• Flux Magazine

"3 Forms of Self-Respect You Don't (but ought to) Have For Yourself" by Becca DeMent

Self-love and self-respect go hand in hand. The only this is that you can only truly love yourself if and only if you respect yourself. However, respect is not soft sensitive affection. You respect your strict teacher. You respect your coach who yells at you. And you respect your parents who made you eat vegetables. Respect is what you need and not always what you want, and I want to talk about the three things I drastically needed to help me love myself.

1. Choose your own destiny

The point of this article is not to be fluffy, but to be blunt. Choosing your own destiny

means making choices. Often we let the people around us decide what’s going on. We wait to see if they text us back with the plans for later. We wait and hold on and keep reaching out for someone to be our friend. We stay around until others dismiss us. This happens for a lot of people because ultimately, our self-esteem is lower than it should be. In our heads, we’re hoping and yearning for that friend or romantic person’s attention and affection, but this puts us in a place of ​vulnerability.​ What I mean by this is that we are in a place where we find it okay to allow others to choose our worth. We wait on their time and on their terms to determine how worthy we are. Putting ourselves in this vulnerable place over and over again is not respectful towards ourselves. If we lose and simply don’t get the outcome we wanted, that's continuing to allow blow after blow to our self-esteem whether we realize it or not.

How do we avoid this then? Honestly, just pull the trigger. Waiting for someone else’s answer, sitting around for that gamble, ​could​ fall in your favor, but the one thing you know for sure about a choice that’s yours is that it's ​yours​. You know that ​you made the decision​. The reality is that this all has a ​subconscious ​effect. You might not realize it at the time, but making the ​active choice​ to cancel those plans if they didn’t speak up, or cut that person off if they aren’t being kind and respectful, are choices YOU made for yourself, your life, your destiny. Deep inside you’ll know that and know that at the very least, you are the only person who determines who and what you are. So don’t wait around, make choices.

2. Stand up for yourself

This one may seem kind of odd. I know for myself in the past I mistook kindness and

humility for lack of assertiveness and self-respect, in a way that deeply hurt my self-esteem. I was never one to “go off” on people. I never shouted at someone or went off in a long text because as a kid I was taught to “never let them get the satisfaction”. It was my instinct that if someone did something unkind to me to say nothing. Even in the sense of, why should they care? Who am I to tell them where their ethics and morals should be? Why should they feel bad or care about my feelings? I thought these things thinking I was “being the bigger person”, by keeping it in, but really, I didn’t truly believe that I deserve to take up that space in that person’s life.

Controlling what affects your subconscious might be one of the strongest tools in the universe. You have to know what to tell yourself even if you know you won’t see the mouth talking. For years I had subconsciously told myself that I was not worth the trouble or

“burden” that would be caused if I told someone off for doing something unkind to me. And I don’t mean yelling at someone and being mean back, and I don’t mean someone cutting you off while driving. I mean your friend blows off your plans with no consideration, or someone leads you on then ignores you. You are a wholesome and full person who deserves emotional respect and space to express yourself, and you act on it when you let someone know that what they did was unkind to you and that you do not appreciate it. Stand up for yourself. If this happened to a friend you’d think they deserve to be defended and you’d tell that person off for your friend. So what about you? People need to know that their actions have effects on people. Whether that person takes it to heart or not isn’t your responsibility. Your responsibility is to yourself, and to be the friend who sticks up to the bullies for you. You need to view yourself as the protector, and as someone worth protecting.

3. Pick you

This is the bluntest one yet. Self-love, self-respect, self-care... that shit ain’t easy. It

takes CONSTANT ​conscious​ self-discipline. So for this one, it is just that, you have to pick you. We heart it a lot sure, but how much do we put it into practice? We are constantly putting our friends, our partners, our family’s and other people’s needs before our own. What’s the best outcome for their li- NO! What is best for YOU! No one, and I mean no one, will ever choose you the way you can choose you. We love people; we admire them and put them on a pedestal. Imagine if you put you on that pedestal. You should! You deserve it. People will only ever love you as much as you love you, and often less than that. We catch onto how people feel about themselves and we treat them just like that. Set the bar high. Love yourself the most people we do as we see, not as we hear. Seeing someone love themselves, those are the people we tend to admire so just imagine if you did that to you. Stop selling yourself short.

You are the best thing since sliced bread and the only reason I know it is because I see you ​own it​. Don’t wait on others to value you. Don’t wait on that text or call or ride or pick up, and I don’t mean this all to tell you to cut everyone off, but really, choose you above anyone and anything. This can look like heading home to relax and treat yourself if your friends don’t get back to you in time, or simply going out with someone else who did show up with you. This can mean cutting it off or setting different standards with a romantic person if they aren’t able to give you what you want and need. Make decisions and choose you. We’ve been told our whole lives but the older and deeper into the big scary world we’re gonna get the more its gonna matter. Love and choose yourself so specifically, because bigger situations are gonna go down that are gonna matter a lot more than our college relationships and when they do, you have to pick you.

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