Gloria feels like a doormat. It seems to her that she gets “walked on” by just about everyone in her life– her kids, her husband, her boss, her co-workers, even the people she rides the bus to and from work with each day.
She gets shoved to back of the bus, interrupted and talked over by friends and taken for granted by her family. She frequently hears either her husband or one of her kids say something like, “Mom will do that. She doesn’t mind.” In fact, she usually does mind– but she does whatever it is that was expected of her anyway.
More than anything else, Gloria longs to feel respected, truly respected.
If, like Gloria, you are done feeling like a doormat who is taken for granted at every turn and by every one in your life, you may also be longing to feel respected.
As Aretha Franklin sang in the 1960s R&B; song, “All I’m askin’ is for a little respect….” This may be your unofficial anthem as well.
If so,try these 5 tips for getting more R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
1: Honor and respect yourself first.
It is nearly impossible for you to feel respect, if you don’t have respect for yourself. Feeling respected is closely linked with your self esteem. If you have low self esteem, it’s likely that you also don’t feel respected.
The two go hand in hand.
Too often, people feel unloved, worthless and powerless and they rely on other people, positions or even things to convince them that they are (maybe) respectable. The trouble with this is that it is always temporary and changeable.
You might feel a boost of both self esteem and being respected when another person compliments you or if you are given kudos at work for a project well done. It is wonderful to revel in moments like these.
It is not so wonderful if you base your sense of self worth and honor mainly upon events like this and what you think others think.
As you probably already know, it is far too easy to misinterpret what another person thinks. The positions and things in your life are also subject to change or somehow appear less (or more) valuable over time.
You are your own biggest potential supporter. You are the one who can best strengthen and nurture your sense of self worth and self respect.
Knowing this is a helpful starting point. You can begin to build self respect for yourself when you honor yourself, for example, by listening to what you are willing and unwilling to do instead of merely saying “yes” or “no” to win someone else’s approval.
2: Discover your own blocks to being respected.
If you don’t feel respected– either by your own self or by others– it’s probable that you hold beliefs and have developed habits that are blocking the way to respect.
Gloria realizes that, in her mind, she has tied her sense of self worth to being indispensable to both her family and her co-workers and boss.
She prides herself on knowing exactly how the kids like their food prepared, how her husband prefers his pants to be ironed, how her boss wants his coffee, etc.
On one level, Gloria believed that being the “expert” in these ways to different people in her life will make them respect her. Unfortunately, this isn’t what happens.
Instead, Gloria’s husband and kids refuse to cook (or iron clothes), her boss expects his coffee delivered at 9am sharp each morning and rarely do any of them offer her thanks, let alone expressions of respect.
Having recognized this, now Gloria has challenged herself to find things she can respect about herself that are not connected with what she does for other people.
There’s nothing wrong with being good at what you do– whether it’s ironing, cooking, making coffee, building bridges or leading large groups of people. However, if you base your self esteem on these roles, you are not building a strong foundation for respect.
3: Explore new ways to open up to respect.
Let’s face it. When asked to find something about ourselves that deserves respect, most of us will look to what we do and our status or position– the exact things I’m recommending that you NOT base your sense of self worth upon.
This is a new way of thinking about respect and cultivating it within yourself and from others. It will probably take some practice.
Take out a piece of paper and write at the top, “I deserve respect because…”
If it helps you get started with this shift in thinking, go ahead and allow yourself to write down the things you do or the positions that you hold. But, next to this, write down the qualities that are unique to you that make this an honorable and respectable action.
You might write down, for instance, that feeding, caring for and keeping the house tidy for your children and spouse requires quite a bit of organizational skill, patience, perseverance and more.
There’s so much about YOU that is worthy of respect.
4: Give what you’d like to get.
When it comes down to it, you really can’t make someone else respect you. Quite often, others will respond to the energy or sense of self that you give off.
This means that if you believe that you are nothing of value, you will be treated as such.
This is why it is so important to learn to respect yourself for who you are– which is underneath all of what you do and the people you are related to.
This is absolutely essential.
You can also increase your chances of being respected by others when you treat them the way that you want to be treated. This wisdom is repeated in many religious and spiritual teachings and it’s certainly true when it comes to respect.
If you want to be honored and respected, give honor and respect to others.
This might mean that you respect your kids enough to show them how to make their own snacks and allow them to do it. This may mean that you honor your boss enough to be honest with him or her about how you would really like to be contributing to the business.
5: Expect respect.
As you give respect, it is also crucial that you expect respect. Many times, our expectations that someone else will fail us or that we will continue to be treated as a doormat are exactly what we get.
Some call it the Law of Attraction, others call it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you want to be respected, believe that you deserve respect, cultivate it for your own self and then expect that you will receive it.
A lot of this happens on the inside. As you improve your self esteem and you begin to see that you are worthy of being treated the way that you really want to be treated, it will show.
You may need to communicate to others that you’d like to be spoken to or treated in a particular way– be specific with your requests. For the most part, however, your change in expectations and your bolstered self esteem will pave the way.
Know that there is more than enough respect to go around. We can ALL– including you– feel honorable and valuable and worthy.