One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life is learning to respect myself. Yes, it’s true I talk about self-love a lot but to be honest with you it goes hand in hand with self-respect. My parents always reminded me to carry myself with respect. I was taught two things that I will never forget 1. Respect myself and 2. Respect my elders. Growing up in a small town in Mississippi you were definitely going to respect your elders but learning and implementing self respect could definitely go unnoticed. As I got older I realized exactly what all of the fuss was about.
As I type this the first thing that comes to mind is a conversation with one of my close friends, telling her in only a way that I could do, “Girl, you have to respect yourself FIRST. If you allow a man to treat you this way, then he will always treat you this way. YOU SET THE STANDARDS for your expectations and what you are willing to accept…so if you don’t respect yourself neither will he.” Most people take me serious because 1. I have been in a long positive relationship with my husband for nearly 17 years and 2. I am therapist and Mental Health Professional and it’s kind of my area of expertise (lol). I do have friends that come to me for advice and support and I am always willing to lend an ear and be a supportive friend. But, truth? There are others who don’t take me serious for the very same reason. I have been told I don’t understand BECAUSE I have been with my husband for so long. The first time I heard it I was taken aback because I wasn’t prepared. I always knew people made assumptions but hearing this confirmed THEY TRULY DON’T KNOW YOUR STRUGGLE.
17 years takes work. Building a life with someone takes work. Growing together from a child to an adult and becoming a different person takes work. Finding the person that is even worthy of 17 years of your life takes WORK. My struggle started way before I met many of my “today” friends and before I met my husband. I was a young girl who didn’t love herself, didn’t understand what self-respect meant, and lived my life looking for value in others. So even though my parents taught it I hadn’t grasped it. That was my struggle. Not feeling pretty enough. Not feeling worthy. Not feeling like any person could truly love me. That was a recipe for disaster and I was used and manipulated at a very young age. So I have definitely had my struggles but because mine happened earlier in life and I learned from them the first time they are often overlooked but still very significant in shaping my life.
I heard the saying RESPECT is earned not given at a very young age as well. What that meant to me is show me with your actions and not with your words; which is something I still say and implement in my life today. Anyone who says they love you should be SHOWING you they love you through actions not just words. I later learned that self-respect is just as important as over all respect. When you respect yourself the people around you know that you have no plans to take and deal with the BS. They can’t use and abuse you. Your entire aura says love me and treat me right but NEVER come for me. (Yasss queen) What I am saying is when you treat yourself like you don’t matter then others will follow suit and when you treat yourself like the queen that you are others will also follow suit.
So, my question to you is are you allowing someone to use and abuse you or are you setting the standards for yourself and the treatment you truly deserve? Do you know that you have the power? No? Well listen sis…you are worthy of respect. You deserve to be loved. You deserve to be uplifted and adored. You deserve all the happy moments, butterflies in your stomach, and to be treated like the queen you are. You have the power! But you’ve got to demand it. Remember, the respect and treatment begins with you.