If you constantly attract toxic people into your life, get stuck doing the dirty work, and can’t seem to make anything work out for you, you could be lacking in respect for yourself. Having standards and knowing your worth will help you set boundaries and remove the people and things in your life that aren’t serving you. So how do you know if you need to raise your self-respect levels? Read on to find out.
- You maintain relationships where people treat you poorly. Sometimes, it’s easier said than done to leave a toxic relationship. But staying in a bad relationship, whether it’s a friendship or romantic, is a sign that you need to respect yourself more. Self-respect means not forcing yourself to put up with unacceptable behavior. One of the reasons why a person might accept being treated poorly is because they don’t recognize that they don’t deserve that kind of treatment. They don’t respect themselves enough to acknowledge it.
- You constantly put yourself down. Self-deprecation is super common, especially as a form of humor. When people are uncomfortable receiving compliments or don’t want to look arrogant, they might downplay their positive traits and achievements. But there’s a difference between joking every now and then and constantly saying negative things about yourself. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t say it about someone you respect, then you shouldn’t say it about yourself.
- You never say no. Respecting yourself means being able to say no. As an adult, you don’t have someone else looking after your wellbeing, so you have to be able to do it for yourself. Sometimes, that will involve saying no. To look after your own mental health and wellbeing, you’ll eventually have to say no in a variety of situations. No to party invites when you’re exhausted. No to dates when you’re not interested. And no to working overtime when your boss loves taking advantage of you. If you don’t have self-respect, you’re more likely to say yes and suffer rather than assert yourself.
- Asking for what you want seems impossible. Does it feel almost impossible to voice your feelings and ask for what you want? This can be another sign of a lack of self-respect. You might think that you don’t deserve the things you want when, in reality, you do! It can definitely take confidence and practice to get comfortable asking for things. But this is an important skill to master in life. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.
- People constantly cross your boundaries. Boundaries can involve your body, your property, and your emotional health. They might look like consent before sex, not wearing dirty shoes in your house, or asking permission before venting feelings onto you. When you lack respect for yourself, you’ll be less likely to call out people who cross your boundaries. This might be someone you’re close to, like a boyfriend. It might be friends, family, or even acquaintances and strangers. Those who respect themselves tend to not accept their boundaries being crossed. They also tend to be better at setting those boundaries in the first place.
- You harm your body. Looking after your body is definitely a sign of self-respect. Would you go to a building that you respect, such as a church or government building, and leave behind trash? Probably not. It’s the same thing with your body. Depriving your body of the proper nutrition, rest, and exercise, and filling it with toxic substances, is just like trashing it. It’s a sign you need to raise your levels of self-respect if you constantly harm your body and deprive it of the good things.
- You’d rather be with someone terrible than single. The fear of being alone can come down to a variety of things. Sometimes, it’s a sign that you’re lacking in respect for yourself. You might believe that you’re not worth very much on your own, so you need a partner to give your life meaning. That line of thinking often leads people to get into terrible relationships because (they think) it’s better to be with someone awful than stay by themselves.
- You’re always apologizing. Apologies are necessary sometimes, but it’s also possible to go overboard here. It’s okay to say sorry when you genuinely mess up. But walking around in a state of “sorry” where you’re constantly apologizing for every little thing is a sign that you don’t respect yourself enough. You should never be sorry for practicing your rights. Remember, you don’t have to be sorry just for existing and taking up space.
- You do anything to make people like you. People-pleasing can be another clue that you lack self-respect. Depending on how far you take it, it can show that you value other people’s approval above your own. To be clear, it’s totally normal to want other people to like and accept you. It’s only when you betray your own values and needs to get that approval that it becomes a problem.