If you have never followed this blog, then you probably are wondering what IALAC means. If you are a rather frequent reader, then you already know. IALAC is an anagram that stands for I Am Loveable And Capable. It is a great personal mantra to have to in those moments of life in which people seem intent on tearing you down.
This series we are talking about garnering a better self and this week it is all about self-respect. To many people, self-respect and self-esteem are the same thing. To me, however, they are different. I will explain why later on in the week. For now, think about the respect you give to others and give yourself some of the same.
First, though, let’s review our garden to grow a better self and assess what we’ve done and discussed so far. The first week we talked about self-love. Yogi Bhajan described the need for self-love this way: “You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.” Everything has its place but taking time to know and grow ourselves is the most important and lasting garden we can ever plant.
The problem is not “if” we can better ourselves. The issue is “Will we?” It takes courage to change our routines, to step outside of our so-called comfort zones and grow. Courage is not only something that compels us to help save someone from a burning building. It is also the key ingredient in our becoming better today than we were yesterday.
In week two of this series I recognized that what I call self-worth, others call dignity. I gave you Shannon Adler’s ten definitions of dignity. “1. The moment you realize that the person you cared for has nothing intellectually or spiritually to offer you, but a headache. 2. The moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad Pinterest quotes. 3. The moment you stop comparing yourself to others because it undermines your worth, education and your parent’s wisdom. 4. The moment you live your dreams, not because of what it will prove or get you, but because that is all you want to do. People’s opinions don’t matter. 5. The moment you realize that no one is your enemy, except yourself. 6. The moment you realize that you can have everything you want in life. However, it takes timing, the right heart, the right actions, the right passion and a willingness to risk it all. If it is not yours, it is because you really didn’t want it, need it or God prevented it. 7. The moment you realize the ghost of your ancestors stood between you and the person you loved. They really don’t want you mucking up the family line with someone that acts anything less than honorable. 8. The moment you realize that happiness was never about getting a person. They are only a helpmate towards achieving your life mission. 9. The moment you believe that love is not about losing or winning. It is just a few moments in time, followed by an eternity of situations to grow from. 10. The moment you realize that you were always the right person. Only ignorant people walk away from greatness.”
Self-worth is not something we can purchase, no matter how many times we try. It is not the latest fashion or snazziest vehicle. It is neither the biggest house nor the most friends on Facebook. It is not even guaranteed if you repost that blurb on Facebook or Twitter or share your latest and best snaps on Instagram. It is, as Adler says, “the moment you realize that you were always the right person”, that “happiness was never about getting a person”, and that “no one is your enemy, except yourself”.
Self-love is self-knowledge and that is what we just discussed last week. I encouraged you to become more knowledgeable about yourself. Such an undertaking is not a project with a definite beginning and end. It is an on-going process in which we engage from the moment of our birth until that point in time in which we simply stop trying. Knowledge is not about learning, though. It is about our vision, our internal vision.
The amount of respect we have for others is easy to determine. Maybe we like what they believe in our how they live. Perhaps we feel they make good role models or possibly we like what they have done with their lives. When we turn that spotlight on ourselves things get a bit cloudy.
We know ourselves better than we know anyone else. We have lived with ourselves longer than anyone else. We also can find excuses for ourselves quicker than we are prone to do for somebody else. I may quickly pull into a parking place but let someone else do that and I am instantly irate. I feel justified in my doing so but that stranger could not possibly have the same motives I did, right?
The fact is that we are harder on ourselves but, at the same time, can also be blind to ourselves. The first step in increasing our self-respect is to really get to know ourselves. Those other items we spent time on are not done deals. We continue to learn about ourselves and this will help increase our self-respect. When we list our strengths, we show self-love and also are finding reasons to respect ourselves. When we remember our family and friends, we are acknowledging our self-worth.
Our lives matter. When we accept that fact, then we can forgive ourselves and accept ourselves. No one has a perfect life. It may seem like they do but really, no one does. Walk around confidently. That might take some practicing at home – seriously. Many of us walk hunched over with our heads down. Walk with great posture and look the people you pass in the eye. Smile while you are walking past. Being positive is a great step towards growing higher self-respect.
Life is a pace, not a race. Comparisons are great when weighing apples or doing a science experiment. When it comes to our everyday living, comparisons are a waste of time. NO two people are clones of each other. Why do you want to be somebody else, a carbon copy that is never going to be as good as the original? You are an original! Be proud of that and leave envying in the gutter where it cannot cause you discomfort and poor attitudes.
You have value. Repeat that to yourself. If possible, say it out loud. In fact, go into the shower, turn on the water, and then sing it out! You have value. Accept that you are human and there will be criticism. Learn from it and then ignore the rest. Believe in yourself; I certainly do. Don’t let another’s opinion ruin your day. Gandhi once said that no one could take away your self-respect unless you gave it to them. Lao Tzu offered similar advice centuries ago: “When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” The man or woman who has self-respect is very rich indeed.