Self-respect is one of the most crucial aspects of our lives. If we do not understand how to appreciate ourselves and our worth, how can we ever expect others to?
There are social and cultural systems at play which influence our views and personal values. From the time we start school to the time we enter our career path, society is constantly trying to guide our emotions in an effort to make us feel incomplete, or below par, if we don‘t buy what they are selling. This affects our self-worth and self-respect.
"Consumption-Vanity Disorder" is an invented disease as are the thousands of others fabricated by our modern medical paradigm, but with one exception -- it is a disease of the mass mental mindset and unlike the fictionalized diagnoses of other medical maladies, this one is a reality. It has spread not through a mutating virus or genetic predisposition - but through cultural "Memes" - turning the world into a cesspool of mini-malls, fashion obsessions, fake boobs and belligerent gadgetry.
These distorted views cause us to underestimate the value of many things in our lives. We place the highest value on things, relationships and experiences before we have them, and then once we do, that value diminishes over time. Only once we've lost what we have valued do we appreciate that value at the same or higher level before we had it in the first place.
When we place greater importance on external validation rather than internal validation those distortions are amplified. It’s human nature to want the approval of others, but it should not be the standard by which we gauge our own worth.
This does not come easy so a conscious effort must be consistently made on a day-to-day basis. A lack of self-respect can, and most often does, result in depression and self-destructive behaviors. We need to reinforce our positive qualities and actively try to fix our negative qualities. When everything else in the world fails we will always have our self-respect to fall back on. How feel about ourself affects every single aspect of our life.
We need to develop an empowering belief about our own worth as a person, and it should form the basis for our personal validation. External validation should be used to reinforce our beliefs, not as a basis for them.
Never allow someone else’s opinion of you to shape your view of yourself. Practice giving sincere approval to yourself every single day.
By achieving this, you set boundaries for your life and your relationships. Self-respect and self-esteem play hand in hand with one another. Self-esteem gives you the confidence to succeed and without it you are simply placing limitations on yourself.
How much stuff we own has absolutely nothing to do with our personal value. Your contributions are much more important than your acquisitions. Giving from the heart is a reflection of your inner self. It speaks of who you are, not how much you can afford.
Making personal value judgments based on material assets is for shallow thinkers only. Leave that thinking for the creditors. We don’t want to think that way, and we don’t need to be influenced by those who do.
This one seems obvious enough, and yet our culture often places greater value on flash. Never mistake looks, abilities, outrageous behavior or material wealth as a measure of self-worth. Substance is the name of the game. No matter how nicely wrapped a package is, the important thing is what’s inside.
The same is true of people, it’s what’s inside that counts. When we are true to our personal ethics, we have integrity. When we care about the welfare of others, we have compassion. When we give without expecting anything in return, we are generous.
Cultivate these qualities and you will be a person of substance. What a wonderful basis for a strong sense of self-worth and feelings of true value.
Try counting your positives and be grateful for all the good things and people in your life. If you're concerned about wealth and success, know that these can be whatever you like. Abundance comes in many forms. If you're healthy, think about how many people are counting their last breath. If you don't have as much money as you would like, think about the millions of parents in the world that cannot even feed their families. Perhaps redefining what wealth and abundance are may go a long way.
Josh Richardson is blogger, healer, and a constant pursuer of the natural state of human consciousness.