“Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.”
Clint Eastwood (American Actor)
“Greater self-esteem produces greater success, and greater success produces more high self-esteem, so it keeps on spiraling up.”
Jack Canfield (American Author, Chicken Soup For The Soul)
“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”
Malcolm S. Forbes (America Entrepreneur)
Self-esteem is a tricky thing.
In the simplest terms, your self-esteem is how much you respect yourself.
It’s a measure of the level of confidence you have in your own worth and abilities.
How much you believe in yourself, like yourself, and value yourself.
Your perspective on life and everything you jump into or run away from comes from this foundation.
And like happiness, it’s an inside job.
Like many things, we sabotage ourselves in the building or maintenance of our self-esteem, either from neglect from the inside out, or lack of discipline from the outside in.
All the work you do on your self-esteem is diminished by a lack of discipline and diligence in thoughts, behaviors, people, and interactions that you allow.
Negative or manipulative people can actively seek to damage your self-respect but there are a lot of things that you’re doing to yourself that will quickly erode the amount of respect you have for yourself.
Some traits that you might not expect to be self-esteem stealers include being nice, being optimistic, and compromising in relationships.
The more you indulge in these “nice” qualities, the less you’ll respect yourself.
The less respect you have for yourself, the less others will have for you also.
Being Too Nice Can Lower Your Self-Esteem And Hurt Your Career
The truth is, sometimes nice guys and girls really do finish last.
Too nice can get you trampled on.
Too nice can even hurt your bank account.
“Nice” people with high levels of agreeability, while well-liked, actually earn less money.
Up to $10,000 a year less, in fact.
Researchers have been focused on attributes of personality that they have classified as the Big Five Personality Traits… one of which is agreeableness.
Research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that men who are too nice or overly agreeable, while popular and well-liked, made less money by up to 18% less, while women earned up to 5% less than their more disagreeable counterparts.
Agreeableness can translate into lack of boundaries, lack of assertiveness, and conflict avoidance.
In other words, people don’t respect you.
Because it seems as though you don’t respect yourself or have confidence to hold your own ground.
Like being nice, being optimistic is a trait we’re encouraged to possess.
And it’s true — optimism translates into improved health and longevity, but in extremes, can also prove detrimental to your success.
American Psychologist published research that showed that eternal optimism left subjects ill-prepared for unexpected events.
Ignorance is not bliss.
If you’re always focused on the best case scenario, you’ll be slammed with the worst case and never know how to respond.
You’ll get creamed.
Lastly, being over-compromising can be a nice quality that turns you into a doormat and can put your needs last.
The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships published research that revealed that couples who sacrifice show they are more committed to the relationship… but not happier.
The reverse is actually true — the more you compromise to keep the peace, to avoid conflict, to save the relationship, and yield to your partner, the more damage you do to your self-esteem.
The more unhappy you will be in that relationship and the less your partner will respect you back.
Ultimate failure and relationship doom.
3 Traits That Undermine Your Self-Respect And Happiness
Look — nice qualities are important for your moral congruence and overall disposition in life.
But these qualities can also open you up as a target for people to take advantage of you, and even worse, for you to avoid making what you want in life a priority worthy of being protected.
When you start making your goals and purpose a priority, your self-respect increases.
When you respect yourself, you don’t tolerate disrespect from anyone else.
You put an end to being walked on and start moving into the success you deserve.
Here are three things you might be doing that are damaging your self-esteem.
1. You’re too nice.
One of the fastest ways to lose respect for yourself and lower your self-esteem is to always be nice, even when other people are taking advantage of you.
Look, there’s a time to be nice in life and there’s a time to be not-so-nice.
People with high self-esteem aren’t afraid to rock the boat or ruffle people’s feathers, especially when they are being manipulated, or see other people being manipulated.
People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, stay quiet.
They look down and do their best to not rock the boat.
They don’t speak up for themselves or anyone else.
They are weak.
It’s good to be nice to people.
But if you’re nice because you’re afraid, you’ll only ever get walked on.
If you’re silent because you don’t think you’re worthy of more, then you’ll never get more.
If you’re afraid of what everyone thinks about you and you think you have to agree with everything to be liked, you’ll live an entire life for other people that don’t care about you.
Say goodbye to success and hello to a wasted life without any reward.
You might think that this kind of agreeableness is necessary or that it is required for getting ahead in life.
But the truth is the opposite.
Think about that the next time you blindly agree with your boss or your partner.
Once you set the precedent that you’ll passively go along with any ride, you give up control over your life, and the right to be happy or ever feel good about yourself.
Know how to set boundaries around your time and energy.
Know when to say no.
Stop giving in to everyone else and start giving to yourself.
2. You’re the eternal optimist.
Another fast way to lose respect for yourself is to be eternally optimistic — because you intentionally evade reality and the preparation necessary for it.
Studies of hundreds of people who have survived a wide variety of catastrophic events found that people who were most likely to succumb to the catastrophe were those who were eternally optimistic, as in, those who wore rose-colored glasses and thought everything was going to be okay without doing anything to ensure that things would be okay.
For example, in prisoner-of-war camps, the people most likely to collapse were the eternal optimists who believed rescue was imminent and failed to plan for the possibility of long-term imprisonment.
Being positive is important but you shouldn’t be so blindly positive that you fail to take action.
You don’t want to be locked into negativity and disaster plans so that you’re a chronic buzzkill, of course.
But you can’t operate from a place of blind optimism where you fail to acknowledge what’s actually happening around you.
You can’t be so positive that you become ignorant and naive, and open yourself up to failure because you’re not prepared.
You’ll become vulnerable to disaster in life because you don’t know how to handle reality.
Optimism and hopefulness can make you passive.
Waiting for things to be okay because you wish they would be, or believe they could be.
You’ll end up watching everyone pass you by while you wait — namely, the action-takers who are out there, each strategically seizing their life’s purpose with a blend of goal-directed vision and grounded reality.
You increase your resilience and ability to cope by being prepared with backup plans and alternate courses of action.
You frame your endgame in optimism but make sure that your path to get there has allowed for contingency plans and moments to face hard truths.
Your self-esteem increases as you overcome challenge and successfully move through the unexpected… not by waiting hopefully or ignoring facts that demand your attention and action.
3. You always compromise.
The third fastest way to lose respect for yourself is to always compromise in relationships.
For example, a study in the British Medical Journal asked a group of married couples to agree with their partner’s every opinion and request without complaint, even if they believed their partner was wrong.
Only the participants who were told to agree were informed of the study.
The quality of life of both participants was measured using a scoring scale of 1-10 (10 being the best possible quality of life).
The results showed that, after only 12 days, the quality of life of the participants who blindly agreed with their partner, no matter what, fell from 7 out of 10 to a 3 out of 10.
Quality of life goes down, resentment goes up.
Happiness and relationship satisfaction deteriorates.
Healthy relationships improve all major areas of life on a long-term basis.
Unhealthy relationships do just the opposite.
And your primary relationships are the most impactful — equally carrying the biggest reward with the biggest risk to overall health and happiness.
So the compromise you make for the sake of the greater good?
Doesn’t work that way.
Because over time, the more you compromise, the more you set a pattern of bowing down to the other.
The idea of compromise in relationships is mythical, in terms of resolution.
It’s a unicorn fantasy in relationships.
According to the Gottman Institute, 69% of issues in relationships fall into the unresolvable/perpetual problem category.
Meaning most of the time, one of you isn’t going to get what they want and for that reason, it’s likely to continue.
Know this going in and be realistic about your expectations.
Build up your self-worth so you can tolerate the discomfort in any relationship when there’s gridlock.
What’s important to you, and what your goals are, shouldn’t need compromise and it doesn’t need agreement.
It doesn’t kill anyone to disagree.
In fact, misery is what you can look forward to when you constantly compromise on yourself and your goals.
Don’t accept misery for your life.
Don’t give away your self-respect.
Instead, protect it by knowing your value, sticking up for yourself, and speaking your mind.
Building up your self-esteem can be hard enough without actively giving it away. Being too nice, too optimistic, and too compromising weakens the respect you have for yourself and any you hope to get from others. It shows that your needs and your goals are not important. It shows that your success and happiness are not priorities. As a result, you’ll be walked on, bypassed, and left behind. Having good boundaries and speaking up for yourself and what’s important to you are a sign of healthy self-esteem, as well as actions that continue to strengthen it. Being confident and focused on your goals will propel you into success.
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