If You Don’t Respect Yourself, Why Should Anyone Else?

Why is self-respect so important?

When you have self-respect:

  • you actually fully love yourself, for who you are on the inside and not just because of what you do, what you look like, or what you’re capable of
  • you take pride in who you are and you know that you’re valuable.

On the flipside, without self-respect, it’s difficult to have honesty, confidence, and integrity. Instead, you may feel anger, guilt, blame, shame, or regret, and sport secretive behavior because deep down you feel unworthy.

Beyond that, if you can’t respect yourself, how can you respect others and how can others respect you?

Putting Your Needs First

Too many people put the needs of others before their own. Although this can be admirable, to really respect and serve others you need to meet your own physical and emotional needs first. Meeting your own needs first is an important part of respecting yourself.

Here’s a story of Joan, who realized too late the importance of respecting her own needs:

Joan had a friend that she did everything for. She would always put the needs of her friend before her own. Whenever her friend needed help with something, big or small, Joan would always be there even if she had to rearrange her own schedule.

It worked for a while, but then Joan began to feel that the constant help for her friend was becoming emotionally taxing. It was almost as if Joan became a servant to her friend. She wasn’t Joan; she was just her friend’s “friend.” Even her friend began to think of her that way.

Eventually Joan began to feel like her friend was taking advantage of her and these feelings escalated into resentment. Joan started to make excuses to get out of helping her friend. Now they are no longer friends.

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What happened?

Joan thought she could only gain self-respect by putting what her friend wanted and needed, ahead of what she herself wanted and needed. She was trying to prove she deserved respect instead of looking into herself and finding the great things about herself that already deserved respect.

* Because she didn’t respect herself, eventually her friend didn’t respect her either.

If Joan respected herself and her own needs, she might have communicated her feelings to her friend and put her own schedule first sometimes. Joan would’ve felt the confidence to do the things she needed to do for herself as well as choosing and re-prioritising doing things for her friend.

Fundamentally, Joan’s self-respect would have taught her friend to respect her also. There’s a good chance that Joan and her friend would still be friends if she had only looked inside herself and realized that there was already a lot about herself to respect – probably many of them were things that attracted her friend in the first place.

* There’s nothing wrong with stepping up for others, but you must have a solid sense of self-respect for yourself first.

Respecting Your Mind, Body, and Spirit

Because you’re a unique human being with strengths and great qualities of your own, you need to respect your entire mind, body, and spirit.

Don’t look in a mirror and say, “I’m not attractive” or “I’m so stupid.” That’s not what matters. Don’t you think your loved ones love you unconditionally? Of course! They love you because of what’s inside of you. They respect you for who you really are and you can learn to respect yourself too.

If you feel unattractive, unintelligent or uninspired, use a tool like EFT to help you find and transform the parts of yourself that you don’t like! Respect your body because it is the home of your mind and spirit, then harness that spirit and love it because it is who you are.

Loving your body, mind, and spirit is the key to gaining self-respect. It is then that you can extend yourself out to meet the needs of others.


  1. kathy on December 21, 2009 at 12:35 am

    das true if u dnt respect urself how do u expect others 2 respect u

  2. merry lynne on January 23, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    I get that the reason some people fall in this trap , is they live for others’s approval. Hence, wanting something from others. This behavior puts all the self love in the “contracting the job out”. Seems when others want something from others it fosters inauthentic behavior.

    • Sandy Kumskov on February 9, 2010 at 9:55 pm

      Hi Merry – yup! And we’re encouraged to keep contracting it out too, don’t you think? I heard something the other day that really resonated with me – that we are here to discover who we are, and then live that way. I like your phrase, contracting the job out 🙂 Most people do that, and then wonder why they’re unhappy… thanks for commenting 🙂

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