“I Don’t Get No Respect…”

Rodney Dangerfield

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!                                                                                                      Psalm 139:13-16 (The Message)

I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous – everyone hasn’t met me yet

When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them

(Rodney Dangerfield one-liners)

I apologize dear readers, but I can’t do a blog about self-respect without quotes from the king of self-disrespect, Rodney Dangerfield. I hope I made you laugh a bit, but consider this just a fun lead-in to my topic today…

I was discussing with a client the other day the dynamics of self-esteem and self-respect. She recognized that her husband had come from a background of emotional neglect, and that he often lashed out at her with things that had been building up in him over time. Their relationship is one of perceived imbalance, with the husband feeling disrespected and powerless. My client was not trying to blame her husband, but rather to understand him better.

We discussed the idea that when we feel small, or powerless, or like a victim, we often lash out at others. The need to feel respected by others is, of course, important, but first we need to respect ourselves. We do that by becoming people of integrity. That is, we keep promises to ourselves, and we do not blame others for the reasons that we miss the mark. The more we keep those little promises to ourselves, however small they may be, the more we can trust ourselves, and the higher our self-esteem grows.

No amount of external praise or affirmation will be able to fill up a person who does not have an internal sense of self-respect. Keeping those little promises to ourselves will, over time, build or re-build damaged self-respect.

God has made us in an amazing way, and each person deserves respect as a human being. But we all need to build our own internal sense of self-respect to be able to fully appreciate that wonderful creation that God made us to be.

Prayer: Lord, you have made us in your image, worthy of love and respect. Thank you for that amazing plan, Amen

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