“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself,” wrote Rita Mae Brown.
Are you living in a way that honors your passions, goals, values, and personal ideals? Our are you letting other people run your life?
Here are 25 signs that you need to develop a stronger sense of self-respect:
1. You tend to measure yourself by other peoples’ standards. You feel crushed if you sense that you don’t meet them.
2. You rarely find moments of joy, peace, and satisfaction in your current life.
3. You use humor or sarcasm to hide your emotions.
4. You tell white lies to please others, even when you, yourself, are happy with your decisions.
5. You rarely listen to your intuition.
6. You routinely do things that make you unhappy to please others. You may even stay in a career, relationship, or living situation that is toxic to you because you are afraid of how your leaving will impact other people.
7. You feel the need to be productive at all times. You feel lazy or ashamed if you allow yourself to rest.
8. You are often angry. Little things – like slow restaurant service or typos in a work email – can send you into a rage.
9. You place a greater value on the opinions of other people than on your own.
10. You have trouble letting go of things that happened in the past.
11. You feel very uncomfortable asking other people for help. You avoid doing so at all costs.
12. You use self-destructive coping mechanisms like alcohol, drugs, food, or promiscuity to help you ignore your feelings.
13. You treat the people who love you poorly.
14. You do not cry often, and you would certainly never do so in front of another person.
15. You avoid responsibility.
16. You hold grudges. Sometimes you let these grudges destroy relationships that used to be very meaningful to you.
17. Your major life decisions – such as where to work or how many children to have – are often dictated by other people.
18. Your prioritize the well-being of loved ones, friends, co-workers, and even strangers over your own self-care.
19. You are very hard on yourself when you make a mistake. You are more likely to beat yourself up than to learn from it.
20. You find it very difficult to apologize for your behavior – even when you know it was wrong.
21. You either overindulge in your vices – such as shopping, smoking, or sugar – or refuse to indulge at all.
22. You often find yourself criticizing others, even if you later realize you had little reason to do so.
23. You behave in ways that you know will get you praise and validation from others, even if these behaviors do not align with your own values.
24. You rarely own up to your mistakes. You would rather hide them, blame them on others, or fix them before anybody finds out.
25. You judge others very harshly. Nobody seems to meet your high standards.
There is a great deal of irony of developing a healthy sense of self-respect.
Doing so often causes other people to give us the respect we were actually seeking with our people-pleasing behavior. It also gives us the power to love ourselves even if we don’t receive it.
As Lao Tzu wrote, “When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” Try it out today, and see how it feels.