Do you ever wonder about self-respect? As humans we are expected to carry ourselves with respect. As a kid I always wondered what that meant. Those two words self and respect. I knew what respect meant. But I sincerely had no concept of self. How can I begin to respect myself when I don’t even know myself well enough to distinguish myself from the rest of the normal crowd. There were numerous occasions when I didn’t respect my wishes and went straight forth with what someone else wanted me to do. I don’t blame myself. I didn’t want them to hate me. Such is the society we are brought up in anyway where self-denial is worthy of respect. People liked me and I thought they respected me. But it took me a while to understand that being liked and being respected are two different things.
I worked on that. I stopped betraying myself for other people. I lost some of them. Some stopped ‘liking’ me. But the ones who stayed, respected me. I continued with my life thinking this is what self-respect was all about. Casually unaware of the fact that having built some boundaries doesn’t open all doors to self-respect, that self-betrayal isn’t the only antithesis of self-respect.
I came to conclusion that I don’t respect my present self enough. I mean yeah, you can predict from my external actions and motives that I do. I don’t appreciate people who are disrespectful towards me, I take care of my own space, I end relationships where I feel my wishes and thoughts aren’t being acknowledged. But what about the relationship I have with myself? I often find myself fantasizing about the woman I am going to become. I am in love with that future version of me. An immediate consequence of that is, I look at my current self with thick glasses of scrutiny. I’m not in love with the girl I currently am. I always have this feeling of lack. I always feel that a future perfect scenario will fill the void this lack has created.
But the truth is there is no lack. There is no void. I am complete and whole this very moment as I’m typing on this keyboard. The moment I can look at myself in the mirror, when I’m depressed, lazy, sad, jealous, angry, inauthentic and say that these are parts of my personality I happen to understand, when I can say I acknowledge all the facets of my personality, when I can say they deserve as much respect as the girl in the mirror who is happy, kind, beautiful, nurturing, empathetic, virtuous and content can I say that I respect myself. These emotions are normal. Instead of rejecting and despising versions of myself, why can’t I make an attempt to understand them?
We are only human. We are a myriad of all our good and bad emotions that surface under certain circumstances and situations. And they are all VALID. They have reasons to exist. Their existence doesn’t make us any less worthy of love or respect. Their existence only make us whole. Complete. There is no white without black. No light without shadows. Self-respect starts with self-love and self-love starts with acceptance of the self. Think about it!