Feeling self-confident about your abilities is extremely important for attaining your goals and living fulfilled life. Self-respect is the major ingredient of any self-confidence. When you respect someone you feel friendly and positive feelings towards him or her. Similarly, when you respect yourself, you feel positive and friendly about yourself; you value some of your qualities and respect your needs and feelings.
For many black women self-respect doesn’t come naturally. It’s no wonder, since many of us have been raised by only one parent, most often a mother. So most black women didn’t receive enough attention from a single parent. They didn’t feel important during their childhood; they didn’t think their feelings and desires were important and should be respected. So majority of black women have no self-respect and low self-esteem.
The problem of no self-respect is even more profound in the depressed black women. If you were depressed, you’ve probably felt self-hatred and self-loathing, at least during some part of your depression. You’ve probably done everything to earn respect and love from others. When you’ve realized that you won’t get any, you’ve started falsely believing that everybody hated you and didn’t love you. That’s how you’ve started conditioning your values, thinking: ‘If I do or become this or that, I’ll be valuable and loveable’.
It’s time to stop all this! Luckily self-respect can be learnt. If you learn how to respect yourself, you’ll boost your self-esteem tremendously.
So let’s see what you can do to develop self-respect:
1) Acknowledge your positive qualities
If you think you’re not a valuable person, you should know that self-hatred, self-loathing and other negative feelings are deceptive feelings. Of course, the truth is you’re valuable human being, just like any other human being on this planet.
So your first assignment is to get to know yourself better: start seeing yourself and your values realistically and start appreciating your worth.
- Write down your positive treats or characteristics. Give yourself time to think this through and answer following questions: Why am I a valuable person? What my qualities do I like? What are my strengths? Start your sentence with: I am compassionate, loving, friendly, etc. Finish this sentence with at least five positive qualities, for starters.
- Focus on positive! You’re a human being and it’s perfectly normal to think negative thoughts, from time to time. But don’t allow negative thoughts overwhelm you. Stop perpetually thinking negative thoughts and focus on positive thoughts.
- Focus on what you can do, and not on what you can’t do. As Henry Ford once said: “If you think you can, you’re right; if you think you can’t, you’re also right”. So choose which one you are going to think from now on. Remind yourself of your capabilities and positive qualities. Focus on what you’re able to do.
2) Value more your positive qualities
Maybe you’re aware of your positive traits and characteristics, but you still don’t feel self-respect. The reason for this is you don’t value enough your positive qualities. For some reason, they’re not important to you.
To start valuing more your positive qualities:
- Try to avoid thinking in extreme terms. When you see you’re exaggerating stop your inner dialogue. Stop thinking in terms of black and white and start thinking in gray areas.
- Accept your imperfections. Nobody’s perfect! This is probably the most important thing you can do for yourself. Just accept that and allow yourself to be imperfect. This is the first step toward self-love.
- Be kind to yourself! I’m sure you’re kind to everyone else. Well, it’s time to start being kind to yourself. Kindness is the most precious gift you can give to yourself, as well as to others. Stop criticizing yourself, replace criticism with encouragement. That way you’ll transfer focus from negative to positive.
If you start practicing these things on a regular basis, you’ll start noticing and appreciating your positive traits and characteristics. As a consequence, you’ll gradually increase self-respect and boost self-confidence.
Share below: What did you do lately to increase self-respect? What do you find challenging in this process? What are your next steps on this journey?