Respect is one of the very important ingredients you need to create the “cake” called happiness. However,do not make the mistake to think that it is other people who need to add THEIR respect to YOUR cake. You are the baker, you are responsible for what that cake looks like.
When I was younger (as in a kid and teenager) I often just adjusted my own needs to what other people wanted. I thought this way I would become more popular, more loved, more respected, and that people then would want to spend more time with me. I only achieved that I was “tolerated” (I now also know I was looking for the attention of the wrong people, but that is a story for another time, maybe). I also achieved that I was very unhappy with myself because I often put my own well-being, my own needs, my own values into a cupboard. I hid my passions, my true opinions, and in return did not really get along with myself very well. I was disrespecting myself – just because I wanted other people to like me. It took me a while to learn that this is not how it works.
How can you expect other people to respect you if you don’t respect yourself first?
I learned that you need to respect yourself first. After all, if other people feel that you don’t have any respect for yourself, why should they respect you in return? If you feel unhappy in your skin, if you don’t get along with yourself, if you don’t like yourself – why should others? What reason would they have to like the true you if you are hiding your true self behind high, solid fortress walls?
Don’t get me wrong: There will always be people who won’t like you. There will always be people who in general do not show much respect towards anybody. There will always be people with whom you won’t get along. But those are the people you should not waste your energy on. Don’t try to people please them by bending backwards and forwards to make them believe you agree with them. Don’t pretend you like something that you truly couldn’t care about less, or even have a real aversion against it.
Never betray your own ideals to make someone like you
I admit, in the past I was guilty of this. I thought something along the lines of “If I said something really witty, that person will surely like me.” or “If I tell them that I agree with that, then I will avoid an argument and they’ll accept me as part of their group.” I also spent more time in situations that I would simply walk away from these days. I would play down my own beliefs if my words caused some negativity in others. I would try to justify my ideas b playing them down. This was disrespectful towards myself, towards the things I like, and towards the people I loved (even though those people were “only” writers, actors or singers). Don’t do that. If people cannot accept what you believe and love, then they are not suitable for your life. You need to have enough respect for yourself to walk away from situations and people that make you feel uncomfortable and under pressure to turn into an actor or actress. In the long run, those people will only make you feel used and unloved. Having to hide behind a mask is never a good thing for your long-term happiness. And while people might not know that you are not being yourself, they will subconsciously feel that there is something not quite right – which will be a reason for them to respect you even less than they might already do.
Integrity and honesty are very important when you want to find the right kind of friends for yourself.