The Importance of Self-Respect

Self-respect is the first requirement for any healthy relationship, including the one you have with yourself. Besides developing healthy relationships, having self-respect can help you fulfill your potential and ensure you only accept people and things worthy of your presence.

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However, respecting yourself is easier said than done. That is why it’s essential to learn what self-respect is, its benefits, and how to feel satisfied with who you are.

In this article, we’ll look into definitions of self-respect and its impact on one’s life. We will also point out common signs of poor self-respect and suggest strategies to build your self-respect and have the life you deserve.

Short Summary

The Definition of Self-Respect

From an early age, we are taught to respect others. Respect other children in the kindergarten, our teachers, neighbors, and other people’s belongings. Respecting others meant being kind to them and doing them no harm; however, we rarely talk about self-respect. As a society, we are more often taught to respect others than ourselves, so our knowledge of respecting ourselves could be better.

So, what is self-respect? Although experts have defined self-respect in a wide range of ways, they all agree it has a huge value for one’s life. Psychological researchers explain self-respect as the ability to recognize and value oneself, respect one's needs and desires, and decide in a way that allows one to maintain dignity.

Self-respect is still vital because it helps us to overcome obstacles, develop lifelong resilience, and preserve our emotional well-being. Our perception of our worth and actions toward self-love is intimately linked to our self-respect.

Benefits of Having Self-Respect

Self-respect matters in so many ways. People with high self-confidence typically perform better in schools and careers, have stronger relationships, greater mental and physical health, and show less antisocial behaviors. What is essential to know is that these advantages last throughout childhood, adulthood, and old age.

Because various psychological and social factors influence long-term consequences, self-respect is only one piece of the puzzle that may help explain why some people perform better or worse in some areas of life.

You can expect to see these benefits in individuals who have self-respect:

Signs of Low Self-Respect

Having low self-respect can be shown in many ways. Luckily, there are different strategies and techniques to try out, recommended by mental health experts who work with people experiencing low self-respect.

These are some of the common signs closely related to people with poor self-respect that can appear in different situations:

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You don’t need to experience all these signs to be someone who has poor self-respect. Often, individuals who lack self-respect will feel good about their achievements or believe they are worthy of something positive. The problem is that these beliefs don’t last long and are washed away by harsh self-criticism and negativity.

Difference Between Self-Respect And Narcissism

Around the age of seven, both narcissism and low self-respect begin to develop. Narcissism is defined by entitlement, grandiosity, superiority, and self-centeredness, whereas self-respect is defined as self-acceptance and confidence in oneself.

Narcissism tends to peak during the teenage years and progressively decreases throughout life. In contrast, self-respect often hits its lowest point during these formative years but typically increases as life progresses. As a result, throughout human development, the development of narcissism and high self-respect shows a mirror image of one another. Also, better social interactions are predicted by high self-respect, whereas individuals with narcissism tend to experience relationship problems.

Self-Respect And Mental Health

Self-respect is not the same as self-confidence. Your ability in a given area of your life is related to your confidence level. Even someone with strong confidence in their unique skills can struggle with poor self-respect. Gaining faith in yourself in a specific area of life will only sometimes translate into higher self-respect.

Developing self-worth is essential. When we learn to love ourselves, we aspire to a better family life, healthier relationships, more rewarding work, etc. However, it is difficult to change the negative views we have about ourselves, and experts frequently advise seeking therapy to address the underlying causes of these thoughts.

Consequences of Poor Self-Respect And Low Self Esteem

While low self-respect is not considered a mental health disorder in and of itself, there are strong correlations between our overall mental and emotional health and how we view ourselves, which ultimately impacts our self-esteem.

A person with strong self-respect thinks well of themselves, can identify their positive traits, and generally aspire to lead a successful and happy life. People lacking self-respect feel bad about themselves and think they are unworthy of success, pleasure, or love.

There are many ways that low self-respect can harm different areas of a person’s life, such as:

What Impacts Our Sense of Self-Respect?

Early childhood events can be the cause of poor self-respect. A person may develop negative core ideas about themselves if they were ignored or abused, struggled to live up to their parent's expectations, or didn't fit in at school. These beliefs then start influencing how we interact with our friends and in certain areas of our lives, such as work. Often, how we've been treated is how we allow others to treat us.

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Like other long-term, default values, self-respect mainly develops throughout our childhood. When a parent or a caregiver loves and values us for who we are, we, as children, learn that it's okay to love ourselves.

Giving a child all love and attention is the first step in teaching them to value who they are. They will be far less inclined to set unhealthy boundaries if they understand that they don't need to do anything exceptional to be worthy of love and respect.


Although different factors from childhood frequently have a more important impact on an individual's feeling of self-respect, adult effects are just as important. Various factors, including relationships, employment, and life experiences, can influence a person's perception of self-respect.

How to Improve Self-Respect

If you or someone you care about lacks self-respect, there are many ways to improve it. After all, this is not a new problem for our society, so psychologists and psychiatrists have been sharing efficient strategies and tips over the years.

The best piece of advice to have true self-respect is to seek therapy, of course. Talking to a mental health professional can help you understand why you have poor respect towards yourself and learn tips that can apply to your case. However, if this is not an option for you or you prefer to take things into your own hands, you will want to check out these recommended strategies for improving your well-being and practicing self-respect.

1. Get the Know Yourself

How well do you know yourself? Yes, you know your name, where you live, your occupation, and details, but how well do you know what matters to you? Write down your values and the things you stand for. Imagine yourself without material possessions, and ask yourself what will matter.

After you’ve addressed these values, think about your other personality traits. What are the things you’d like to change about yourself? Would you like to be more spontaneous, positive, or have more discipline? Understanding your areas to improve will help you feel more in control over what you can do to feel better about yourself.

2. Prioritize Your Strengths

Be aware that you could start believing that your wealth, status, appearance, belongings, or the number of followers you have on social media determine your value. Self-respect is based on internal factors such as behavior, morality, values, and character.

Once you embark on this journey of improving how you see yourself, you will want to focus on these strengths and values. Write them down to remind yourself of who you are and motivate yourself to proceed when facing a challenging situation.

3. Learn to Accept Yourself

Without being sucked into your thoughts, start paying attention to your mental patterns. Focus on understanding and accepting who you are, and let go of your critical inner voice. Practice accepting and forgiving your flaws, bad habits, and everything else you struggle to accept about yourself.

Nobody is perfect, and that’s completely fine. Instead of criticizing yourself, consider looking into ways to improve what you don’t like or accept them as they are. You will not be able to change everything about yourself, and there is truly no point in doing that.

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4. Face Your Negative Thoughts

Pay attention to how your negative thought patterns affect your actions. The way you act is impacted by the way you think. Identify your triggers for negative thoughts and rationalize them. If a negative experience, act, or lack of specific skills automatically causes you to consider yourself unworthy, recognizing and challenging this thought process can be helpful.

For example, if you feel unworthy because you haven’t managed to get everything you planned that day, instead of seeing it as a failure, focus on the things you did get done. Also, maybe not getting things done is the time to review your current capacity for doing things. People are not machines; sometimes, we just need to take it easier and not be afraid to have more fun in our lives.

5. Avoid Self Doubt

This one might sound too obvious, but it’s true. You're not gaining anything when you’re doubting yourself and your abilities. No one can make you feel worthless of something unless you allow them to. Instead of trying to seek ways to connect and impress others, it's helpful to spend some time building a connection with yourself.

Having an inner critic in your head is often more harmful than beneficial, so try to become aware each time self-doubt appears. Dedicate some time to discussing this matter with yourself. As the respect towards yourself grows, your self-doubt will start decreasing, allowing you to enjoy life more.

Self-Respect Means a Better Life for Yourself

How you see yourself impacts all areas of your life, including relationships, career, and social life. Therefore, a strong sense of self is a crucial component of identity. To earn the love and respect of others, you must first learn to appreciate and love yourself.

Several techniques are recommended to improve respect towards yourself and practice self-care, and they all lead to a strong sense of self-worth. Seeing a licensed clinical psychologist could also be helpful. They can assist you in defining your default values, resolving unfavorable thought patterns, establishing strict limits, and discovering how to love yourself.

We hope this article helped you realize that negative self-talk will not bring you anything you’re hoping for. Instead, it will make you feel worse and waste the energy you could have used for positive things and certain people.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What It Means to Have Self-respect?

Self-respect means that a person is taking care of their own needs and wants in order to be able to do that for others as well. Their core beliefs about themselves are positive, and they practice self-care. Also, they firmly believe they deserve love just by existing, so they have no issues setting healthy boundaries.

How Do You Develop Self-respect?

For someone who lacks self-respect, the best way to develop it is to treat themselves better. Focus on your values and apply helpful self-care techniques. Remember that respecting yourself will help you feel positive about everything and connect with quality people moving forward.

How Do You Show Yourself Self-respect?

To learn how to respect others, you have to learn to respect yourself first. Whether you're showing respect to a friend, family member, or your romantic partner, respecting their values to treat them how they deserve is essential. Learn to respect their boundaries and remind them of yours to build respectful relationships.