How can I get Others to Respect Me?

March 13, 2018 in Psychology 2 Shared
A woman with an overlaying picture of a feline animal.

You can’t get others to respect you if you don’t first have a clear idea of what respect even is. It’s much easier to understand what this value means if we call to mind certain memories in which it is manifested. In this sense, we respect someone when we acknowledge them as an equal and accept them the way they are.

This means that every behavior directed towards underestimating or undervaluing others is an act of disrespect. As is any action oriented towards rejecting, denying, or annulling what another person feels or thinks. It’s possible that you may not agree with this. But to try to devalue it or to change it is a big line to cross.

You can’t get others to respect you, if you don’t first respect yourself. This means that you must perceive yourself as equal to others, in terms of value. In other words, don’t feel that you’re more or less than anyone else. Also, of course, accept yourself. Feel that you are worthy just as you are.

“It is always more valuable to have the respect of others, instead of their admiration.”
-Jean Jacques Rousseau-

A woman next to many birdhouses.

What do you need to do for others to respect you

The acceptance and appreciation of oneself is expressed through attitudes and actions. They are not an abstract reality, nor do you have to say it out loud for others to know what you feel. Someone who respects themselves has three main traits: self-esteem, assertiveness, and authenticity.

  • Self-esteem, if we want to define it simply, is having a good opinion of yourself. It has very little to do with narcissism. It’s simply about “liking oneself”. Feeling sympathy for what you think, say, and do. Of course, without thinking that it makes you better than anyone else. You should feel as special as only you are and as equal as any human being is.
  • Assertiveness, in turn, has to do with being capable of defending your rights and expressing your opinions. It’s especially important when you find yourself in an unfavorable context, in which you think differently than the majority of the people around you. Differently even than the current authority figure. On the other hand, this attribute is a direct consequence of self-esteem and a necessary condition to obtain respect from others.
  • Furthermore, authenticity refers to our tendency to maintain our essence, values and beliefs, even if it is selfishly not the best thing for us in that situation. This means, expressing what you think and feel regardless of the context. Not simulating or falsifying yourself in order to generate a certain impression in others. Being spontaneous. Keep in mind that you can only be authentic if you are aware of the value you have as a person.

Sad woman surrounded by floating balls.

Obtaining respect from others

Respect begins at home. Therefore, you are not going to get others to respect you if you don’t do so yourself. On the other hand, understand that respect isn’t the same as fear or reverence. Instead, it implies acceptance and appreciation.

Here are some keys to getting others to respect you. 

  • Accept that you are not going to be liked by everyone. The approval or disapproval of others doesn’t have to condition you. There will always be people who won’t like you.
  • Learn to differentiate friendliness from condescension. Courtesy does not equate submission. We didn’t come into the world to make others feel good.
  • Strengthen and practice self-love. Don’t ever stop acknowledging your values and achievements. Never dismiss your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem.
  • Introduce “no” into your dictionary of communication. Setting limits doesn’t mean offending others or being inconsiderate. It is just a healthy way of preserving mutual respect.
  • Accept that you are not responsible for what others feel or think. If the way you think, talk, or act disturbs or upsets them, that is not your problem. Let that person be the one who resolves their own unease.
  • Demand acknowledgement when necessary. If you do too much for others, usually they will eventually stop appreciating it. In case this happens, suspend your collaboration.
  • Learn to defend yourself. Maybe you’re a victim of “taught helplessness”. Therefore, it’s time for you to overcome this and learn to defend yourself. It is not easy at first. However, once you make it a habit, it’s not that hard to keep up.

Managing to get other people to respect you is not an objective you can accomplish in the short term. Specially if you have already disrespected yourself countless times before. You need to make a firm decision in order to achieve it and have a strong will to maintain this focus. However, it’s worth it. Disrespect will only bring about greater evils and much unnecessary suffering.

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