The greatest difficulty is that men do not think enough of themselves, do not consider what it is that they are sacrificing when they follow in a herd, or when they cater for their establishment.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Your entire reality is a reflection of how much you value your own life.
The people around you–bosses, business partners, friends, lovers–will treat you only as well as you treat yourself. The city you live in says a lot about your thirst for vibrance and opportunity. The goals you’re actively pursuing are an expression of your commitment to being alive, living dangerously, rather than hanging on in a palliative state, surviving the same day over and over again until the Grim Reaper comes knocking.
Unlike respect given to you by other people, self-respect is not something you earn, but something you choose. Choosing to respect yourself is more than just a personal promise or affirmation though: It’s a contract signed by your actions.
How many of us can honestly say something like, “I want to find a girl/guy who treats me as well I treat myself“, and actually mean it? For many people, that would result in a pretty messed up relationship. Their partner would be feeding them fast food and sugar all the time, telling them how ugly they are, convincing them that they don’t even deserve a great relationship, and be constantly manufacturing excuses for why now is not the right time to chase their dreams.
If your relationship with yourself is damaged, your relationship with everyone else is damaged too. Improving your relationship with yourself starts with raising your standards. Not by saying that you’re raising your standards, but by acting on that commitment.
30 Days to Self-Respect
To do that, you could try what I call the 30-Day Self-Respect Challenge. You can do it all at once, or piece-by-piece. I usually only run about two or three 30-day trials at a time myself, but feel free to bite off as much as you can chew. This 30-day challenge provides an action plan that will, from day one, raise your standards for how you expect to be treated by others and, as a result, change how you treat them.
Without further ado, here’s the challenge:
- Eat healthy. Buy a good cookbook. For 30 days, commit to cooking yourself at least three recipes from it every week. Try to focus on using “organic” (aka, “real”) ingredients to create meals that strike a balance between tasting good and being nutritious. I’m using Wholefood: Heal, Nourish, Delight. I’m also planning on picking up some of Jamie Oliver’s stuff. Everyone will have their eating preferences, so of course feel free to cook from whatever source interests you.
- Get some rest. For 30 days, commit to waking up at the same time every day, whether that’s 5:30 AM or 11:00 AM. I think being an early riser is vastly overrated, even though I am an early riser. What’s most important, IMHO, is to commit to a sleep schedule that fits your lifestyle and stick with it.
- Talk to strangers. For 30 days, talk to at least one stranger every day. Just say “Hi” and don’t worry about anything that happens after that. The last time I did this as a 30-day challenge, I got laid on day one. This isn’t even about just meeting women though. It’s about learning that rejection equals progress, and that building up a tolerance to getting blown out will completely change your life.
- Don’t work overtime. Take the five o’clock challenge. For 30 days, leave the office every single day at 5:00 PM, or whatever time you’re supposed to be off at. What’s the worst that can happen? Will you get fired? I spent two years working for a demanding billionaire, as the lead developer on one of his pet projects, and rarely worked a second over seven hours a day, and I didn’t.
- Take the smallest next step every day. I think every person reading this has, at the very least, a few goals loosely percolating in their minds. Take any one of those ideas (flip a coin, if you have to) and commit to it for 30 days. Then, every day, take the smallest next step to making that dream come true. Day one, register the domain name. Day two, sign up for web hosting. Day three, install some blogging software. Day four, write an article that introduces your site. Lather, rinse, repeat. If you end up realizing that this goal isn’t what you wanted, who cares? It’s only 30 days, and finding your passions requires trial and error.
- Don’t argue. Arguing is one of the more common forms of self-disrespect. It lowers the consciousness of both people involved. Nobody ever wins an argument, because neither side is even listening to the other. So for 30 days, don’t argue. Observe the ego wanting to lash out and react, without following through on it.
Warning: The side effects of following this plan may include leaving a job that is draining you of your will to live, ending a relationship with someone who treats you like a piece of shit, making more money while working fewer hours, having way more energy than you do right now, and getting laid like a rock star. Your mileage may vary.
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