This article was revised and updated 2 November 2023
When You Lack Self-Respect
Lack of self-respect can be a major block to personal growth and self-improvement because it can impact many areas of our lives.
When we don’t value ourselves, we may struggle to assert our needs and boundaries, tolerate mistreatment from others, and fail to pursue our goals and dreams.
This can lead to feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and low self-esteem.
Here are some ways that a lack of self-respect can hold us back:
- Struggle to assert our needs and boundaries
When we lack self-respect, we may not feel deserving of having our needs met or our boundaries respected.
This can make it difficult for us to assert ourselves in relationships and situations, and may lead to feelings of powerlessness and resentment.
- Tolerate mistreatment from others
When we don’t value ourselves, we may be more likely to tolerate mistreatment from others, such as being in an abusive relationship or staying in a job where we’re not treated well.
This can lead to feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem.
- Difficulty pursuing goals and dreams
When we don’t believe in ourselves, we may struggle to pursue our goals and dreams.
We may feel that we’re not capable of achieving what we want, or that we don’t deserve success or happiness.
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
When we lack self-respect, we may feel helpless and hopeless about our lives.
We may feel that we don’t have the power to change our circumstances or create a better future for ourselves.
- Low self-esteem
Finally, a lack of self-respect can lead to low self-esteem.
We may not see ourselves as worthy or deserving of love, respect, or success, which can impact our confidence and sense of self-worth.
When You Lack Self-Validation
The lack of self-respect, and its associated feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and low self-esteem, can spillover into negative feelings and assumptions about what you do.
In effect, when you feel less and less validated in who you are, this leads to feelings of a lack of validation what you do.
This lack of self-validation invariably means that you will seek validation from others and external situations.
For instance, if you don’t feel valued in your job or that what you do matters to anyone, you will seek to feel valued and respected through your boss and work colleagues, even your clients and customers.
Your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours will therefore reflect this need to be of value and to matter, which will be needy and self-serving. You will be motivated to do things only for the reward of being noticed and praised.
The value in doing what you do won’t be in the good you can do for your team or your customers, rather its value will only be in the good that it can bring to you.
But if that reward isn’t forthcoming, if you don’t get the attention and respect you feel you deserve from your boss, colleagues, or clients, then you will feel undervalued and resentful.
Here are some questions to consider:
- Do you feel that what you do isn’t good enough?
- Does the value in what you do need to be recognised?
- Are you what you do? A human doing or a human being?
- Do you respect who you are and what you do?
The answer to these questions will reveal how much or how little self-validation you have.
The Benefits of Building Self-Respect
Building self-respect is a vital component of personal growth and emotional well-being. It serves as a cornerstone for various aspects of our lives, contributing to a sense of self-worth and inner strength.
When you prioritise self-respect, you unlock a multitude of benefits that can enhance your overall quality of life, such as your emotional and mental well-being.
For instance, a study published in the journal Self and Identity (Orth & Robins, 2014) discovered that individuals with higher levels of self-respect reported greater life satisfaction and fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, emphasising the role of self-respect in maintaining good mental health and emotional equilibrium.
Yet another study, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review (Crocker & Park, 2004), further confirmed the positive relationship between self-respect and psychological well-being. This study highlights how a healthy self-regard is linked to lower levels of psychopathological symptoms, further underlining the importance of self-respect in preserving emotional stability and overall wellness.
There are many other benefits of self-respect. When you value yourself, you are more likely to:
- Assert your needs and boundaries.
- Set healthy goals and pursue your passions.
- Develop healthy relationships.
- Feel confident and empowered.
- Experience greater happiness and fulfillment.
#1: Asserting Your Needs and Boundaries
Asserting your needs and boundaries becomes second nature when you have a strong sense of self-respect.
You’re less likely to compromise on your values and tolerate behaviours that go against your principles.
This self-assuredness empowers you to advocate for yourself and maintain healthy boundaries in both personal and professional relationships.
You become a steadfast guardian of your own well-being.
#2: Set Healthy Goals and Pursue Your Passions
Self-respect also provides the foundation for setting and pursuing healthy goals and passions.
With a belief in your worth, you’re more likely to dream big and go after your ambitions. You recognise your potential and are driven to make the most of it.
This internal drive motivates you to take risks, learn, and grow, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling life.
#3: Develop Healthy Relationships
Healthy relationships with others are another benefit of self-respect.
When you respect yourself, you naturally gravitate towards people who treat you with respect and kindness.
You establish connections that are based on mutual appreciation and support.
Moreover, your self-respect equips you with the emotional resilience to navigate conflicts and disagreements constructively, fostering deeper and more meaningful relationships.
#4: Feel Confident and Empowered
With self-respect as your foundation, you exude confidence and empowerment in your everyday life.
You trust in your abilities and judgements, which significantly bolsters your self-confidence.
This newfound self-assuredness enables you to tackle challenges, take risks, and adapt to changes with resilience.
You approach life’s ups and downs with a positive attitude and an unwavering belief in your capacity to overcome obstacles.
#5. Experience Greater Happiness and Fulfillment
One of the most profound outcomes of cultivating self-respect, however, is the experience of greater happiness and fulfillment.
Your overall well-being improves as you no longer rely on external validation to feel good about yourself. Instead, your happiness is rooted in the knowledge that you are inherently valuable, regardless of others’ opinions.
This intrinsic happiness can bring a profound sense of contentment and joy to your life.
Self-respect, therefore, is a powerful force that can transform your life in numerous ways.
By valuing and prioritising your own worth and happiness, you can build a solid foundation for personal growth and well-being.
As the research suggests, a healthy sense of self-respect can lead to a more fulfilling and emotionally balanced life.
So, take the time to nurture your self-respect and watch as it enhances your life in ways you never thought possible.
How to Build Self-Respect
So, how can we build self-respect? Here are a few things to consider:
- Practice Self-Care
Self-care is an important way to show yourself that you value your well-being.
This can involve activities such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
- Set Healthy Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries is a key component of self-respect.
This involves saying “no” to things that don’t align with your values or goals, and asserting your needs in relationships and situations.
- Celebrate Your Achievements
Take time to celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may be.
This can help you to recognize your worth and build confidence in your abilities.
- Surround Yourself with Positive Influences
Surrounding yourself with positive influences, such as supportive friends and mentors, can help you to develop a sense of self-worth and confidence.
- Cultivate a Positive Mindset
Finally, cultivating a positive mindset can help you to develop greater self-respect.
This involves reframing negative self-talk and focusing on your strengths and accomplishments.
7 Tips for Self-RESPECT
So, although the lack of self-respect can be a major obstacle to personal growth and self-improvement, building self-respect can have many benefits for our emotional and mental well-being.
By practicing self-care, setting healthy boundaries, celebrating our achievements, surrounding ourselves with positive influences, and cultivating a positive mindset, we can develop a greater sense of self-worth and confidence in our lives.
Here are 7 tips to help you do this:
#1: RESPOND with kindness, and don’t react with negative judgement of yourself or of others.
#2: EMBRACE your mistakes and allow yourself to fail—your greatest lessons for success will come from your failures.
#3: SERVE and treat others as you would have them serve and treat you.
#4: PRAISE yourself for your efforts and celebrate your victories no matter how small.
#5: ENGAGE help when you need it and don’t try to do everything on your own.
#6: CRY if you have to and accept your vulnerability—you’re only human.
#7: TRY and keep trying to reach your worthy goal—never give up.