We often make the mistake of thinking that we need to acquire certain things to be respected by others. This is a damaging thought because one assumes that one is valued only for what they can get.
A worse thought, however, is the thought that we need to acquire certain things so that we can respect ourselves.
The truth is, a healthy level of regard for yourself cannot and should not be dependent on what you do, what you acquire or what position you have. That’s conditional love and we can’t afford to only be loving to ourselves when we get something valuable.
You have to know that you are inherently valuable. Anything less and the things and people who you consider valuable will not be able to rendezvous with you. If you don’t think you’re appreciated just as you are, people will believe you.
“It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.” — Sally Fields
Think of the story of the wise man and his ring. When a man who had been criticized his whole life came to the wise man for help, the wise man gave him his ring and told him to sell it in the market, with the asking price being one gold coin.
When the man tried to sell the coin, no one would give him anything close to what he was asking. Most laughed him to scorn.
He returned to the wise man and explained the predicament, to which the wise man simply suggested that he go to a jeweller to appraise the ring.
At the jeweller, the man was offered 58 gold coins but if given more time, he could pay as much as 70 gold coins.
The point of the story is to highlight that not everyone is going to value you, because they simply value other things. That’s okay, but make sure you don’t make your worth dependent on the opinions of others who don’t understand you.
However, I advise you to take it one step further — value yourself. If you are someone who struggles with self-esteem, it’s because you’re waiting on people to validate you. But because you don’t value yourself, you avoid the people who could actually value you. You think to yourself that they couldn’t possibly like you and that certain opportunities are too good for you. This is the bedrock for a negative self-fulfilling prophecy.
“Self-worth comes from one thing — thinking that you are worthy.” — Wayne Dyer
If you decide to be valuable, regardless of what you have or don’t have, you’ll be amazed at the doors that open for you. They were there all along. You just had your back turned to them and instead faced all the dead ends.
Working ourselves to death to earn respect from others or to earn self-respect is putting the cart before the horse. Even if you achieve some great thing, people aren’t going to respect you. They’ll simply look at the person who almost killed themselves just to be liked.