What is self respect? Freedom and a key to getting respect of others


What is self respect and how does it affect your life? It allows you freedom to reach your potential and is the first step in earning the respect of others.

I remember the days I would walk into a room and feel anxious. I dreaded going to networking events or social gatherings where I knew no-one. I hated starting new jobs where all eyes were on me as the “new girl”. I was self-conscious. I could feel judgement and snide remarks being said behind my back, or so I thought.

I found it hard to make new friends and I always felt as if people thought the worst of me before they even got to know me. I was the girl that was quiet in the corner, the girl that only made friends with people that were friends with someone I knew. Little did I know that my anxious and destructive thoughts were a direct reflection of how I felt about myself.

These days, I have no problems walking into a room and meeting new people. I find it easy to make new friends and make genuine connections. I no longer worry that people are saying things behind my back and overall, I feel a lot more confident and assured with myself. This in turn has had an affect on how other people treat me.

What is self respect as a life change?

What changed? I learnt to take responsibility for my own actions. I learnt to become accountable of my life instead of blaming others or things outside of myself and I started to take ownership for the part I played to create certain outcomes.

Mindset shift

At the end of the day, we can never control or change the behaviour of others but at any given moment, we have the power to change how we behave and how we choose to perceive things. As Dr Wayne Dyer said, “If we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change”.

When we start to take control of ourselves and forgive ourselves for our flaws, mistakes and let go of destructive thoughts, we allow room for magic to happen. The day I realised I had the power all along to create the life I wanted was the day everything changed.

Instead of blaming others or highlighting my weaknesses, I started to take ownership. I started celebrating my strengths and eventually the people around me changed their behaviour towards me. Think of someone you know that has high self-respect. Do you not find yourself gravitating towards them?

Gratitude is key

When I didn’t think very highly of myself, it reflected on how people were towards me. I decided I was sick and tired of feeling unworthy, lethargic, and low in self-esteem. If I wanted a more fulfilling life, I had to do something about it. Things had to change.

I started on little habits that become my daily ritual. I wrote a list of all the things I loved about myself. I wrote another list of all the things I had overcome, and I wrote a list of all the things I was grateful for in my life. At first, the list started small. I liked my thick hair; I was grateful I had a bed to sleep in and I was proud of the fact that I had overcome so much in my life.

Each morning I would read the lists I created and found myself adding to it daily. I would take a moment to really feel the emotion of being thankful for what was on my list. The more I did this, the more I felt gratitude. I started to really appreciate myself and who I was as a person. I was also excited for who I was still yet becoming.

Game changer

Once I started to respect who I was and forgive myself for past mistakes, a weight lift off my shoulders. I started to enjoy being around people because I understood that we were all struggling in our own journeys and we all had insecurities and fears. I wanted to learn more about others. I started to appreciate people instead of fearing judgement.

When my inner confidence changed, I noticed people around me treated me differently. People wanted to get to know me. They wanted to invite me to gatherings, they enjoyed being around me. This was a whole new world for me but one thing I learnt was if you don’t respect yourself, how can you respect anyone else? And if you can’t respect anyone else, how can you expect them to respect you? So what is self respect? It’s the key to opening up a whole world of respect from others as well.

About Maz Dela Cerna'

Maz Dela Cerna, author of I Deserve Better, is a renowned self-development coach, author, blogger and YouTuber. As the founder of the Phoenix Rising Collective she coaches people around the world to uncover and remove their self-limiting beliefs and self-destructive thoughts. Find out more at

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