Getting the Respect You Deserve

respect

Respect,  Aretha Franklin sung about it and the word makes the world turn round. It’s there when a customer shows politeness in a shop and when a politician grants equal rights. From the boyfriend who turns up on time, to the boss who doesn’t trash you in front of others. Whether the words or actions are big or small, life is wonderful when we have respect and bad when it’s missing.

A lack of respect from someone in our personal life, a stranger or anyone else is often a deal breaker. Arguments, splits, depression, zero self-esteem and unhappiness are just a few of the consequences. Wars have been started for less important reasons.

Everyone experiences a lack of respect at some point. Even the most happy and confident person will recall a time when their buttons were pressed. But sometimes, people find disrespect is a regular occurrence. At worst, it’s possible to feel like a permanent magnet for bullying, harassment and abuse.

Although there is no magic wand to fix this problem, there are things a person can do to improve matters. Think of someone you know who seems to get a lot of respect. You will notice the way they conduct themselves in life seems to inspire good treatment from others. By copying this behavior it is possible to get a piece of this for yourself.

By practicing the following things, it is likely you will experience some improvement in your situation:

Act like you respect yourself

This is a big deal. If you act like you don’t care about yourself, it sends out the message to others that any amount of dirt is OK with you. Don’t get too drunk, degrade yourself, sleep around or neglect your health. Take care of your appearance and keep your home clean. This doesn’t mean you have to live like a nun or dress in designer clothes. But a small amount of effort in this department won’t just make you feel better, but it will show the world what you are worth.

Stop putting yourself down

Even if you have low self-esteem, it’s important not to openly put yourself down or keep apologizing for yourself in front of other people. When someone hears you highlighting your own flaws, it draws attention to these imperfections. It also gives consent for them to say bad things about you as well. If you owe someone an apology, say sorry once. Don’t beg for forgiveness or seek another’s approval. With a bit of practice, breaking this habit can make a lot of difference to how others see you.

Don’t hang around negative people

If you hang around with someone who puts you down and treats you badly, especially in front of others, it sends out the message you are happy to be treated like this. This gives a green light for other people to disrespect you as well. It’s almost like a problem which multiplies on itself. It’s better to go to the cinema yourself with your head held high, than attract this negative attention.

Learn what being treated well looks like

This sounds obvious, but if someone is used to bad treatment, it can be difficult to recognize what is acceptable in life. Study other people who seem to get respect and learn what good and bad treatment looks like, even if you learn it from a TV show. This makes it easier to develop standards.

Learn to set boundaries

This can be hard, especially if we want to be a tolerant and understanding person. But you should have a line people aren’t allowed to cross. Even write down what your boundaries are and pin them on the bathroom mirror until you can automatically recognize when someone has gone too far.

Deal with things when they happen

When someone disrespects you, it is important to stop the behavior as soon as possible. It is difficult to address things once the moment has passed. Waiting makes it easier for the other person to deny things or minimize the situation. This can be difficult in social gatherings. If you can, quietly take them aside to address the issue, get help from another person or simply say “I won’t be treated like this” and leave quietly in protest. Don’t let other people see you settle for bad treatment.

Be firm and keep your cool

Learning to address issues in an assertive manner is important. In life in general, send out good body language. Hold your head up high and speak firmly and calmly. Don’t sound weak, whiny or aggressive. If you lose your temper, you are losing control on the situation and will probably get accused of being aggressive. There are many books and websites with information about assertiveness. It is also possible to take classes to help with this issue.

Stop trying to please people

Kindness is a very likable trait. Sometimes, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to please other people with the belief that it will make them like or respect you. People which know you just because you’re being “nice”, don’t like you as a person, they just like the things you do. Hang around with people who like you for the person you are. If you can’t lend them money, are too tired to go out or can’t give them a lift, they will be cool with things and still want to know you.

Choose the people in your life

You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends and life partner. When you associate with someone, don’t worry about whether they like you. Instead, think about whether you like them. Shop around and find people you like and respect. Make sure they are with you for the same reasons. Avoid people who are just hanging around with you because of loneliness, convenience or to get stuff. You deserve a lot better than this.

Use help available to you

Don’t be afraid to seek out support when trying to get more respect. This can be anything from sharing things with a caring friend or counselor, contacting a domestic abuse team, or talking to the HR department if someone in the workplace is being difficult. Most of the time, people will be very happy to help you.

Learn to tell the difference between constructive criticism and unfair comments

There is no such thing as a perfect human being. You are included in this. And guess what? You have the same right as everyone else to make mistakes and have flaws. Sometimes, it’s possible to be so used to mistreatment, when people make valid comments, we get defensive and feel victimized instead of addressing an issue. This can stop personal growth and interfere with positive relationships. Sometimes, a person can be completely innocent in situations. But most of the time, all parties involved in a conflict contribute to the situation. Automatically assuming the role of “victim”, instead of admitting to mistakes will give you a reputation of being self-righteous and difficult to know.

Believe you deserve the best

Look around you. How many people look like a supermodel? Have the IQ of a genius? The charisma of a movie star? The wit of a comedian? And have plenty of interesting things to say? Very few. Most people are a perfect blend of good, average and bad points that add up to a unique person who deserves love. You don’t have to be perfect to be a valuable person or deserve respect. Try your best to be a good person, just don’t beat yourself up. Easier said than done, but believing you deserve respect is half the battle won.

 

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