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How Your Self-Respect in a Relationship Affects You & Your Love life

Relationships aren’t always easy. So, having self-respect in a relationship is key to happiness. Here is why it’s important and the steps you can take.

self-respect in a relationship

We’ve all heard this line before, that love needs understanding and compromise to be successful. And it’s definitely true. And that starts with self-respect in a relationship.

Love works best only when both partners understand each other and compromise for each other.

If you give while your partner only takes, no matter how compromising or caring you are, you can’t hold on to happiness forever.

And that’s where self-respect comes into the picture. Self-respect can make romance better and a relationship so much better too. After all, having self-respect is the only way both of you can ever feel worthy of each other.

[Read: 19 signs of a taker in a relationship – Are you a giver or a taker?]

What is self-respect?

It’s very easy to confuse self-respect with ego. And these two words aren’t very different in their meanings either.

Self-respect is the respect you have for yourself, while ego is your understanding of your own importance.

Self-respect comes first when you respect yourself and believe in yourself. And then comes your ego, which helps you realize just how important and special you are.

If you have no respect for yourself in front of someone, you can’t have an ego around them. And you definitely can’t feel like an equal to your partner or anyone else, because deep inside, your heart tells you that you’re worthless and undeserving of their respect. [Read: Is your negative thinking ruining your life? 20 signs and tips to fix it]

Self-respect in a relationship makes you a better person and a better partner

If you have self-respect in a relationship, you’d believe you’re a worthy individual. And when you feel worthy, you’ll start to believe that you are deserving of love and respect, not just from yourself but from everyone else.

And when you command respect from your partner and others around you, they’d start to appreciate you more and take you more seriously.

Do you go out of your way to be nice to your partner or a friend? Do they do the same for you? If you bend over backward for your partner, but deep down inside, you know they’d never do the same for you, it shows that you don’t respect yourself when it comes to your partner because you’re letting them use you. [Read: 15 types of toxic relationships, what causes them and how it all starts]

And what you need to understand is that if you don’t respect yourself, your partner will never respect you. And that’s the first stepping stone to the end of your happy relationship. After all, when there’s no mutual respect in love, there’s no mutual love anymore.

How to learn to believe in yourself

If you believe in something or feel uncomfortable doing something, don’t let someone else’s opinion convince you otherwise, especially when they can’t prove anything to you convincingly.

1. Take a stand with your partner

Are you afraid that you’d lose your partner if you go against their wishes? Or do you think you’d hurt their feelings if you don’t do something for them? This shows that you don’t have self-respect in your relationship.

Many people feel the same way too. But in reality, when you take a stand for what you truly believe is right, as taken aback as your partner may be at first, they’ll take you more seriously and respect your opinions more. [Read: Sense of self – 26 steps to raise it and feel like a million bucks]

2. Stop comparing yourself

One thing most people with low self-esteem and self-respect do is constantly compare themselves to lesser mortals. 

If talking to someone having even lower self-respect than you makes you feel better about yourself, it just shows that you constantly need to see someone else’s failure to feel like you’ve achieved something. And that’s a sure sign of low self-respect and a lack of will to change. [Read: Self-concept – How we create and develop it to control our happiness]

The loss of self-respect has to start somewhere

Even people with high self-respect can start to lose it without even realizing it. It always starts small at some point in time, like when you feel put down by your partner, especially in front of someone else.

If your partner makes you feel stupid or dumb, that’s a subtle sign that they’re subconsciously trying to undermine you and take control even if they’re not trying to. It’s probably in your partner’s nature to undermine everyone around them.

When you start to feel like your partner or a friend is better than you, that’s when your self-respect starts to drop around them. You feel a constant need to please them just to feel deserving of their affection and their attention. [Read: 21 big signs of emotional abuse you may be overlooking right now]

What happens when you lose self-respect?

When you give more than you receive in a relationship, you’d start to lose more of your self-respect. And with time, your perfect relationship could turn into a clingy one-sided love story. Here are five situations that could arise because of your low self-respect.

1. You lose your voice in the relationship

Decisions start to get taken without your approval or notice. And then, it feels like you have a relationship with a parent because you don’t have any personal choice anymore.

2. You become a puppet

You meekly string along with your partner because you genuinely believe you have nothing of value to add to the relationship.

3. You’re not taken seriously 

By the people that matter to you. You could end up just being an object or an accessory because your opinions offer no value or objections. [Read: 21 secret signs of a relationship that’s going bad]

4. You think you’re not worthy

Instead of experiencing a balanced relationship with equal love, you truly start to believe that your partner is worthy of a person who’s so much better than you.

5. Love starts to crumble

Your partner will start to believe that they deserve someone better because you’re just not good enough for them. And you, on the other hand, would feel stifled and confused. And even if you voice an opinion, it may just anger or annoy your partner because they don’t think you’re worthy of being heard. [Read: 17 signs of disrespect in a relationship that reveal a lack of love]

Have you lost your self-respect already?

You may not realize that you’ve lost your self-respect in your relationship unless you look inward and ask yourself the tough questions.

a. Do you feel like you give more than you receive?

b. Are you feeling burdened with the problems of others more than your own problems?

c. Do you feel like you need to help someone because they may get offended if you don’t help them?

d. Would your partner do the same thing for you?

e. Does your partner respect someone else’s opinions more than your opinions?

Ask yourself these questions, because it’ll help you realize how you’re being treated by your partner and others around you.

And instead of feeling miserable about it, try to put an end to it and build your self-respect from within again.

What to remember about gaining self-respect in a relationship

Self-respect can be gained only when you truly believe in yourself. So do just that. If you feel like you’re being held back because of the flaws you have, try to work on them and feel good about yourself.

Use these five steps to regain your self-respect and the respect of others around you. [Read: How to be perfect in everything you do and ]

1. It takes time

What you need to do first is make up your mind and prepare yourself to become a new person. If it takes losing a few people who don’t respect you, so be it.

2. Be ready for retaliation

The people who retaliate to your changes are almost always the people who were manipulating you and using you which led to your low self-esteem in the first place. Anyone who truly cares about you would be happy to see the new you.

3. Put your foot down

The easiest way for someone to use you or take you for granted is by testing you by asking for small favors, which get bigger and bigger with time.

Don’t let others test your boundaries. Learn to say no to people who try to use you, even if it’s something trivial. [Read: 16 ways to handle controlling behavior in a relationship]

4. Your importance

Do you really give yourself the same importance as you give your partner or your friends? You need to start focusing on your own happiness first.

5. Believe in yourself

Low self-respect starts when you start doubting yourself and your capabilities. Improve on what you perceive as flaws about yourself and bring that confidence back into your life. [Read: What should I do with my life to make it better?]

What does self-respect in a relationship give you?

In a short sentence? A better life.

You may not realize this, but self-respect will make everyone else take you more seriously.

Your partner will respect you more and love you better. You’ll feel more important and mentally stronger, which will eventually bring your partner’s admiration and respect.

People who were taking you for granted will subconsciously take you more seriously and treat you like a superior or an equal instead of treating you like a pushover because they’ll be intimidated by how much self-respect you have for yourself. [Read: Rock-steady self-respect – how to fine-tune your inner compass]

How to raise your self-esteem and self-respect

When you have high self-esteem, then you will have self-respect in your relationship. So, here are some specific steps to take to raise your self-esteem.

1. Stop comparing yourself

One of the reasons people don’t feel good about themselves is that they compare themselves to other people that they think are “better” than them.

So, stop doing that and appreciate that you are a unique, loveable person. There is always someone who is worse off than you.

2. Monitor your self-talk

People always have self-talk that goes on inside their heads. And a lot of it is talking to yourself – about yourself. So, pay attention to what you are saying about yourself.

Catch yourself when you say things that are negative, and then change them into something positive. [Read: Why am I so insecure? 29 reasons and ways to feel secure from within]

3. Write down your good qualities

When we feel down on ourselves, it’s hard to see all of our good qualities. So, write them down so you can see them. Are you a nice person? Can you cook a great meal? Are you really smart? Do you have good personal hygiene?

Whatever it is, everyone has good qualities, so make sure you discover and appreciate yours.

4. Learn from your mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. That’s normal – we’re all human. So, instead of beating yourself up for what you might have done, turn them around into learning opportunities.

What lessons came out of those mistakes and how can you do things better in the future? 

5. Figure out your triggers

There are certain things in our lives that “trigger” particular feelings. For example, maybe you feel that you look good until you are around your skinny friend. Then, it makes you feel fat. That is a trigger. So, figure out what makes you feel bad about yourself and put it into perspective. [Read: Emotional stability and 11 factors that control life’s ups and downs]

6. Separate feelings from facts

When we think bad things about ourselves, we think they are facts. But there are very few facts in the world because most things are subjective.

So, if you’re feeling ugly, that doesn’t mean that you are ugly. It’s just your feelings. You need to separate the facts from your feelings.

7. Step outside of yourself

Think about what you would tell yourself if you were your best friend. How would you compliment and encourage yourself? You would do it for them, right? So, you need to do it for yourself too.

8. Stop caring about what other people think

Most people want to be loved, accepted, and admired by others. Because of that, they put too much emphasis on what other people think about them.

Instead, care more about what you think. Their judgments of you shouldn’t affect you, so stop caring about it. [Read: How to stop hating yourself – 20 steps to loving all of yourself]

9. Visualize

Visualization is a very powerful tool to use to change yourself. Close your eyes and see yourself the way you want to be. See yourself as confident, beautiful, and happy.

It will trick your subconscious mind into believing it when you do it often enough. You can also use positive affirmations/statements about yourself along with it. [Read: How to find happiness within yourself and manifest and visualize a better future]

10. Seek support

Sometimes it’s difficult to raise your self-esteem when you do it alone. So, you should seek some support. Find a “self-esteem” buddy in one of your friends and help each other. Or, if you can afford it, try going to a therapist and getting some professional assistance.

[Read: How to be yourself – 26 steps to unfake your life and love being you]

So what are you waiting for? Of course, it’s not easy to gain self-esteem overnight. But building your self-respect in a relationship could give you a better life. Isn’t that worth a try?

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Alison Ricard
Alison Ricard loves sunshine, good books and contagious laughter. And when she isn’t writing, you’ll find her sitting in a café, people watching and commun...
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