Pronunciation: /self ri-spekt/

self respect_opt“Self-respect knows no considerations” – Mahatma Ghandi

It took me 27 years to be able to look into a mirror and not note all the things I dislike about myself. I used to do that every single time I faced a mirror, so much it became automatism. But one day I had enough of being overly critical about myself, while always looking for the beauty in others, so I decided I was beautiful and just be done with it.
Even though I still have bad days sometimes, and I still notice little things I dislike about my face, or my legs or my belly or my arms or neck (basically my entire body, haha), I accept the way I look and more than ever I realize I am not half as ugly as what others, and me, always told me I was (bastard bullies! They can totally ruin someone’s self-esteem and life).

Anyway, I thought I was cured and that I was finally done being pathetic about myself. So how come I am still stuck in my way of negative thinking? About myself, my life, my friends, my future?

It hit me when I was updating my résumé the other day, adding what my job coach helped me find out are my key skills and values. Number one is Respect For Others. No matter what someone looks like, talks like, what cultural background they have, I respect them and their situations and try to understand the differences between us. Part of me finds it fascinating to understand others and part of me just likes to think that even though we’re all different, we’re all human too, so why be cruel to one another?

Respect is something I value very much. When thinking about this, though, I came to realise I don’t respect myself. To be honest, I haven’t made it easy to do so, either. I am 28 and still living with my parents. I’d love to move out, but even though I graduated from college (with honours, too!), there doesn’t seem to be anyone out there interested in hiring me for a job that’s challenging and well-paid, so instead I took on a job that’s terrible pay-wise. And even though I’m an adult, most of the time I feel as if I’m still 16 and clueless (a phenomenon many of my friends know all too well, too).
Plus, it doesn’t help that I am still single and stuck with severe commitment issues that are making it excruciatingly hard for me to find love. It’s even making it difficult for me to make friends, so imagine the brain freeze I experience when someone likes to be more than that.

But this right here is my problem! It’s not that I still live at home or that my job is not what I want it to be or that I am handicapped love-wise. It’s that I am so used to approach everything in my life with pure negativity, I don’t see the value of myself or my life. I need to learn that my life can’t be measured by how others perceive me and that the only thing I need to change is the way I look at it.

Quite a revelation for a sunny Sunday afternoon. Also, quite a cliché (and annoyingly one that’s very true).

Everything a person wants to change, or needs to more like, starts with accepting the current situation and naming the problem. I’ve done that. And I overcame myself twice already by battling a depression and accepting my looks, two things I never thought I’d ever be able to do. Yet I did.

So self-respect, here I come! I just hope it won’t take up another 28 years to get there. But even if it will, that’s fine. At least I found a road to follow, there’s no rush in getting to the finish line.

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