Sunday, November 18, 2018

In The Spirit ~ Self-Respect: The Base of the 'Selfs'

Self-respect, like the other 'selfs' (self-esteem, self-worth, self-love, self-image, etc.), isn't something we're born with. We learn it as we grow from what surrounds us, the experiences we have and how we are treated. It takes a long time to achieve true self-respect and it is very vulnerable to being torn down. It is also a much harder process in building it back up

We are bombarded with the importance of extending respect to others, but what is it exactly? One definition of respect is, "...a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements." This is all wonderful but one thing left out of this definition is that respect has to be earned. And if one doesn't respect oneself, how are they supposed to expect others to give it to them?

Here's an example. All of us have access to many forms of social media. In a way, these platforms of communication are a good thing as they keep us in contact with those we may not see very often. However, there are some who take things on these medias past this point to where they are sharing more than they really need to, in every aspect. The other day I went on Facebook to update my author page and actually paid attention to some of what was going on in my newsfeed. I ask you, is it really necessary to share, or use as profile pictures, selfies where body parts take up almost the entire shot then sport a pouty porn smile to boot? Do we really need to hear the unedited version (forgetting that there are impressionable young people out there) of what they're doing, have done and with whom? I had a sense of empathy that some need so much to be the center of attention that they resort to 'putting it all out there' when there are more discrete ways of sharing.

Now I am no prude. Far from. However, I know what it's like to have your self-respect reduced to an almost non-existent state and a lot of it was due to giving respect to those who not only didn't respect me, but obviously didn't respect themselves if the way they feel powerful is to take it away from others.

I learned.

I grew.

And, most importantly, I now have three teenage girls who need to learn the importance of holding their 'selfs' close. In order to help elicit that, I have to practice what I preach.

Many years ago, my grandmother and I were having our daily tea time and she gave me some powerful pearls of wisdom I hold true to this day. She said, "There are so many women out there who just put everything out for all to see, leaving nothing left to the imagination. How can she expect to be trusted when what should be kept private is what's seen right off the bat? It's difficult to see her intelligence, her strength, her abilities, her values, her morals or her ethics when everything else is put on the plate first. Respect those things in yourself and share those things, before you give anything else away. That's how you earn the respect you deserve."

And she's right. If self-respect is missing, so is your self-worth and self-esteem. Learn all you can to nurture and grow your 'selfs', and never just hand them over to another person. Surround yourself with those you aspire to be. Bring more positive into your life than negative. And, yes. Remove situations, practices and people who tend to peck away at what you're working so hard to build up and maintain.

To yourself be true. 

First, and always.

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