So give it to yourself.
“To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves - there lies the great, singular power of self-respect”. - Joan Didion
Self Respect stands apart from the approval of others and reputation. It has nothing to do with any measure of external success. Take a moment to think about that. If you’re waiting to appreciate and respect yourself until you earn and DESERVE it by achieving some measure of success, you’re missing the point. Furthermore, it is highly likely that no achievement will ever be enough to bring forth self respect.
We all make mistakes. We do things wrong. We fuck things up all the time. A person with self respect can see and acknowledge those fuck ups as preventable some times and inevitable others. But their self worth and respect doesn’t fluctuate as they look back over their catalog of failures -- a catalog we all keep, but one that those without self respect carry like a burden, a testament to inadequacy.
How do we develop self respect?
It comes when we cultivate our characters and let that character consistently guide our conduct. In this way, self respect is often brought forth through discipline. What is it you value and believe? Do you act accordingly? Once these are answered affirmatively, the door to a world of self respect opens.
Walking through that door, however, requires practice. For those who never experienced unconditional love, respecting ourselves unconditionally (a type of love really) can seem foreign and even radical. There’s no magic bullet, no New Year’s Day vow, that will simply transform you into respecting yourself.
But here are some behaviors that people with self respect practice. So as you do the deeper work on character, values and self love, you can fake it till you make it by acting in ways that respect the self.
And remember that respect is contagious. People respect those that respect themselves.