Be honest: You know you’re a great woman/friend/wife/mom/yogi. Pulling research from quizzes taken on YouBeauty, we found that 80 percent of you recognize your own worth. (And why shouldn’t you? You rock.) But are you actually treating yourself like the rock star you know you are? That’s another story. According to the stats, 63 percent of YouBeauty readers wish they respected themselves more.
“A good place to start is by asking ourselves: Are we compassionate and forgiving to ourselves? Or do we criticize and say negative things about our appearance, intelligence and overall life that we would never say to a friend or loved one?” advises Silvia M. Dutchevici, a psychotherapist and founder of the Critical Therapy Center in New York City.
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Why are we so hard on ourselves in the first place? According to experts, there are a few common things that reduce even the most confident woman to self-abuse and defeatism. First is the array of messages we get from magazines, reality television and Pinterest that make it seem that, no matter how good our lives are, we could always be skinnier, happier, calmer or more organized. “We’re bombarded with expectations of what we should look like, how we should act and what we should want,” says Dutchevici. “That’s why attaining self-respect can be a continual struggle for women.”
But before you go blaming “society,” it’s essential to take a hard look at your own habits to identify patterns of self-(esteem)-destruction. Skipping a yoga class to take on carpool duty, doing your coworker’s share of an assignment rather than confronting her about her sloppy work habits, or allowing a party guest to take over a conversation may seem minor, but they all add up to you expecting to get the shaft, and accepting it time and again. Once you get into the habit of treating yourself like a C-lister, it’s hard to expect, let alone demand, others to treat you like a VIP.
To paraphrase Aretha, here’s how to give yourself your propers when you get home.
Look under the hood. Say you’re mad at yourself for skipping the gym. Instead of punishing yourself with no dessert and hitting the gym extra hard tomorrow, take a moment to figure out the root of your disappointment, suggests Tina Tessina, Ph.D., a psychologist in California. Is this really about one workout, or are you resentful that your work schedule ate into your workout time? Are you jealous of your friend who always looks great, no matter how hectic her life is? “Think of these emotions as the little lights on the “¨dashboard of your car. When they light up, they’re telling you something “¨you need to know to keep life running smoothly,” she says. Maybe your feelings are a sign that you want to make working out a priority in your life, so you need to schedule training sessions on the calendar. Or perhaps you’ll realize that it’s not as big a deal as it seemed at first—you had an overwhelming week and that hour you took to spend time with your girlfriends instead of the elliptical was time well spent. Maybe it has nothing to do with the gym and everything to do with an unresolved disagreement between you and your naturally skinny friend. Whatever the case, you have to diagnose the problem before you can fix it.