Today I realized what self-worth means.
Respect Is More Than a 7 Letter Word
It doesn’t come from external sources (people, events, accomplishments etc.)
It comes from no one actually.
It comes from within.
I’m sure we’ve all stumbled upon this cheesy advice at some point in our life. Even though this saying may be overused, let’s delve in deeper and see why this may be true.
To begin, let’s start with a few questions. Answer honestly and reflect on how you’ve been treated in your past.
- If you uphold yourself (and exhibit behavior) as an individual who doesn’t deserve what you want, will you be treated with respect, and more so, will people take your demands seriously?
- Would you be convinced by someone who can’t convince themselves? In other words, if they don’t believe the reality they live, how would you be pulled into their reality?
- Would you be willing to listen to what someone has to say if they stumble over their words and have no consistency in their voice?
Psychological Strategy to Make Others Treat You with Respect
You should not let anyone treat you with less value than what you’re worth.
You have to live the life you know you’re worth.
It’s that simple, yet paradoxically complex.
If you want to be treated with respect, you have to respond accordingly to the behavior you want to see.
A psychological strategy which we can implement to ensure that we are treated with respect comes from one of the most influential psychologists, B.F. Skinner.
We can use the research B.F Skinner discovered and apply it for practical life situations.
The research which B.F. Skinner coined was the term “operant conditioning”. Basically it means you can use reinforcement to adjust and repeat the desired behavior of a person.
Skinner proved this by placing a rat in his “Skinner box”, where a lever was placed. When the rat would hit the lever, food would be dropped next to the lever.
The rat quickly learned that every time it hit the lever it would be rewarded with food. After understanding this concept, the rat would instantly go for the lever every time it was placed inside of the box.
Put simply, when positive behavior is rewarded, it is more likely to continue. 
So for practical use, when we reinforce the positive behavior of others, they will be more likely to continue and display such behavior.
This reinforcement can come in an array of methods.
Such as: thanking them, complimenting them, paying attention to their needs, helping them out when they are in need, offering a service to them, buying them gifts or experiences, paying a genuine compliment, being affectionate, or being physical (i.e. hugs).
This is a long list and is by no means defined to only these reasons.
How you reinforce positive behavior is solely and creatively up to you.
With Every Single Interaction You Encounter, Present the Image You Want Others to Notice
In other words, express and uphold yourself as how you want others to treat you.
You have to remain firm with this image.
And, you have to cut and remove anyone who treats you with less than you’re worth. Obviously, not in the first encounter you meet, but if you notice a consistency in their behavior, remove them.
These toxic people are never worth your time, energy, and company.
Remain careful of such leeches in life, they will latch on and absorb all they can from you, either for reasons of jealousy, lack of self-worth, or to demonstrate a sense of superiority.
If you display what you’re worth people will automatically follow.
- Have you noticed how when someone extremely happy and upbeat interacts with you, they will bring you up to their level of positivity?
- When someone is sad and is negative, they eventually wear you down, and bring you to their levels?
This is due to the mirroring of our neurons.
A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron “mirrors” the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Such neurons have been directly observed in primate species. Birds have been shown to have imitative resonance behaviors and neurological evidence suggests the presence of some form of mirroring system. In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, the primary somatosensory cortex and the inferior parietal cortex. 
In other words, when we see someone performing an action, we mirror the same action as them.
Similarly, If you uphold yourself as someone that is worthy of respect, and as a positive person to be around, you will bring them into your reality.
In the case that you are not treated with what you are worth, consider yourself lucky.
You managed to save yourself time, grief, and expanded energy trying to convince someone that you are worthy of their approval.
The Single Greatest Investment You Can Possibly Make
So how do you make sure people treat you with the respect that you deserve?
You make a secure, 100% guaranteed return on your investment.
You invest in yourself.
I realized one sole fact. From all the words of reassurance, beliefs, and ideals that were promised, today, I remain alone.
I was always alone. It’s our relationships with people, friends, loved ones, and animals; anything external can give us the perception that we’re not alone in this world, and with something.
You are alone in this world, it’s just you.
And please, don’t get lonely and alone mixed up.
Lonely means by definition: “sad because one has no friends or company.”
You Are Given 27,375 Days in Your Lifetime
You are born alone, you will live alone, and you will die alone.
No matter where you may be today, tomorrow, or at any point in your life; you’ll always be with yourself.
Now, don’t let this frighten you, or steer you into making radical decisions.
Knowing that you are alone in the world should be liberating.
You are tied to no one, to nothing, to no-thing.
You are free, to do as you please.
Take this as an invite to take the time to discover your needs, your wants, your desires, the accomplishments you want, the goals you have, and invest heavily into yourself – you’ll always receive a return on this investment.
Make a commitment that you work towards something you will achieve, a quality you will possess, or a craft you will master.
The only factor that will determine how you are treated, and how you allow yourself to feel, is, ultimately up to yourself.
Do not allow your happiness, and quality of the life you want depend on a factor you cannot control.
Too often we become dependent on others for support, guidance, comfort, respect, or justification.
Such behavior will only make us more dependent on others.
Instead, make an investment into yourself.
And you’ll realize the happiness you can bring yourself.
You’re worth it, I promise.
Over to you: What is one habit, skill, or quality you’ve always wanted to invest your time into? If you haven’t, why is that? What are you willing to do to make sure you invest the time necessary for what you want? Let me know in the comments below.
- Skinner, B. F. (1938). The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis. New York: Appleton-Century.
– For more information:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._F._Skinner
Thanks to Holly for going over this article with me and talking it over with me.