My youngest daughter and I went to Bali on a yoga retreat earlier this year and the theme of the retreat was ‘self-respect’.
It got me thinking – what does it mean to really respect yourself?
When we respect someone else we usually hold them in relatively high esteem, feel that they are worthy of our attention and generally consider that person to be of value in some way. And accordingly, we treat them in a thoughtful and caring way.
I’m not sure we always do these things for ourselves. Most of us spend more time thinking about what we haven’t done well than reflecting on our achievements or what we actually like about ourselves.
Here are five ways to help you develop a little more self-respect:
1. Do something for yourself each day
It might be making time for a walk, seeking out a friend for a coffee or finishing work early.
2. Practice gratitude every morning
Before you get out of bed, think of three things that you’re grateful for about yourself. Try to be creative and light-hearted about it and don’t always just come up with the same three things every day.
3. Nurture your ‘inner ally’
Your inner critic already has a loud voice but your inner ally may have been silent for years. Get in touch with the part of you that is kind and thoughtful to your friends and offer some of that same support to yourself. Once again, try to be light-hearted about it. Your inner ally might say things like ‘that’s enough’ to the inner critic.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others
Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” The more you can get to know yourself and understand your personal values and strengths, the better you’ll be at understanding your own uniqueness. We all have different gifts to share – don’t benchmark yourself against what your friends or colleagues are doing. Just be more of who you are and believe in yourself.
5. Learn to stand up for yourself
Assertiveness doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If you’re not naturally good at standing up for yourself, start to practice some techniques that will help you become less passive. Stay calm in a challenging situation by taking a few breaths and have a few phrases at the ready. Use statements such as ‘I feel…’ and ‘I think…’, rather than saying ‘You always…’ or ‘You never…’, which insinuates blame. Avoid being emotional and keep your responses as short and polite as possible without over explanation. Practice being assertive with a friend – and don’t be hard on yourself if it takes time to put it into play in more difficult situations.
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