How to Earn Respect and Be Treated with Dignity
Do people sometimes dismiss you or treat you in ways that make you feel small? Do you wish you could command more respect from others? Though we can’t control how people behave, we can take steps to earn respect and be treated with dignity.
This epic quest for respect takes courage, tact, and self-reflection. By adjusting how we view ourselves, carry ourselves, communicate, and respond to disrespect, we can gradually transform even difficult relationships. While creating cultural change takes time, the personal growth needed to earn respect brings immediate rewards.
Let’s embark on an adventure of self-discovery to unlock the secrets of being treated with respect!
Examine Your Self-Respect
Do you treat yourself with respect? Self-respect is the foundation for earning respect from others.
Take Stock of Self-Talk
How do you talk to yourself internally? Self-talk reflects self-esteem. Negative self-talk like “I’m not good enough” leads others to treat us poorly.
Start noticing your inner voice. Challenge negative self-talk by asking, “Would I talk this way to someone I respect?” Replace negative messages with positive truths about your strengths.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Do you let people push your boundaries? Healthy boundaries demonstrate self-worth.
Avoid people-pleasing. Don’t say yes when you want to say no. Be willing to speak up when something bothers you. Protect your time for self-care.
When you establish boundaries, people learn they can’t take advantage of you. As you respect yourself more, others will too.
Take Care of Your Needs
Are you meeting your own needs? Neglecting basics like sleep, healthy food, exercise, and downtime depletes self-worth.
Make self-care a priority. Eat nutritious meals, rest when tired, and move your body. Find activities that energize you. Take a break when you need one.
When you care for yourself, you send the message that you matter. You’ll gain confidence to expect respect from others.
Adjust Your Self-Image
How you view yourself becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Develop an empowering self-image.
We all have cognitive distortions – inaccurate ways of thinking about ourselves. Common distortions include:
- Magnifying flaws and minimizing strengths
- Assuming others are judging or laughing at you
- Believing you’re inadequate and unworthy of respect
Seek out these distorted thoughts. Collect evidence against them. Challenge distortions with realistic thinking.
Acknowledge Positive Qualities
Make a list of your strengths, talents, and admirable traits. Refer to it when you notice self-doubt creeping in.
Remind yourself of times others showed you kindness or respect. Those moments reveal your positive qualities.
Surround yourself with people who appreciate your gifts to hear positive messages about yourself. Internalize the truth that you are worthy of respect.
Adopt Empowering Posture and Body Language
How you hold yourself communicates self-respect. Practice confident, open postures:
- Stand and sit tall with shoulders back.
- Hold your head level with eyes forward.
- Let arms relax at your sides or lightly clasp hands.
- Take up comfortable space without crowding others.
Empowering body language makes you appear assured and garners respect.
Interact with Dignity
Every interaction is an opportunity to earn respect by extending it.
Make Eye Contact and Truly Listen
Eye contact and attentive listening show respect. Look people in the eyes when appropriate for your culture. Focus on understanding their perspective without thinking of your response.
Nod, make brief comments like “I see” to affirm you’re listening, and ask clarifying questions. Avoid interrupting or hurrying them along. You’ll gain respect by making others feel heard.
Speak to others as you’d want to be spoken to. Be friendly and patient. Don’t insult or mock people. Offer sincere compliments when you admire something about someone.
Avoid gossip, foul language, yelling, and rudeness. These behaviors diminish how others see you. Civility invites respect.
Value All People
Do you make snap judgments about people or treat some as less worthy? Prejudice erodes respect.
Look for the humanity in every person. Be kind toward those who seem different, angry, or difficult. Extend compassion to people who challenge you.
When you honor everyone’s equal value, you earn respect as an ethical person.
Respond Wisely to Disrespect
Despite your best efforts, some will still disrespect you. Handling it constructively preserves dignity.
Consider Intent vs. Impact
Disrespectful behavior often stems from the person’s issues, not your worth. Yet impact matters too.
First seek to understand their intent and what insecurities prompt them to act this way. But don’t downplay your feelings – the impact on you is real.
Balance compassion for their inner struggles with acknowledging the hurt caused.
Establish Boundaries Calmly
When someone crosses a line, restate your boundaries evenly. For example: “Please don’t raise your voice. I’m ready to discuss this respectfully.”
Don’t mirror their disrespectful tone or get personal. Simply repeat your boundary until they comply or you need to end the interaction.
Staying calm while requiring respect builds confidence and earns you respect.
Walk Away When Needed
If someone persists in treating you rudely, you can choose to disengage. Explain you’ll continue the conversation when they can treat you with respect. Then politely walk away.
Leave before you get reactive. This refusal to tolerate abuse demonstrates self-worth and often leads disrespectful people to improve their behavior with you over time.
Transform Your Relationships and Environment
While you can’t control others, you can shape your sphere of influence.
Consider which relationships nourish respect, and which don’t. Spend more time with people who treat you well.
For difficult but important relationships, have an honest talk. Share you want to improve the dynamic between you and ask for their thoughts.
If patterns of disrespect continue despite efforts, reconsider that relationship. Surround yourself with people who bring out your best.
Set Expectations in Key Settings
Certain contexts like work and family relationships hold great potential for disrespect. Proactively set expectations.
Tell co-workers you appreciate an environment of professionalism, or remind family how important dignity is to you. Frame requests positively.
Then reward good behavior with thanks when people treat you well. Your clear standards can improve these key settings.
Advocate for Cultural Change
The broader culture shapes how we treat each other. We can all encourage respectful social norms.
Speak up when you notice racism, sexism, and other disrespect. Be an ally for those who face frequent prejudice. Support leaders pursuing systemic reforms.
Changing culture happens slowly through millions of daily actions. Do your part, and encourage others’ efforts.
Frequently Asked Questions About Earning Respect
Still have questions about gaining respect from others? Here are some common FAQs:
What if I’ve behaved poorly in the past – can I still earn respect?
Fortunately, we’re all works in progress. Apologize sincerely for past mistakes. Then demonstrate through changed behavior that you now strive to act respectfully. Over time, your improved conduct will overwrite previous lapses.
What about stressful situations like grief or financial strain?
It’s understandably harder to act respectfully under pressure. Explain you’re going through difficulty and may need extra patience. Focus on regulating your emotions before reacting. Cut yourself slack, while still working to treat people well.
Is it possible to earn respect from those close to me who have seen my flaws?
Even loved ones who know our failings can grow to respect us. They see our efforts to do better. Share openly about your growth process. Sincerity, patience and progress win respect, however gradual.
What if speaking up feels risky in my workplace?
Choose language carefully to advocate for respect without attacking. Enlist allies to support changes together. Consider whether the environment is right for you long-term if disrespect persists unchecked. Prioritize self-care to avoid burnout.
Conclusion: A Journey of Courage Leads to Respect
Choosing to live and interact with dignity, despite how others may behave, demonstrates profound self-respect. The journey requires courage to turn inward, set needed boundaries, and advocate for change.
While we can’t force others to respect us, we can control how we view and carry ourselves. Our steadfast commitment to personal growth and humble humanity can’t help but inspire respect over time.
Treating ourselves and others well is its own reward. But respect often follows naturally. As we walk this path of self-discovery, we’ll find external treatment gradually aligning with our inner worth. That is an empowering respect worth earning.