R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Find out what it means to me. That was what I wrote on my desk in high school. And kind of a life-long motto for me.
I was always a bit obsessed with feeling like people don't respect me enough. I have had heated discussion with superiors at work who I suspected didn't respect my work, I have dropped friends who didn't respect me enough to show up on dates, I have not gone back to stores where I felt I wasn't treated with respect. Treating people with respect and being treated with respect is important to me.
But in the last few weeks I had a light bulb moment when I realized even though I expect to be respected - I do not treat myself with any respect. In fact, if any of my friends would treat me the way I treat myself, I would have dumped them a long time ago.
The 3 year old girl I am watching - L - has a book called "I'm gonna like me - Letting off a little self-esteem". She has asked me to read that book to her a lot recently. And one day I asked her "Do you like yourself L?". I had asked her the same question about 3 month ago and back then her answer was "Yes! I am great!". Well, now the answer was "No ... I mean ... I don't know.".
Of course I started listing all the reasons why she should love herself - she is witty and smart and funny and cute and lovable.
But it's sad that a 3 year old is not sure if she really loves herself.
If it is so shocking to me that a 3 year old doesn't love herself, why do I think it is ok that I do not love MYSELF? And how do I expect my future children to love themselves when their mother doesn't manage to even LIKE herself?
And that is when I decided I would start to work on that. Loving and respecting yourself if you haven't loved and respected yourself for at least the last 20 years doesn't just come naturally. You don't wake up one morning and are like "Yeah, I am great". And loving and respecting yourself doesn't mean that you can stop working on yourself.
But self-hatred is destructive. And thinking back - nothing good ever came of self-hatred. I guess part of myself thought that if you hate yourself, it won't hurt as much if other people don't love you. But that's not even true.
So really, there is absolutely no reason to not love yourself.
As I said in my last blog post - I have big plans for 2010. Learning to respect myself is the most important endeavor though. I am writing about this because I think a lot of people don't respect themselves and maybe this will inspire them to make this their big endeavor for 2010 too.