Improving Your Self-Respect: 10 Effective Strategies And Tips

Self-respect means having a sense of value and self-worth. It means you feel confident and comfortable when setting and respecting boundaries at home and work.

Many people struggle with self-esteem, which can harm relationships personally and professionally. One of the most important aspects of building confidence is showing others how to treat you with respect while learning to also accept yourself.

In this article we will talk about tips for improving your self-respect, how to set clear boundaries, how to stand up for yourself, how to improve your level of self-respect, even if you are struggling with your self-esteem and when to walk away from toxic situations that do not serve you.

Tips for Improving Self-Respect

The following tips will help improve your inner love and self-respect, especially if you struggle with low self-esteem. Developing self-respect is essential in showing others how to treat you with dignity while at the same time building enough confidence so that you can successfully pursue new opportunities at work, build stronger relationships, and achieve greater happiness in life.

1. Learn the Power of Saying “No”

The word “no” is often avoided because many people aim to please and gain favor from those around them. It’s much easier to say “yes,” almost on autopilot, because employers, parents, spouses, and friends often expect it from us.

You may fear a negative reaction if you were to say “no,” though it’s an important word to use in many situations. It’s also one of the first steps in establishing boundaries so that a person understands where you’re drawing the line.

Being able to say “no” and create those healthy boundaries in life will prevent you from getting burnt out and sacrificing your own needs for those around you. Creating boundaries are essential within life and a healthy way for you to build and demonstrate self-respect in your life.

Related: Why Is It So Hard To Say No? How To Say No In The Best Way Possible

Different Ways to Say “No” and Make it Count

How can you say “no” when it feels uncomfortable? Many people struggle with this word because it seems unpleasant, but there are alternative ways to get the message across with the same power and purpose:

  • “Thank you for the offer, but I cannot accept it at this time.”
  • “Unfortunately, I’m going to have to decline.”
  • “No, I’m not able to do this.”
  • “No, thank you for asking though.”
  • “I’m going to pass, but thank you.”

Related: Why Distancing Yourself From Someone is Important: Best Way to Do it

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Use the Right Words to Re-establish Your Limits

If you’re not accustomed to refusing an offer or saying “no” in one way or another, the other person might try to coax you, or ask “why not?” If someone is unable to accept your stance and is trying to push you to do something that you don’t want to do or are uncomfortable with, they are testing your boundaries. At this stage, you can either offer a short, concise reason that’s relevant and honest or simply say, “it’s just no, sorry.”

It’s important to realize that “no” is a complete answer, and you do not owe anyone an explanation if they press you for details. Learning to say “no,” or a variation of it, can help you feel confident and empowered, especially when you’re standing up for yourself or someone else.

If you aren’t used to saying “no” to people or pushing back on their requests, don’t be surprised if people aren’t happy about that. They may say things to try and make you feel bad but don’t allow someone to make you feel guilty for putting a healthy boundary in place. Stick to your decision and soon enough they will learn to respect your wishes.

Related: Signs Someone is Self-Entitled and How to Effectively Deal With Them

2. Don’t Fear Rejection

Many people will go to great lengths to avoid rejection because it is unpleasant and sometimes hurtful. Even when rejection isn’t personal, it can feel this way and significantly impact your self-esteem.

Whether someone refuses to communicate with you on social media, rejects an offer of friendship or relationship, it can make you feel empty and of less value. For this reason, it’s important to view rejection as an opportunity to grow and learn how to deal with it.

Don’t take it personally, if someone doesn’t want to be in a relationship or friendship with you then it is probably for the best. You want people in your life that value you and want to spend time with you, rather than people you need to convince to spend time with you.

Related: Standing Up For Yourself: Why it’s Important and Effective Ways to Do it

Understand that Rejection is a Part of Life

Everyone experiences rejection, even people who may seem to get everything they want. Sometimes, you may feel a deep sense of pain or loss when a family member, partner, or someone close rejects you.

In some cases, the pain of rejection can manifest itself physically and contribute to social anxiety, depression, and stress. It’s vital to take time away for yourself and allow your mind to process these emotions without judgment.

Understand that rejection is a part of life and allow yourself to move on from this moment, with hope for the future.

Related: What Does it Mean to be Your Authentic Self? How to Live Authentically

Practice Self-Care After Rejection

When you experience rejection from someone, it’s important to acknowledge and accept it. In the beginning, you may feel angry, sad, or frustrated. Instead of communicating hastily to others about the situation, or the person involved, take some time alone and practice self-care.

Focus on your happiness, and prioritize feeling better. You may find that rejection, in some experiences, can save you from further heartache and toxic situations later.

Recognize that rejection may impact your sense of dignity and self-respect, but this is only temporary. Don’t let it develop into a pattern of self-destructive thoughts or behavior. The best way to deal with rejection is to acknowledge that it is a painful part of life, and your feelings about it are valid. Then, learn from the experience, and focus on moving forward without dwelling on the past.

Related: How to Live for Yourself Instead of Others: 13 Practical Steps

3. Set Clear Boundaries

One of the essential ways to establish self-respect and limit negative behavior from others is to set boundaries. When you set limits for people, you’re showing others to treat you with dignity and respect.

It’s important to set boundaries early in a relationship so that you can establish what is acceptable from the beginning for a partner or friendship. If they act inappropriately or try to “push” those limits, speak about it candidly to remind them. Also, remember to stay consistent with your boundaries.

Related: How To Set Healthy Boundaries In Relationships: Practical Strategies

Be Consistent with Setting Boundaries in Relationships

Boundaries often need to be set and reset regularly, especially with people who do not value other people’s privacy or personal space. It’s perfectly acceptable to take a firm stance on your limits too, and don’t be afraid to let others know every time they try to overstep those lines.

You’ll also want to be aware of social media and how much information you share while setting those limits. Some people will try to use personal opinions, ideas, and photos posted online against you, even to your detriment.

Not all people intend to cause harm when they push your boundaries, though it remains important to establish those limits regardless of the person, their intentions, or your relationship with them. If anyone asks why you don’t share specific details or information about your life or family, you can state, “I’m not comfortable sharing that” or “it’s private, and I like to keep it that way.”

Related: How to Stop Being Insecure in a Relationship: Rebuild Your Self Esteem

4. Define Your Goals, Skills, and Abilities

It’s important to remind yourself of your worth and how capable you are when it comes to achieving tasks and goals. When you know exactly what you want out of life and create a clear path towards your career or life goals, you’ll feel better as you apply your skills and talents towards what you want. It’s also essential to remember that everyone makes mistakes, and failure is a part of everyone’s life.

Working towards success and self-love takes time and practice. Explore your interests and find your own place in the world without worrying about what others think or say about your goals. When you succeed despite negative comments, you’ll build a better sense of pride and learn to believe in yourself.

Related: Why it is Important to Set Realistic Goals: How to Make Goals Realistic

5. Avoid Making Self-Deprecating Comments Without Boundaries

A sense of humor is an excellent way to bond or start a relationship with someone. However, many people use self-deprecating comments as a way to connect with other people and the truth is that it can be problematic when you lack self-respect:

  1. People may use the opportunity to take advantage of your openness and respond with comments that could be hurtful or mean.
  2. Your self-deprecating humor may be seen as a lack of self-respect, which may confuse other people, and they may say hurtful comments in response, even without ill intentions.
  3. If you avoid self-deprecating humor until you set firm limits, this will help you establish a healthy relationship that improves your confidence and sense of worth.

Self-deprecating comments, in the context of humor, can be healthy once you’ve established firm boundaries and a respectful relationship with someone. It’s also a great way to express your character and poke fun at trivial and shared traits among friends and colleagues.

Related: Why Communication is Key: Tips For Highly Effective Communication

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6. Write Down Your Feelings and Experiences in a Journal

When you feel less than worthy, or someone disrespects you, it’s not an easy situation to deal with, especially if it occurs regularly. Self-respect means ensuring that you’re in the most comfortable, safe, and supportive environment.

If one or more people constantly berate, mistreat you, or cause you to feel negative about yourself, it’s best to avoid them. In some situations, people can be subtle in their disrespect or mistreatment, and that’s where journaling can help you analyze and evaluate how best to handle your relationship with them while taking care of yourself emotionally.

Related: How to Stop Ruminating: What Causes it and Effective Ways to Combat it

7. Demonstrate Self-love in How You Present Yourself

Taking care of your health, engaging in regular self-care, and keeping your dialogue positive and confident, you’ll have the ability to command respect. People will immediately recognize you as someone worthy of respect, with values that they admire.

Consider some of the most influential people in your life and how they have earned your adoration. If you follow them closely, you may see some of the ways that they project their confidence and positive energy while still promoting a healthy self-esteem.

Present yourself with confidence, be kind and look after your physical appearance. Self-respect is often demonstrated in how we act and the way we present ourselves rather than what we are saying. When you demonstrate self-respect for yourself, people will often treat you accordingly.

Related: Positive Changes You Can Make Today: Practical Tips to Help You Change

8. Always Treat Others with Respect

Treating others with respect demonstrates how you want to be treated, and often people will reciprocate this behavior. While it’s important never to tolerate toxic or disrespectful actions or language, it’s equally important to show others how you wish to be treated by communicating in a dignified manner that doesn’t insult or offend another person.

Sometimes, it’s only human to “lash out” at hurtful and mean people, although ultimately it can cause bigger problems. Try to stay calm in these situations and not react how they want you to.

If you’re uncomfortable with the way you’re being treated, speak up about it in a concise and respectful way, and learn to walk away when you can’t resolve a situation. Use examples of their behavior that demonstrates how you have been treated, so that they are unable to simply say that you are “too sensitive” or “too emotional”.

Always aim to treat people with respect and when they are unable to treat you the same way, make the decision to walk away and protect yourself from being objected to such poor behavior.

Related: 20 Best Ways to Let Go of Anger to Move on with Life

9. Don’t Allow Others to Disrespect You

When you speak to anyone at work, home, or within your community, whether you know them well or are newly acquainted with them, set your expectations firmly. Make it clear how you want to be treated while also showing them the same level of care and kindness that you want to receive.

If someone disregards your limits, it’s important to stand up for yourself and assert your demand for respect. No one has the right to attack who you are or point out your failures to make you feel worse about yourself. It’s acceptable to speak up, even if it’s uncomfortable. If you feel unsafe handling a specific situation, leave the conversation, prioritize your mental health, and practice self-care.

For example, you may have a family member that digs for information just so that they can criticize your life decisions or choices. In a situation like this you can be selective with the information that you share with them and if they do continually criticize you, you can simply let them know that you don’t appreciate being criticized, you also don’t criticize or comment on their decisions, so you would appreciate the same courtesy being extended to you. If they are unable to stop being harsh towards you, you just won’t share information with them anymore, so that there is nothing for them to comment about.

Related: How to Stay Away From Negative People and Their Toxic Behavior

10. Give Yourself Permission to be Self-Respected

Give yourself permission to feel good about who you are and what you value. Take pride in your achievements, and show the world that you are worthy of self-respect and love. By living this way, you’ll find that people will treat you better, and this will improve your confidence.

Related: How to Find Happiness in Your Life: 12 Simple and Practical Tips


Developing a sense of inner love and self-respect is key to living a good life. When you display your sense of worth, you’ll glow and flourish in all aspects of life. Working through the steps mentioned above to help improve your self-worth can take time, but with practice, it can happen and is worth the journey!

You’ll also enjoy a greater sense of value and deeper sense of self-love, which will enable you to achieve greater success and fulfillment now and in the future.

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