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Journey to Mental Health Recovery

7 Things You Stop Doing Once You Learn to Respect Yourself

Published 15 days ago • 2 min read

When I was younger, my self-confidence was lower than a snake's belly. Years of bullying had crushed my self-worth, leading me to behave in ways that signaled others to walk all over me. After a long and arduous battle, I managed to pull myself out of this pit, and I can now say I love and respect myself.

If you find yourself in a similar position, here are some behaviors you’ll stop as you learn to respect yourself.

1. Negative Self-Talk

Engaging in negative self-talk is a form of verbal abuse. When you constantly criticize yourself, you become your own worst bully. I used to berate myself, calling myself fat, disgusting, and worthless. Whenever opportunities arose, I’d convince myself I couldn’t succeed. Learning to respect yourself means appreciating your uniqueness and understanding your flaws more kindly. Treat yourself as you would a best friend — with truth and compassion.

2. Avoiding Problems

Avoiding problems only makes them worse. A problem ignored is like a monkey on your back that grows heavier over time. I delayed leaving my career as a police officer despite suffering from PTSD and a lack of enthusiasm. The fear of losing my identity kept me in a miserable situation. Instead of avoiding problems, write them down and brainstorm solutions. Facing your problems head-on builds resilience and self-respect.

3. Spending Time with the Wrong People

Surrounding yourself with the wrong people can drain your energy and self-worth. Many of my colleagues were toxic, and participating in their negative behaviors left me feeling deflated. It's essential to clear the "dead wood" in your life to make space for relationships that uplift you. True friends stand by you during tough times and leave you feeling better and happier.

4. Blaming Others

Taking responsibility for being bullied may seem shocking, but it’s crucial for progress. Blaming others keeps you in a powerless victim role. Recognizing that my lack of self-respect contributed to my situation helped me take control of my life. As a survivor, I made changes that ensured I would never tolerate bullying again. Taking responsibility empowers you to dictate who occupies space in your mind.

5. Seeking Validation from Others

Without self-respect, you rely on others' opinions to define your worth. I loved classical music but pretended to enjoy pop to fit in. This betrayal of my true self was painful. When you respect yourself, your opinion becomes the most important. You’re the final judge of your worth.

6. Trying to Buy Happiness

Material possessions can’t fill the void left by a lack of self-respect. At my lowest, I bought a new BMW, hoping it would make me feel better. Instead, I crashed it on the same day, realizing that money couldn’t heal my depression. Self-respect can’t be bought; it must be earned through personal growth and resilience.

7. Competing Against Everyone Else

Constantly competing against others is exhausting and unfulfilling. I still struggle with this, but I've learned that the only competition that matters is with yourself. Progress is measured by how far you’ve come compared to your past self, not others.

Final Thoughts

Self-respect is the key to unlocking your dreams. It means living a life you control, free from competition, surrounded by supportive people, and treating yourself with kindness. Self-respect is earned through the journey itself, through hardships, successes, and lessons learned. Embrace the journey, and forge your self-respect in the fires of experience.

Journey to Mental Health Recovery

Leon Macfayden

Schizophrenia and PTSD survivor sharing my journey to recovery. Join over 800 subscribers learning to improve their mental health. Every week, I share personal stories and effective tips to help you and your loved ones live the life you deserve.

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