Be Someone You Can Respect
By: Kathy
June 23, 2013

“Be someone you can respect.”  Short. Sweet. Concise.  This sentence packs a punch. It both establishes a goal and holds you accountable in 5 little words.  I love it!

What is it that you respect in people?  Honor?  Courage?  Generosity?  Gentleness?  Kindness?  Forgiveness?  Self-Discipline?  Loyalty?  Intelligence?  Integrity?  Now think of someone that you have a lot of respect for.  What is it about that person that makes you respect them?  Why do you respect those traits?  And how can you become someone that you can respect?

Self-Awareness:  First and foremost, we have to become self-aware.  We have to be willing to see how we affect others around us.  Example:  If my kids won’t interact with me or if my spouse won’t share intimacies with me, then perhaps I am doing something that makes them fearful.  (Note:  a person really has to deal with their shame before they can be truly self-aware!)  Are you angry? Abrupt? Critical?  Controlling?  Too passive?  Cowardly?  Too sensitive? Abrupt?  Too needy?  Unforgiving?  Self-Centered?  Judgmental?  Addictive?  In denial?  This honest examination of oneself involves no minimizing, rationalizing, or defenses.  You can’t just look at the parts of you that you like or want others to see, you have to look at all of you.  Don’t forget to examine who you are when no one else is around.  Be honest and examine the whole package!

Self-Definition:  The next step is defining what kind of person do you want to be?  Do you want to be someone who is seen as angry all the time?  Do you want to be someone that tells lies or does dishonest things?  Do you want to be someone that doesn’t follow through with their promises?  You get the idea.  I remember a time in my own therapy when I was discussing how I reacted to something and he said I could either ‘respond like an adult, or I could respond like a child’. Ewwwww.  The answer was very easy then, because I don’t want to behave like a child!  That helped me define who I want to be. . . a mature, rational, responsible adult.

Self-Regulation:  Next we need to hold ourselves accountable and self-regulate; that is, make ourselves do what we have to do to be the person we want to be!  It is difficult, but out of this step will come some very healthy behavior.  This is the most grueling because it forces action.  I can become aware of my anger problem, but then go back into denial.  But if I have defined for myself that I don’t want to be that person, then self-regulation has to happen next.  I have to change.  If you are truly motivated to be someone that you can respect, however, then you will do whatever it takes to make yourself change.  You will make yourself apologize, admit you were wrong, fess up when you’ve lied, face the person you’re afraid to face, do the thing that’s hard to do, etc.

Implementing these steps into your daily life will help you to become someone that you and others can respect and this meets one of our very basic, essential needs . . . to feel good about ourselves.

(A big thank you to Jerry Wise for educating me on these steps!)