If you don’t know how to respect yourself, all you have to do is search online and you’ll get a bunch of recommendations.

  • Don’t settle for less than you deserve.
  • Recite a positive affirmation in the mirror every morning.
  • Be honest with yourself.
  • Remind yourself of your worth.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Discard negative thoughts.
  • Get physically (or if you can’t, emotionally) distant from narcissistic people.
  • Take care of your body.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Work on building your confidence every day.

And while these are all great ideas if you already have somewhat of a foundation to go off of…

What happens when you’re coming to the table not just looking for a better meal, but completely malnourished?

What happens when you’re in such a deficit that, even though you want to, you can’t eat any of the food on the table?

If you’re severely starved and malnourished, eating a bunch of food right away could be dangerous. If you don’t ease back into it, you’ll get sick.

Or even worse…

Because you literally cannot stomach this food that you are starving for (and know that your body needs), you come to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with you for not being able to digest it.

No matter what you try, you’re screwed. So, you become a victim who no longer believes that they are meant to survive. How can you even try to be a survivor when you know that there’s no way you can survive without food?

When we are emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically malnourished, trying any of the bullet points above will just make us feel more defective and unworthy – even though they are healthy recommendations to follow. One of the root causes of emotional, spiritual, and physical suicide is repeated attempts at trying to eat that proverbial food and do what we know is good for us, but somehow, ending up in a place where we’ve added to our deficit instead of diminishing it.

If you’re trying to figure out how to respect yourself when you are already at a place of having healthy boundaries, decent self-esteem, and an ability to not act on your emotional triggers, the proverbial food will at the very least, be digestible.

If you’re trying to figure out how to respect yourself when you have no self-respect to begin with…

All the food that you so desperately need will still make you sick and discourage you. At this point, it’s indigestible.

You have to start smaller.

How to respect yourself when you have no self-respect

Self-respect starts here…

Knowing how to respect yourself is nothing more than knowing how to keep the promises that you make to yourself.

It’s that simple. Don’t let anyone (including the cynical audience in your head) tell you otherwise.

Starting small doesn’t mean that you *are* psychologically small. It means that you’re emotionally *big* enough to know what’s best for you. It means that you acknowledge and respect the process.

Make a promise to yourself that you’re going to do something… anything. And follow through with it.

It doesn’t have to be geared toward spiritual and psychological realizations. It could be making a promise that you’re going to drink eight glasses of water a day. It could be saving five percent of every paycheck, cutting a toxic person off, doing three pushups a day, having a two-drink maximum no matter what the occasion, calling your Grandmother twice a week… anything. 

Whatever you start with, just make sure that you see it through.

The root of self-respect is follow-though and the root of follow-through is discipline.

Once you prove to yourself that you can keep this promise, you will start to respect not only yourself but the process of it all and the progress that you’re making along the way. Keep progressing and soon, you will become more protective of that progress than you are of scratching the mosquito bite of your triggers. This is where real discipline starts to organically set in (as opposed to feeling deprived every time you try to have this kind of discipline that can only come from the progress of promises kept).

True discipline is: 1) Wanting to do the complete opposite of what you know you have to do. 2) Understanding exactly why you want to do it. 3) Making a strong and unwavering decision to do what you know you have to do. Why? Because you don’t need the alternative (you understand that your insecurities want it). What you need is the self-respect that true discipline breeds.

I used to describe myself as someone who was very disciplined, but I wasn’t. I never took the time to understand why I felt such a pull toward unavailable people, toxic relationships, fake friends, and bad habits.

Because of this, my “discipline” became using my willpower to try and fight that pull. This always ended with me submitting because I had put myself through such psychological hell and was so emotionally exhausted trying to “fight the urge,” I felt like I deserved to do what I wanted to at that point. This is why physical and emotional diets don’t work. As long as you feel deprived and ignore the psychology behind why you need to implement true discipline, you will fail every time.

That losing streak stops now.

Think of the people in your life that you have the most respect for. I guarantee that these people keep their word to both you and themselves. Even the people that you don’t know but admire from afar – athletes, entrepreneurs, celebrities, musicians, professors, doctors, etc., you respect them because of the discipline that they had to get to where they are. And, the discipline that they still have, to maintain a position that very few people can reach.

To this day, I don’t know if I can look in the mirror and say:

“You are love. You are light. You are beautiful.”

And not feel like a liar. But what I can do is look at the emotional bottom that I started from and respect the fact that those little promises I started with have turned into big ones that have single-handedly changed my life.

When I know that I can’t keep a promise to myself, I’ll call up my Mom or a close friend and make the promise to them. They’ll hold me accountable and I’ll work even harder to keep that promise because of how much I care for them and the mutual respect it builds (that I actually kept the promise and that I trust them enough to share what I’m struggling with and hold me accountable).

This is how you turn your insecurities into the kind of self-respecting fuel that very few people get to run on in this life.

You are one of those few or you would not be reading these words right now.

If there’s a promise you’ve been wanting to make to yourself, feel free to write it in the comments below. You can do so anonymously and we are here to support each other, always.

It could change your life.

x Natasha

If you need further and more personalized help with your relationship, please look into working with me here.  

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28 comments

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I found out recently my ex of 8 years not only cheated on me, he accused me of being the “bad person” in our relationship, is still with the girl he cheated with and has told loads of lies about me to make himself look like the victim. I have finally managed to break myself free of the pain surrounding it (and him) and now I have to resolve to never look back.

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Hi Tess, literally I had the same guy. He got mad at me when the evidence was ‘all in my head’. He was also the victim in all his relationships. Guess what, stay strong and everything eventually comes full circle. I hear you and I believe you.

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I love seeing this love and support <3 Thanks Frida 🙂

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Tess,

Good.For.YOU.

You are loved, supported, backed, believed in, and never alone. Thank you for taking the time to share.

Thank you for being YOU. All my love to you. xxx

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Natasha,

It’s so ironic that I was googling self-respect and self-love just last night and how to get it while also reading some of your related previous posts then I woke up to this 🙏🏼 I needed this and I cannot thank you enough! This is something that I have struggled with for years and something I feel like a lot of people just expect you to know or at least figure out immediately, but honestly, learning to love myself has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I couldn’t do this without you girl. Thank you!!!

♡ Tiffany

P.S. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of your new book!

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So happy it helped 🙂 And isn’t it amazing how things show up when you need them? Thanks Tiffany!

I can’t wait for you to read it. Love you! xo

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I am going to be less available to a “friend” (flirtation buddy). He had liked me, but I friendzoned him hard because he was not emotionally mature and our values didn’t line up. Yet, I didn’t set good boundaries and he became my bf without the label – cooking me dinners, cuddling, going running together. Without changing any of these behaviors, he started dating someone else recently. I’m heartbroken even though I know friendzoning him was the right thing, and I need to stop with everyday contact and not be the other woman. Letting go and doing that is going to be SO hard and I don’t know where to start, but it has to happen 🙁

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It has to happen and you *CAN* do this. You are believed in, loved, supported and never alone here in this tribe.

I know it’s hard but you got this! xox

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Omg I LOVE this. I’ve struggled and continue to struggle with self-respect. It’s tough because I recognize it’s the foundation to all the other good stuff: boundaries, trusting yourself, self-advocacy, self-awareness, etc…and yet it’s so hard to consistently live in your self-respect when disappointment and shame strike and you feel like a failure to everyone, including yourself. Love the concrete advice you give, Natasha. Going to start this today!

♥️♥️♥️

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Love you Amy <3 So happy it helped!

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I started brushing AND flossing, every night, no matter what, since August 2019. It’s hard to explain how something small like that has given me a spiritual and psychological boost. I love this piece. Thank you for being so raw, honest, real, and practical. And you say the thing that people like to avoid thinking about: it’s hard to look in the mirror, say nice things about yourself, and really believe them. But it’s really mind blowing how single, small decisions create the basis for other decisions born out of self respect, self protection, and love. Sometimes, it’s hard to trust ANYTHING will work, make a difference, create a change, or life you out of the state you are in. Making one small change is not some dumbed down version of how to get by in life. It is the basis for living the conscious love of your choosing, full of both successes and pain, that we all deserve. xo Irena

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I could not have said it any better or agree any more <3 Love you sister.

And I know what you mean about something so small giving you the spiritual and psychological boost. I did this with pushups - starting at only 2 a day.

It feels so good to follow through with promises you make (not to toxic people), but to yourself. And if you can follow through with yourself, you won't get guilt-tripped for not following through with people who lack the ability to follow through with YOU. xox

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Hiya Natasha !!! Great to hear from you and another fabulous piece of writing. It was only tonight I thought how much I have changed over the past 12 months and I’m proud of myself for setting boundaries & not taking shit from anyone, doing what I want and having faith in the future that the right people will be around me, I’ve got a tight circle now took me a while to learn that. Your blog has always helped and inspired me 💕❤️ However, I have a friend whom I love dearly, but she still likes to ring her dealer on a night out if you catch my drift, she has invited me for dinner next week and It’s lovely getting an invite – until the next day I thought 💭 no I can’t go as I’ll let myself down by giving into temptation of what I used to do because it was easy: I respect my body and mind to know I want to be away from all that now &!I’m going to say I’m busy as I want to respect my own decisions, not go along with her choices to keep the peace ( as I know 100% she will want to ring her dealer As the night unfolds ) as she is still enjoying that lifestyle ! We all have to follow our own path don’t we, I love my girly nights in with food and wine that’s enough, no other pressures – thanks for the post it resonated deeply ❤️ Have a great weekend xx

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Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. I am so inspired by and proud of you.

Wish I could get that girly food night with you tonight.

Love you and bravo! You did the right thing 🙂 xox

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This really helped me Natasha, thank you. It made me realize I don’t do a good job of making commitments to myself. And your comments on discipline rhyme with a quote attributed to John Wooden: “Discipline yourself so that others don’t have to.” Thanks!

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I write to help others but also, to remember my own advice 🙂 This is something I still struggle with too but am now, thankfully, more cost-avoidant than commitment. LOVE that quote and you. Thank you for being here Brandon. Every one of your comments are always so helpful and rich. xo

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I looovve how I feel after a good AM workout. But this often means going to bed early, which often means, kicking friends out of my apartment. Soooo, I’m committing to doing that 3-4 times a week. (Depending on my work load). I need me time!

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YES! YOU GOT THIS Beth! 🙂 Thanks for sharing! xox

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This post screams, “HAVE YOUR OWN BACK,” and you know what I will. Thank you for the insight Natasha, your presence through our individual journeys of self love and acceptance is sooo comforting, you have no idea❤️❤️

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YES. YOU. WILL. So proud of you.

Thanks Denise! Love you. xo

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I discovered you two years ago when I was cheated on and broke up with my ex of 10 years. Fast forward two years, dating mistakes, growing, I am almost there where I don’t take shit from people anymore, but it’s always a temptation that I still have to work on.
Going thru something right now and I don’t have much family around so I am making YOU the promise today that I will stay away from him. You will held me accountable. I can’t thank you enough.

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… and I am in tears.

Thank you Lily. Please keep this promise to me. I believe in you and thank you for believing in me all of these years. Love you. You got this sister. xx

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This is just the post I needed to read this weekend! Lately, I’ve been feeling like—I’m not doing great, I’m also not feeling terrible, but I just AM. And as someone who tends to operate in extremes, highs/lows (which I know is also unhealthy) I’ve been feeling stuck. I know that progress is happening in my life and that small shifts are still shifts, but at the same time I feel like I need/want more but none of the recommendations you listed feel right because it’s stuff I already know how to do/am doing. Or tell myself that I’m doing. So thank you for nudging me to continue making the small steps needed to find true self-respect. I’m grateful to you and this community for allowing this to be a safe space to exist.

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It is my honor to nudge you in any positive way. I’m so glad that this post served you Krissy <3

Keep going. You are so intelligent, beautiful, and self-aware.

I've been there and I believe in you.

You always have a home here. Love you. xx

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Another great article that’s come at just the right time as I dip my toe back into the dating scene. I suspect I may be getting ghosted by a recent date and it’s so easy to feel yourself losing control and spiralling back into that place of worthlessness. But it gets easier…I’ve abstained from checking his social media and reminded myself that if he is indeed a ghost it displays a great deal of emotional immaturity on his part. I’ve been through this before and it was WAY worse and hey I got through it in the end. The dating world can be so tricky to navigate as there is only so much you can control…but all I can do is put my best foot forward and then the rest is out of my hands.

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Hazel,

You have the right mindset and are standing so tall in your power and vulnerability, it’s inspiring. Thank you for being here and for being you. Keep going and being all that you are. xox

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This post is EVERYTHING I needed!! I’ve tried all the things you mentioned at the beginning that are the typical advice for people wanting more boundaries and more self love. But the more I failed at them the more discouraged I got. Right now, I make the promise to stay in no contact with my ex even though my insecurities want to talk to him, I know it is not what I actually need. I never looked at no contact in this way, as a promise to myself that will build discipline and self-respect. Now that I see it this way, I promise to be committed to no contact because I deserve better and I want better. And I am signing a new no contact contract as a binding agreement with myself and with you, Natasha <3

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I wish I could hug you right now. SO proud of you Erica 🙂

I love and believe in you <3 xo

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