of freedom because I can finally hear my own voice, which is something than can only be done when the mind is quiet. Having boundaries I am able to say, “NO” and protect myself from manipulation and abuse.

    I don’t miss the people who chose to “unfriend me” and I cherish those who did not discard, but rather hung back while I was figuring it out.

    1. Admin

      I’m glad your inner light and rosy glow returned, Dee. Mine did, too. As you found, self-respect won’t harden you; it’s only about being yourself, authentically yourself. I, too, truly enjoy my own company now and I relish the FREEDOM to spend my time as I really want to. I’m so glad to hear you’re honoring yourself and protecting yourself with that magic word — “NO.” It’s funny, when we’re two years old we quickly recognize the POWER of that word and say it again and again, but somehow we lose that along the way. Now we’ve got it back, and we’re a little better at using it — we don’t stomp our foot when we say it :-)

  6. Jodie Kozloff

    I am so glad to have found your site. At 56, I have finally found my voice to speak and begin to write about sexual abuse, domestic violence, and the insidiousness of it all. Thank you!

    1. Admin

      Thank you, Jodie. I’m so glad you found your voice, and I wish you all the best with your blog! If you ever need help, just ask.

      Here’s a great resource for images (all copyright free and free of charge): PIXABAY It’s where I get all of the images for this site.

      Emotional Ghosts

      1. trish

        There comes a time when u know u are disrespected and put down like your the one that gets the blame for everything that u realize its not u and as for me i did see this and let him know that everything u say i am is what u are so u need to stop talking and when u do it you uour talking about cause i am none of what u say. there were times i just say ok whatever just to not here his mouth but after awhile i called him out on telling him he was talking about himself and laugh in his face. it drove him crazy to fight constantly for power and control when he could not control his own life i would tell him how in the hell do u think u can control me thats a joke and it went on for 4 years and yeah i got the D&D caught off guard and it hurts for months cause he vanished without a trace and i never saw him again but i learned alot from psychopathawareness and now i am into this site which helps alot even though almost 2 years have gone by i will never let anyone think they can treat me like crap cause i am not and i will not let anyone do it to me again. IT was a costly relationship with its constant rolla coaster and abuse and then i became abusive and lost total respect and he left and i am happy he did. i can say that now but at the time i thought i would die over this gross pig that was once what i thought my soul mate. some joke on me so i hope u all realize that psychopaths cannot love. u are wasting your time loving someone that hates u. Theres nothing u can do and your no different than anyone else they been with because they are evil and all they do is destroy everything and everyone that comes there way. There ego is way high you can’t take them down i tried so give up and move on the sooner u do the sooner u will get your life in order. I am telling u the truth its not possiable to ever get him to be the man u believed he was at the honeymoon phase cause it was all a lie so just get out no and no contact is my advice. I had no choice i had no way to contact and i tried and thank god i never did.

        1. Admin

          Thank you for sharing this, Trish.

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