Sex & Life
Sex & Life July 5, 2018
Everybody starts somewhere.
Love can feel like one of the scariest four letter words. Love is vulnerable, unconditional and courageous. We reserve love for a chosen few, because when we love, we open our hearts, and sometimes they break.
However, respect is honest. Respect is a gift. Respect is wise. While we may not always love one another, there is something human about respecting each other. It is an acknowledgement of the struggles and a recognition of the victories that come with existing as a person on our planet. Aretha Franklin didn’t sing a whole song about it for nothing.
If self-love seems like it is just one rung too high on the ladder to confidence, start with self-respect. While self-love is incredibly valuable, it can feel distant if we are just beginning our confidence journey. For those of us who suffer from low self-esteem, admitting that we love ourselves feels like we are breaking some kind of rule.
Respect, alternatively, is simply treating each other with the basic care humans deserve. That’s the thing. You are human. Even when you doubt all other aspects of your self, you can not deny your humanness. Thus, no matter who you are, you deserve self-respect.
But how do we practice self-respect effectively?
As humans, we need nourishment to survive. On the most basic level, food and drink provide nourishment. Thus, being aware of what you put in your body is the first step in respecting yourself. You deserve to feel good inside as a human. If your body was someone else’s, perhaps a child’s, how would you treat it? What would you do to ensure they grew strong and healthy? Ask yourself those questions when meal time comes around. Eat good foods, embrace your veggies and drink plenty of water.
Exercise is another way to practice self-respect. According to Healthline, there are endless benefits to working up a sweat, including boosting your mood and improving muscle function. Exercise can also be incredibly fun. Dancing, horseback riding and swimming are all refreshing ways to work out outside of the gym. Get your groove on and lift your mood up.
Ah, the brain. The thing that makes us (supposedly) the most evolved beings on earth. It is, essentially, the thing that makes us human.
Often, the brain betrays. It acts like a bratty three-year-old, throws its tantrum and leaves us stranded in the middle of Target, lost and pissed off. Just like a wee child, though, the brain needs to be taken care of. One very good option is investing in some quality time with a therapist. Therapists are expert mind managers. Respecting ourselves means knowing when we need help and making the effort to go and get it. Psychology Today offers a free service to find a therapist, available on its website.
There are some at-home remedies for a messy mind, as well. For instance, pay attention to the types of activities that inspire you. Engaging in some creative outlets can keep your brain feeling fun and free. Pick up a paintbrush. Write a movie script. Read a novel. Give yourself the time to indulge in some left brain good times.
This is perhaps the trickiest part and requires the most attention. Our soul, spirit, personality (or whatever you may call it) is an intricate force that requires delicate care. The best thing to do when learning to respect your soul is to be completely honest with yourself. What is it that you’re really facing right now? What pressures are you under? How many of those pressures came from within yourself?
When you pay close attention to who you are at your core, you can better respect your values and thus yourself. Practice self-respect by allowing yourself to pursue things that matter to you. Trust yourself and your abilities. Learn to forgive yourself and others.
Respect yourself by creating a positive environment around you. Recognize that you deserve to be surrounded by good people who lift you up. Include romantic relationships in this. Don’t settle for a partner who does not provide you with the respect you deserve. Nourish your heart. Be your biggest cheerleader. Give yourself the treatment you would give someone you love and cherish.
According to Psychology Today, “With self-respect, we like ourselves because of who we are and not because of what we can or cannot do.” Thus, self respect is not dependent on anyone or anything other than you. It eliminates comparison and embarrassment. Respecting yourself gives you the freedom to live how you honestly wish to do so. If self-love seems a hard pill to swallow today, hydrate yourself with some self-respect and try love again tomorrow.
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