Self-respect may be the most valuable personal asset you have. Or should have.
For too many years I let my fear of punishment, or my concept of being a good sport or a professional, keep me from realizing my full potential. Too often I didn't follow the path I knew to be right because of some misunderstanding of my role in the situation.
My parents did the best they could in raising me and teaching me to be a wonderful human. I knew right from wrong. I knew how to be generous. I understood the importance of commitment and honor. I didn't know my self-worth.
When you know your self-worth you set boundaries with others, you do your best because you are deserving of quality, and you set boundaries for yourself so you live your fullest potential.
Do you know what I'm talking about?
Do you cancel your date when your boss asks you to stay late to work on a project that could probably be done tomorrow? Do you avoid applying for a new position because your present job department relies on you so much that you can't leave them in the lurch? Do you eat another helping of lasagna, or have another drink, when the hostess urges you to, even when you are too full to enjoy it, because you don't want to seem rude?
Those actions reflect your low level of self-esteem, your concept of self-worth.
You aren't a hero when you put others before yourself. You aren't doing anyone a favor when you put yourself last.
Years ago I had a neighbor who lived under the delusion she alone had to care for her ailing husband and Down Syndrome sister, regardless. One winter she caught a cold which wouldn't go away, but she didn't stop to tend to it. It turned to pneumonia, and she still pressed on - she had to, her family depended on her. A lot of good it did her husband and sister when she died out of a false sense of responsibility.
If that neighbor had truly known her self-worth she would have handled the situation differently so that she could heal and be around for her family for years to come. She could have gotten someone else to step in and help with her husband and sister. Her lack of knowing her self-worth contributed to her demise, and ultimately her husband's and sister's.
OK, maybe that's an extreme example. But, maybe it's not pointed enough. Are you killing yourself for others?
The more self-respect you have the more you can shine, the more you can do with your life, and the more you can give to the world. You give to the world one way or another, so take control and give it your best!
Knowing your worth impacts your confidence and energy, and that snowballs to impact your influence, productivity, and focus. With strong self-esteem you live a life of purpose and direction, you are a positive role model and make a positive contribution to the world, and you enjoy all that your life has to offer.
Possessing the valuable asset of self-respect, you make the world a better place, starting with yourself.