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The Incredible Importance of Self-Respect.

August 3, 2017
This post is about the immense value of having self-respect, and the potentially immense drawbacks and dangers of not having self-respect.
 
Before I go further, I want to point out that self-respect is not the same as having a big (and easily bruised) ego, or arrogance. Those things are not healthy. Self-respect is very healthy.
 
On to the rest of the post..
 
I have come to realize that so many problems we experience are those we bring on ourselves.
 
A big cause of problems we create for ourselves is lack of self-respect. Often, we don’t even realize this.
 
I’ve been looking back on my life, and have been wondering why I was bullied in school at times, treated poorly in the churches I attended, and was sometimes picked on and harassed in the workplace at various jobs.
 
I don’t know all the reasons, but I have finally figured out one of them.
 
I had not respected myself enough. And it showed.
 
Why had I not respected myself? I’ve dealt with serious depression pretty much my entire life. I think this was revealed by my tone of voice, mannerisms, body posture, etc.
 
People could spot me as an easy mark. Some people have a predatory nature, and almost a 6th sense. It is their nature to spot weakness in others, and cause harm.
 
Tone of voice matters. Body posture matters. How we dress and conduct ourselves maters. We can appear confident, even when we are not, even when we don’t feel up to it, even when we are depressed or anxious.
 
In fact, in some circumstances, we NEED to act like we respect ourselves, because otherwise we are much more likely to be victimized, passed up for raises and promotions, make poor relationship choices, and will generally be mistreated.
 
 
Women, pay special attention to this next part. There have been many studies on rape. Although rape is not entirely preventable, there are things women can do to decrease their chances of being raped.
 
What can women do? They can project confidence. One study I read about in college had to do with women being raped in parking lots or parking garages. The conclusion of the study was that women who walked in a way that was not confident, looked at the ground, etc., and appeared weak were much more likely to be raped than those who walked with poise and confidence. Rapists, like other criminals, tend not to want a challenge. They want an easy target. Don’t be one.
 
Scan the area, be observant, develop situational awareness. Men should do this too.
 
Another thing women can do is walk with their car keys in one hand, with the sharp end of one key pointing out. This key can be used for stabbing. Aim for the neck, shoving upward, if you can. Or an eye. A good kick or knee to the crotch works quite well also. Or a kick to the knee or other part of the leg to destabilize balance.
 
Another thing to do is take a self-defense class.. a serious self defense class that meets weekly or bi-weekly, not just a one day seminar. Effective self-defense classes increase confidence in both women and men.
 
Keeping yourself in strong shape is also a very good idea.
 
Don’t be an easy target.
 
Going back to my past..
 
There were times that, even if I knew what I know now, I might not have been able to change my posture and behavior, but maybe I would have. Forewarned is forearmed.
 
I can’t change my past, but I can learn from my past. Right now, I am learning, I working on making changes, and am going to be making more changes.
 
I have already been paying attention to my posture and how I walk. I have also started to dress a little better, regardless of where I am going to be.
 
Even if I’m just headed to the grocery store or to the library, I make sure to look a little nicer than I used to. For example, I won’t just wear an old t-shirt, sweat pants, and beat-up shoes. No. I show respect for myself, and dress better. I wear a pleasant-looking but not overly formal button-down shirt, a good pair of jeans or shorts, socks of appropriate color and length, if I’m wearing socks, no socks with sandals, and shoes that are in good condition.
 
Unless I feel like looking a bit funky. Then I’ll wear my Converse Chucks with my own custom artwork. That’s ok once in awhile. If I’m on a hike though, or doing something else outdoors, then sweat pants, old t-shirts and so forth are fine. It’s about dressing appropriately.
 
It matters how we look. It also matters how we sound.
 
I notice that I sometimes speak in somewhat of an anxious voice that is higher pitched than my natural voice. I need to work on that.
 
Getting in shape..
 
I need to get myself in better shape. This includes improving my diet, which I’ve already started to work on, and get more exercise. Eventually, I also want to regularly attend a practical self-defense class. Being in shape equals feeling more confident.
 
Taking deep, diaphragmatic breaths is important. Practice.
 
I can also do such things as shine my shoes, practice my posture while I’m at home (something I really need to do, not only to improve confidence, but to decrease pain and be more healthy), wear clothes that fit well, not sit down too long and get up from my chair once in awhile.. set a timer for this.. meditate for more mental peace and clarity.. make simple, small improvements that add up to big results.
 
Will I be problem-free? No, but I believe I will have less problems, be more resilient and better able to handle problems that come along, and will be taken more seriously in the future.
 
What about you? Are you experiencing problems in the workplace or in your personal life?
 
Consider how you carry yourself. Consider if you are appearing and acting in a way that shows you have respect for yourself, or are you doing something else?
 
Do you respect yourself? Do you act like you do?
 
Even if you are often down or anxious like I am, you can still make small, positive changes which will make big changes in your life.
 
There is a saying, “fake it ’til you make it.” I even heard a Ted Talk about this. I will put a video of this talk at the bottom of this post. This talk has been viewed by over 12 million people. It focuses on body language and confidence. There are other Ted Talks and various youtube videos that can be helpful.
Do what you have to do to no longer be a victim, not only a victim of others, but a victim of yourself.
 
You will eventually make better choices, and have a better life.
 
Is all this easy? Of course not. Improvement and gaining self-respect requires a LOT of patience (the most difficult part, I think), self-awareness, kindness to yourself, honesty about yourself, and determination. It also requires small, incremental steps, which are doable. I can do this. You can do this. Remember that film, “What About Bob?” Baby steps!
 
Ted Talks and other videos can be helpful, and so can podcasts. You can find Ted Talks and other useful podcasts if you look for them. These don’t cost anything.
 
Check iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.. for guys “Art of Manliness” is a good podcast choice, although it covers a huge range of topics, not just building confidence.
 
There are also two books I am interested in reading that I think will be very good. “The Art of Worldly Wisdom,” written by Baltasar Gracian, and published in 1702. The other is “The 48 Laws of Power,” by Robert Greene, published much more recently. I don’t know how much these books will help, because I’ve only read a little of each so far. But I am optimistic.
 
Don’t kill yourself trying to find just the right self-help book though, and try to find books at the library. If you want to buy books, buy only those you like the best, and find the most useful. And shop around. Using money wisely is something to feel good about.
 
In summation..
 
Creating self-respect, maintaining self-respect, and acting like one has self-respect. This is incredibly important. Take heed.
 
In the comments section, I’m going to include a song which might seem frivolous, but it isn’t. Listen to it, and believe what you hear. (And, I’d give it a ’10.’ It’s got a good beat and I can dance to it).
https://youtu.be/-1pYKdqD1ls
https://youtu.be/Ks-_Mh1QhMc
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