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A Lifestyle Lesson in Self-Respect

There are a lot of experiences in this world that are beyond our control, and it's easy to take on a perspective that perches us in the place of victimhood.

While it is somewhat true that there will always be happenings in the universe that feel as though they're happening to you, it is also true that every single happening is happening for you.

It just depends on how you look at it.

Even more importantly, it depends on how you respond to it.

Even in our darkest of days where all seems lost, we can always choose how we respond to the world around us. There is no better account of this human supwerpower than, Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl - a survivor of the Holocaust and psychiatrist who founded Logotherapy, a form of therapy which emphasizes meaning as a way to transcend reality as first we may experience it.

The meaning we ascribe to what happens in our lives has a lot to do with the level of respect we have for ourself.

If we believe ourselves powerless and unworthy, we tend to demand very little from the world around us - constantly settling and betraying ourselves along the way.

And that last part is particularly tricky and true, because any time we settle for less than we think we deserve, it is an act of self-betrayal.

As much as it's tempting to blame the world around us for the mistreatment we experience, if we allow it - if we don't fight for what we like and we don't flee from what we don't - we are perpetuating the pattern of mistreatment.

This is not to say that oppression and systemic bigotry aren't overwhelming and wrong. But even in the midst of a culture of corruption, we mustn't give our power away.

Make no mistake: we create our own realities.

It may be harder to create a reality of respect if we are members of marginalized groups, but it's not impossible. In fact, it may be even more critical for creating change.

Self-respect is at the heart of this practice, acknowledging our divine worth and recognizing when we settle for less than we deserve.

If we're underpaid at work, neglected in relationships, or if someone is constantly disrespecting our time, we can either continue to allow this to happen to us, or we can make these seemingly unfortunate circumstances work for us.

The former creates a reality marked by entrapment and powerlessness. The latter creates one of empowerment and liberation.

How we respond to the situations in our lives entirely depends on how much we respect ourself, our worth, and our divine right to delight in our lives.

If we want the world to treat us better, we need to raise the bar.

This isn't easy, but it's necessary if you are going to live a life you love. Because here's the hard truth:

The world will respect you as much as you respect yourself.

If you lower your standards and allow an economic system to eat you up, a neglectful partner to leave you lonely, and ungrateful people to abuse your time, nothing will ever change. People will take as much as you allow.

There are certainly circumstances where we need to take a pay cut because there's no immediate option, many times your partner will need to be gone, and moments where people genuinely tried to show up on time and fell short.

But when it becomes chronic, you and your low standards for how the world treats you become the common denominator.

At that point, the planet isn't the problem. You are.

Just because the world mistreats you doesn't mean you need to allow it.

And please know, that the way the world mistreats you and it matters. Do not confuse my message of self-respect with obliviousness for oppression. It's out there, and it's deadly.

And at the same time, you have complete control of what happens in here.

If you can't quit your job right away, start imagining what it would feel like to get paid what you're worth. If you feel your partnership is getting stale, imagine what it would feel like to feel seen, heard, and cherished. And if you keep finding yourself tapping your foot and waiting for people to show up, imagine what it would feel like to honor your own time.

Then take steps to bring your imagination to life.

Ask for a promotion or apply for other positions. Hold your partner accountable for their lack of engagement. And make it a hard and fast rule that you'll wait 10 minutes before leaving when someone is running late.

I'm a work in progress when it comes to self-respect.

I came from a family of wonderful, people who supported and nurtured me as a person. But I also come from a family of working class people who didn't necessarily demand much from the world because of our humble beginnings.

If I had a paycheck, no matter how small, it was something to be celebrated. Demanding too much attention from my partner made me needy. And timeliness wasn't really something I was allowed to expect.

I'm also a woman who's been programmed through media and by men that I'm not allowed to have standards or any say-so in my life unfolds. Settling for a guy who's constantly busy doing other things, who spends time with other women, and who totally takes me for granted was normal and necessary because I was taught there weren't any other options. And the fact that there isn't an Equal Pay Amendment speaks for itself about how much our country values the work of women.

Don't mess with good-enough, because something else may never come by. That was the underlying message.

The only way my world changed is because I changed. Raising the bar all around. Choosing to spend my time with people who value, celebrate, and delight in my presence, fighting hard to believe in pay that honors the bounty that I bring, and demanding to be seen, adored, and loved in my partnerships.

When I raise my standards, the world raises the bar around me.

Self-respect always comes first.

No one will ever give you more than you ask for.

So please do us all a favor and ask for A LOT.

You must imagine it, feel it, share that expectation with the world, and then act in ways that tell the universe you believe you already have it. Inevitably it will come to you.

Feel. Share. Act. Attract.

You are a planetary personality, and you get to determine the quality of your life. You just need to feel it in your cells first.

MAGIC MANTRA: I respect myself at all times.

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