Therapy Can Work

Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA

Licensed Psychotherapist & Psychoanalyst
Union Square, Greenwich Village, New York, NY

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Therapy Can Work

Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA

Licensed Psychotherapist & Psychoanalyst
Union Square, Greenwich Village, New York, NY

Self-Respect: One of Life’s Necessities

Self-Respect: One of Life’s Necessities

If you want to be respected by others, the great thing is to respect yourself.
Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.

~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Self-respect is not the same as self-esteem, though they are closely related. Self-respect is about how you see yourself, and doesn’t really have anything to do with how you imagine others see you. It’s about knowing yourself, your values and beliefs, your morals, your honesty and dignity. You accept yourself for who you are, and you like yourself regardless of any weaknesses or imperfections you could identify (we all have them – no one is perfect) as your own.

You don’t depend on others to prop up your image of yourself. You don’t allow yourself to be take advantage of, or to let other people define you.

When you respect yourself, you don’t feel the need to impress other people. Because if you respect yourself and can show that you do, others will respect you. You do what’s right according to your own moral code. You don’t do what you think other people want you to do. And you don’t become a doormat. You’re someone who can set boundaries. You’re able to say no when you have to (or even when you just want to).

You respect other people. You may not always agree with their opinions in matters of world-view, politics, or social mores, but you respect their right to believe what is right for them. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t have a discussion about opposing positions, but you don’t respect them less for not agreeing with you.

People with self-respect keep their word. They say what they mean and mean what they say. If you have respect for yourself (and others), you show up, and you’re punctual. You’re someone who can listen to others without feeling the need to jump into the conversation to show someone how they’re wrong. You listen when someone needs to vent, or needs a shoulder to lean on, needs to confide in you, and you’re someone who keeps that confidentiality.

If you respect yourself the way you’d like others to respect you, you take responsibility for your actions, and apologize when you’ve made a mistake.

You’re someone who can maintain your individuality. In other words if you meet a potential mate whose interests are different from yours, you don’t drop everything you love and adopt that person’s interests. Not to say that you can’t share your interests, and perhaps introduce someone to something new, and receive the same in return. In other words, you don’t become a people-pleaser. People who don’t respect themselves are too eager to be what someone else wants them to be, and are super nice in the hopes that that will win over their attention. Sooner or later that backfires. If you depend on someone else to make you happy by being something other than your true self, you will likely be disappointed.

Know that you are worthwhile. Do the things you enjoy. Don’t be over-accommodating. Love who you are and understand you don’t need to apologize for any of it. If you have some off-beat interests that aren’t the norm, good for you for honoring them. You don’t have to be “normal.” You are who you are. Believe in it, accept it. THAT is self-respect.

“In youth, it was a way I had,
To do my best to please.
And change, with every passing lad
To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know
And do the things I do,
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you.”

~ Dorothy Parker

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