Respect is one of the most dignified qualities human beings should acquire. It is a positive reaction and portrays a sense of value to anything or anyone.
Growing up and being the eldest, I sacrificed a lot for my younger siblings' sake. I forfeited a lot of my happiness and joy simply because I felt that, being the eldest, I deserved much less than they did.
I said yes to almost everything they demanded from me, even things that I did not agree with, because I thought that was showing honour to them. Most times my efforts went unnoticed, and I began to feel taken advantage of. I felt used and eventually abused, because I was being robbed of my happiness. I lost respect for myself.
The love and compassion I had for myself were being taken away, and it ate me up inside. Why was I allowing this to happen? Why was it okay for me to put other people before myself? We get so caught up in doing for others what we fail to do for ourselves. We put the need to respect other people first, while sometimes disrespecting who we are in the process.
Self-respect is not about being boastful or putting yourself above other people — it's got nothing to do with elevating yourself. It's got absolutely nothing to do with being arrogant or overestimating what we can or cannot do — but we need to be able to show compassion and honour for ourselves.
The amount of respect we have for ourselves speaks volumes about various aspects of our lives. The way we relate to other people, the way we react to issues, and the way we treat our partners in relationships, to how far we will get in our careers and so forth. The respect we have for who we are is visible in the way our lives turn out. The things we go through in life are mostly the result of what we let in.
We should honour and have so much compassion for ourselves, that we do not leave any room to receive anything less than what we deserve.
Self-respect is a subject with which many young women are familiar, but still do not practise enough. I mean, what more could matter to a young woman than how she perceives herself? We all deserve love and affection, but we certainly don't all receive it. We all go through various experiences in life — things that have broken us and cut us into pieces.
We may have disappointed ourselves and those around us through bad decision-making, and that comes with the package called life. It's often these experiences that make us believe we are not so great after all.
We often choose to neglect the positive side out of negative situations, simply because it seems to be the right way to feel after having gone through a rough patch.
What value then do we truly place on ourselves? Have we overcome our pain, our past, our backgrounds, our breakups and failed relationships to the point where we are at peace about it? What level of respect do we have for ourselves after we have messed up, after we have fallen and hit rock bottom, when we eventually get back up and are still complete?
My truth is, the opinion we have about ourselves gives birth to the respect we demand. We should honour and have so much compassion for ourselves, that we do not leave any room to receive anything less than what we deserve. We should have the courage to be who we desire to be, without being made to feel any less.
As has been said many times: "Respect yourself, and others will respect you."