Years ago, I was a very active member of a religious community. I made it all the way to Bible College by learning, believing, and internalizing all the values and ideas associated with the faith I was taught. I learned these values from my parents, my siblings, my limited network of church-going friends. Never once did I question whether those values were in alignment with MY personal values. They were in fact indistinguishable from me.
The point is I spent over twenty years trying to make myself fit someone else’s values. I didn’t know who I was or what I actually cared about, but it definitely wasn’t that. And it was only after I came to terms with that fact that I could start experimenting and exploring life from other angles. Eventually I found myself, got to know myself, and learned to truly love and respect myself while living a life that fits ME.
I want to help others do the same. Without further ado, How To Respect Yourself and Live Fully:
Determine your values.
If you’ve never lived fully and learned how to respect yourself, then you might not even know what that looks like. We should make a map! Your values are signs pointing the way to what’s right for you.
Set aside some uninterrupted time where you can really focus, and take a values test like this one to help you narrow it down.
We tend to put way too much stock on societal values, our friends’ values, family’s values. Everyone’s values but our own. Stop and ask yourself, seriously. What do YOU want out of life?
Our values and ideals can shift over time, so this isn’t a one-and-done situation. But if you’re struggling with any kind of doubt about how you’re living, this is your first step toward fixing that.
Take inventory of your life.
Now that you know your values, we should determine where they need to be applied. Think of the major categories in your life: relationships, work/school, hobbies, where you live, how you live.
Are your values actively at the center of what you’ve got going on right now? If not, then we need to address this.
Let go of fear. Embrace change.
It won’t be easy. It will likely scare the shit out of you and everyone around you. But if you want to respect yourself and live fully in alignment with your values, it is absolutely necessary to first realize if you’ve been living someone else’s values, and then be determined to fix it.
How would your life be different if you were to put your personal values before anyone else’s? What would that look like for you? Maybe it scares you. Maybe that’s a sign that it’s exactly where you need to be headed.
Amazing things happen when you push through to the other side of fear. It is nothing and it has no hold on you. The full life you deserve to be living is just on the other side, and I fucking believe in you.