6 Ways to Build Self-Respect (And Why It’s Important)

What is Respect?

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be looking at the importance of respect and its impact on you, your relationships and your mental health. Respect is all about showing care, concern and regard for others feelings and treating others the same way you would like to be treated. 

However, it’s hard to properly give respect to others when you’re not giving any to yourself. Before we explore respect in terms of how you interact with others, it’s important to discuss self-respect, as it is the core of emotional wellbeing and resilience, and helps you understand your inherent worth, build stronger relationships, and enables you to set firm boundaries.

Before exploring ways to boost your self-respect, you have to understand exactly what it is and how low self-respect can impact your life.

What Is Self-Respect?

It’s easy to confuse self-respect with self-esteem, but they’re very different concepts. Think of it like this; self-esteem is about how much you love yourself, while self-respect is about how you demonstrate that love. 

Maybe you’ve heard of self-respect, but you don’t know exactly what it looks like in day-to-day life. Some signs that you might need to work on building your sense of self-respect include:

  • You lack trust in yourself and/or your abilities.
  • You frequently compare yourself to others.
  • Your outlook on the future is negative.
  • You find yourself ‘people-pleasing’ over meeting your own needs or struggle to reinforce boundaries. Maybe you find yourself accepting situations that you are unhappy with to avoid a conflict. 
  • You feel like you have a lack of control over your own life. 
  • You have trouble asking for help.
  • You struggle to accept compliments

If this reminds you of yourself, you might be struggling with your sense of self-respect. That’s ok; it’s something that many people struggle with, and it’s not a feeling that you have to be stuck with forever. There are plenty of ways that you can nurture and build self-respect. 

6 Ways to Build Self-Respect (And Why It’s Important)

1. Know Yourself

Self-respect begins with self-awareness. Take the time to understand your values, strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Reflect on your past experiences, decisions, and their consequences. Understanding who you are and what you stand for lays the foundation for authentic self-respect.

2. Set Boundaries

Respecting yourself means setting and enforcing healthy boundaries. Identify what behaviours, treatment, or situations are unacceptable to you, and communicate them assertively. Boundaries protect your emotional well-being and demonstrate your self-worth to others.

3. Practice Self-Compassion

Self-respect doesn’t mean perfection; it means acknowledging and accepting your humanity, flaws, and mistakes. Cultivate self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and forgiveness. Embrace your imperfections as part of your unique journey. 

4. Pursue Growth and Learning

Set goals that challenge you to grow and acquire new skills. Embrace opportunities for learning and self-improvement. Maybe pick up a new hobby, try a new form of exercise, explore new recipes and foods – just be open to new things! Continuous growth fosters self-respect by affirming your skills and potential.

5. Surround Yourself with Supportive Relationships

Surround yourself with people who uplift, respect, and value you. Cultivate relationships built on mutual trust, appreciation, and empathy. Distance yourself from individuals who undermine your self-worth or perpetuate negativity. A supportive social network bolsters your self-respect and reinforces positive self-perception.

6. Take Care of Yourself

Prioritise your physical, emotional, and mental well-being through self-care practices. Nurture your body with healthy nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient rest. Dedicate time to activities that bring you joy, relaxation, and fulfilment. Taking care of yourself demonstrates self-respect by honouring your fundamental needs and fostering balance in your life.

Building self-respect is a transformative journey that empowers you to navigate life with confidence, dignity, and resilience. Remember, self-respect is not a destination but a continual practice that enriches every aspect of your life. Join us next week to explore how respect can impact your relationships and experiences, and what you can do to improve it. 


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