The concept of self-respect is pretty much a mystery to me and I think to most people with BPD. I know that I find it difficult to actually tell myself what it means to have self-respect, and question is this because I fail to have any.
I know what it is like to not have self respect – the feeling that I am not worth anything which broadens out beyond myself to others, how can others respect me when I hold such a high level of contempt? I feel rubbish when I loose control and become to “emotional” in situations with others. I feel like everyone attacks me for just being me and that people do not validate my feelings so I feel even more crazy.
So I have been doing some research mainly in self-help books about building self respect and there are several things I have learnt:
1. Be True to Yourself
Is this not easier said then done, when the issue of self arises who truly knows the truth from the fiction? Society constructs people in a way that it believes we should all interact with each other is that not truth? To mix in with society and just be the same, blend in and be “normal”. Have faith in your own values – but I have no true identity of who I am so how am I to know what these values might be …? My fear is to be judged by others and in a way that makes becoming one of the sheep even more desirable but I have to accept ME!
2. Learn to Handle Criticism
Now this is so hard for everyone but when you blow the slightest thing out of all proportion, people look at you as if you are nuts and you take things to be criticism when they are not – how do you stop it? So my research has stated that I need to not take things personally, my boss tells me not to take things personally, friends tell me to not take things personally – BUT SOMEONE TELL ME HOW TO DO THIS!!! Again maybe it is me placing way to much pressure on myself but I want to be able to do this.
4. Avoid Jealousy
Jealousy, jealousy, it is such a fickle creature. I am jealous of people who are not like me, I am jealous of people who can have children without needing medical assistance, I am jealous of skinny people, I am jealous of home owners, I am jealous of people who can say no, I am jealous of people who are just there. I think I am a jealous person!! But what I guess I need to remember here is that I am working hard, I am earning all the things I have and therefore I should be feeling proud and ultimately respectful of me.
5. Remember your Motivation, Not Results
So I am highly educated, I have a Bachelor of Science and a PhD, various post graduate qualifications, the ability to teach at university but yet because all of that is now gone as I have completed it what is there next, what is there to motivate me anymore? “Self respect comes when we value our attitude to life and other people” and yet I fail to understand what that even means.
6. Respect Others
I love the world of Facebook and Linkedin etc. why? because you can look at all the people that bullied you at school for being smarter than they where to see that they have five kids, no education, living in council housing (commission housing if you are in Australia!), in a dead end job and seem to be knocking own the cheap wine like it is water. That gives me happiness – but that is because I am sick and twisted!!! I respect the choices they have made, it is their life and they decide how to live it but I found it hard to find the good qualities in them – maybe because they were bitches to me in school I don’t know but it gives me a sense of satisfaction to know that I am in a better place than they are! But I guess if I want to get my self respect this has to stop.
7. Never Hate Yourself
Swing and a miss – I hate myself so how can I respect myself …?
It is a very nasty habit I have and I know it. The people I work with no it and have picked up on what I do. So I have a sin box – like a swear box in concept – I say something to put myself down I have to put money in the jar. It highlights the stuff that I am vocal about but I do this all the time. My therapist asked if I could identify some judgements I have about myself and write them down. Do this for a day….! I had to change it I don’t think there is enough paper or computer memory to record all the judgements I make about myself in one day. Something I shall continue to work on though.
I think about the past, I relieve the past, I get stuck and I feel guilty and unworthy all the time – I wake up crying because in a dream I felt worthless, and alone. I forgive people around me but hold higher standards for myself. Should I lower the standards???
9. Be Selfless
Don’t rely on others to provide us with our own self-respect. Well that is particularly difficult that even when someone praises me that I feel the opposite, I feel angry, hurt and disappointed because I feel they are saying it to attack me. Why can I not just take what they say as truth and feel good about myself?
10. Don’t Keep up With the Joneses
Now this one I think I can do … I am the proud owner of a CRT TV it is old and big and heavy, when I was living in Canterbury, my CRT TV broke, and I replaced it with … another CRT TV!!!! People look at my TV and say – why do you not have a flat screen – well because my CRT is working nicely thank you! I work doing social media, I use a old style Nokia, people see my phone and ask why I still have that and someone my age should have a smart phone. Well smart phone users, how is the battery life of your phone!!! Mine may only make phone calls, take pictures and send SMS but I can go a whole week without having to plug it in to charge! 🙂 Maybe one day I will get a smart phone.
So …. I think I have a lot of work to do to gain “self-respect” I shall continue my research and see if I can come up with techniques to achieve it. Stay tuned!