Okay, so I wrote that title because everyone is always saying THIS is the new THAT – and so I knew it would capture your attention.

But the thing is…self-respect has ALWAYS been the way to self-care. Self-respect has ALWAYS been the way to self-love, too.

Self-Care and Self-Love have become buzzwords that have just about lost their meaning. And it’s become confusing when some of the things that are pushed on us as self-care or self-love leave our hearts feeling empty, our wallets feeling empty and our relationships feeling empty.

Obviously that’s not always the case, but too often it is.

What I have found to be a truly nourishing act in my own life, CONSISTENTLY, one that leaves me feeling satisfied, at peace and able to find true rest – is making the choice that feels the most like self-respect. Making the choice, in every moment, that I know I am going to feel good about at the end of the day when I’m all alone with myself.

I’m going to tell you exactly how I do that in just a moment, but first let me tell you a few more things I’ve learned about self-respect.

I’ve found the path to self-respect to be a paradox – a paradox is a self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated may just prove to be absolutely true.

So, the paradox of self-respect, I’ve found, is that often the thing that I know will lead me to feeling self-respect does not look or feel much like self-care at the moment that I have to make a self-respecting choice. And the discipline required to feel self-respect might not look or feel much like self-love to an onlooker. It might even look like the opposite of self-love. It might look like the opposite of self-care. Because self-respect is often a long game…one that requires decisions that have to be made one after another, minute by minute. Often very TOUGH decisions that have very uncomfortable short term consequences. Feeling comfortable and staying comfortable in the short term is not always the best path to self-care or self-love and it’s almost never the path to self-respect.

The reward of self-respect comes in the quiet moments of being alone with your thoughts just before sleep or anytime throughout the day. The reward of self-respect comes in the form of being able to even endure quiet moments with yourself and your thoughts. The greatest reward of self-respect is finding that you look forward to quiet moments with yourself and your thoughts…..because when you learn to make choices that lead to self-respect, you really start to like yourself, and even love yourself. Because….you have deep respect for yourself. You become someone you would admire if you knew yourself, someone you could count on, someone you could trust.

And here’s the most beautiful paradox of all….when you focus on self-respect over self-love and self-care – you start to make choices that lead you to taking the best care of yourself you’ve ever taken. It might not look like pedicures and wine weekends, but it WILL look like the exact kind of care that YOU need, and when you need it. Self-care will start looking like your new ability to say no when you want to say no. To rest when it’s time to rest. To stop tolerating things in your life that offend your soul or make you feel small or make you hide behind a fancy cardboard cutout of a perceived perfect self. Self-care will start looking like showing up where you want to be and showing up exactly as you are. Self-care will start looking like not showing up where you don’t want to be and not doing the things that you don’t want to be doing. THAT is true self-care. AND, when the day is done – you’ll feel self-respect.

Self-love will start looking like firm self-respecting boundaries that don’t allow others to take advantage of you and use you up. Self-love will start looking like using your innate gifts to make a difference in the world on your own terms. Self-love will start looking like putting your precious time into relationships that feed you as much as they feed the other person. But before it feels like self-love – it’s going to have to start with an act of self-respect. And then another act of self-respect. And then another. And before you know it…self-love won’t even be a question.

Okay, friend…now I’m going to tell you my strategy for choosing self-respect.

I ask myself questions, and I make myself answer them honestly. AND I make myself take responsibility for whatever decision I make after I’ve answered those questions. My list of these questions is embedded in both my brain and my heart. I try hard to hear myself asking these questions throughout the day. What this means is that I also have to choose to walk away when life gets too loud so that I can hear myself ask myself these questions AND so that I can hear myself answer these questions…

Let me share some of them with you. There over 28 of these questions but I’m going to just write down a few of them for you.

Self-Respecting Decision Making Questions (an excerpt of The Decision Maker by melody ross):

  1. Have I thought through all of the consequences of this decision? And am I willing to take responsibility for every one of them?
  2. Will making this decision help me grow into the kind of person I want to become or will it feel like I am moving backwards?
  3. Is there anything that I am pretending not to know about this decision?
  4. What weaknesses do I have that I need to address as I make this decision?
  5. Will I be able to be exactly who I am and feel appreciated for being exactly who I am if I make this decision?
  6. Do I want this decision to become part of the story I am writing about my life each day?
  7. Does this decision support my highest beliefs, values and promises?

So…this is the path to self-respect, my friends…thinking through the consequences of every decision, deciding who you want to be and then making choices that lead to becoming that person. Sometimes the FIRST step is deciding who you want to be.

You are someone who is worthy of respect, and it’s got to start with yourself. We teach people how to treat us, and if we don’t treat ourselves with self-respect, it’s almost guaranteed that others won’t either. So…make the next choice that feels like self-respect. Then make another, and another. And see how good you sleep tonight.

I believe in you.
I know you can do this.
I know you can figure this out.

Don’t you dare give up now.

I love you,

P.S. I’m gonna say it again. Please make choices that lead to self-respect, okay? If you need help, I’d love to help you. Just about every one of my courses will teach you to figure out who you want to be and how to make the choices that lead to becoming that person and ultimately to self-respect, self-care and self-love.

My gateway course called Soul Shaker is based completely on reorganizing your life around the concepts of self-respect.

You can also order my most loved and used tool – The Decision Maker – a set of cards on a ring with dozens of soulful questions to ask yourself that lead to self-respect, building the life you want to be living and becoming the person you most want to become.