The key to a meaningful and successful life

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Most of us seek success in our lives, both personally and professionally. We try to understand and apply principles, which we believe will lead us to those coveted successes. However, we ignore the real basis on which each of these is built: self-respect.

Over the years, self-respect has been given a wave of meanings. Some people see it as an attitude of loving and respecting our truthfulness. Others see it as a flame to increase our value to ourselves and others.

Although phrased differently, these meanings point to one conclusion: self-respect is the foundation on which you can grow and create a meaningful and successful life.

This may seem absurd to some and insignificant to others. Yet, this self-respect has helped depressed people to regain a taste for life and lonely people to build their network. It has enabled entrepreneurs to have faith in their business and employees to gain the respect of their colleagues. In other words, it has enabled some people to increase their dignity and others to reach their full potential.

Before we present some guidelines to help you develop it, let’s discover how self-respect really impacts your daily life.

How does self-respect impact your life?

To answer this question, let’s look together at three cases that might sound familiar.

Mark, a 14-year-old boy, was having a hard time fitting in at school. Despite some good results, he still could not make friends with his schoolmates. He dreaded the company of his classmates and preferred to isolate himself at the back of the class to remain unnoticed. He felt he had no value to hold up or qualities to bring to others. His life seemed so shitty that he felt like taking his life away from himself at times. As Harter, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Denver, has pointed out, “for a young person’s psychological well-being, it is important to feel unconditionally accepted by the people he considers important.” [1]

This lack of self-respect at a young age disrupts the lives of many adolescents on this earth.

[…]

Let’s consider Jeff’s case this time. Jeff is a young father who had a very difficult time as a child. The abuse he suffered at the hands of his parents did not leave him unaffected.

As a result of this trauma, Jeff developed a lack of self-respect that grew worse with each passing day. He smoked a packet of cigarettes every day on the living room couch while his wife looked after their children. He refused to get off his butt because his parents kept saying things like “don’t even try”, “you’re not cut out for this” or “you’ll never make it”. He lived like a wretch looking for something to pass the time to forget those awful moments of his youth. In other words, Jeff was living his life instead of taking full responsibility for it.

How about discussing the case of the young woman Natasha?

Natasha is a young entrepreneur who runs a small team of 10 people. She loves her job and tries to do whatever is necessary to make her business successful.

However, over the past few months, Natasha has developed a certain subtle form of self-respect within herself. Before a meeting or when a colleague interprets her requests negatively, she feels guilty and thinks she is not living up to her colleagues’ expectations. Despite the fact that her company is growing and gaining market share through her work, she keeps asking herself if she really deserves her position.

This Natasha, who was initially proud to be a leader, now finds herself caught in a trap that she herself has set from her imaginary perception. To find herself in such a situation certainly shows a lack of respect for her own person.

[…]

Through these different situations, it is possible to see to what extent self-respect crowns most of our actions. Indeed, it reflects our perception of ourselves and directs many of our daily decisions. By taking an internal look at who we are, it partly determines our ability to act and relate to others. Martin Seligman and Judith Beck, two American psychologists, proved in their study on positive psychology that low self-esteem can make an individual vulnerable and depressed. If left unchecked, it can be so fatal that the individual is sometimes at risk of committing the irreparable.

Having said that, let’s find out together how to develop self-respect.

How to develop self-respect?

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