Why Your Love Life Sucks – Chapter 3: Respect


A friend of mine was talking with me and decided to shed light on the perspective of my writing. He said, “You know, just take into consideration that you are writing this from an attractive woman’s point of view – so naturally, you don’t have trouble with getting men.”

Men. You can’t live with them, and you can’t kill’em.

My response was, “No matter how a woman looks, she should always feel like she never has a problem getting men. Every woman is beautiful. That is why I write the way I do.

My style of writing is not at all to sound proud but to be confident as every woman should. It is intentional yet effortless. Confidence has nothing to do with how you look but changing the things you don’t like and accepting the things you cannot change. And that’s not a choice for society to make, it’s yours.

It does not take a lot of energy to take this tone with my audience (I might be stern, but I’m fussing at you because I love you, a stay-home mom with a ton of extra time on her hands if you must). I try to make this as personal as possible – as if giving a friend a pep talk. I try to be concise, and my primary goal is to get my point across while hoping my audience tries to understand. Our attention span is waning, you know.

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Defining Respect

Respect means different things to many people. Some feel it is just about listening and caring about what other people have to say, others feel it’s treating someone with common decency. It doesn’t necessarily mean being nice or being liked: I don’t like him, but I respect him. Is it something people feel should be earned or given?

Respect is easily distinguishable but hard to define in terms of how it’s expressed.

Respect, according to Google, is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

What a broad statement. With many things including values, morals, and the way we treat others, everything always starts with ourselves and the fabric of our character. Before being able to receive or learn anything from this chapter, I think it’s important to ask yourself what respect is to you – in love, in life, in others, in expectations and interactions, in general.

The Absence of Lines

Why does this keep happening to me? I’m such a great person, and my friends treat me horribly and take advantage of me, my boyfriend cheats on me, my boss hates me – why? 

The absence of lines in respect is when we allow things to keep happening to us based on the way we feel about ourselves and the way we treat others opposed to observing the way others treat us in return. It is choosing to be blind to outside behavior and leaves us to examine our own faults that cause people to treat us the way they do.

This is low self-respect. Unfortunately, we cannot control the way others treat people based on their own level of respect, but we can control how much disrespect we tolerate.

I meet many people who are unaware of their worth but treat others like they are priceless. Why is it that you feel others are more deserving of your love than you are? You may praise others, but if your internal dialogue is not as kind as your external dialogue with others, it causes an imbalance of security and you become more vulnerable to outside forces. You believe what others have to say before you believe yourself.

It was Miguel Ruiz who said:

“In your whole life, nobody has ever abused you more than you have abused yourself. And the limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else. If someone abuses you a little more than you abuse yourself, you will probably walk away from that person. But if someone abuses you a little less than you abuse yourself, you will probably stay in the relationship and tolerate it endlessly.”

Self-respect is love.

When the respect of spirit, mind, or body is removed or lacking, there leaves a void to fill by someone else, which is never the ideal situation. We are all a product of our environment influenced by the people and places we surround ourselves by. Your surroundings are more powerful than your genetic makeup. If you are able to acknowledge your worth and importance to the universe, you would try your best to preserve your well-being where it identifies a similar counterpoint with others who treat themselves with the same level of respect and inspire others to see the best in themselves.

The Ugly Truth

The way you treat your body is how others will treat your body. The way you treat your mind is how others will treat your mind. The way you treat your spirit is how others will treat your spirit. It’s basic human nature. This is why we must show ourselves love before being able to properly display our affections to others. Gaining respect starts with the decisions you make for your own well-being.

If you hurt yourself, you will continuously get hurt. Everyone and everything is connected. Did you know the majority of communication is nonverbal? Being able to gain self-respect comes from making the decision to move in a way that is better than before.

The ugly truth is, we show others how we wish to be treated. If you allow others to demean you, they will. If you allow others to manipulate you, they will. Identifying when someone does these things does not have to be outright disrespect. You know when something isn’t right; you can feel it.

Stop ignoring your body.

Self-respect feels good. It empowers, ignites, and influences others in positive ways.

It is having a strong sense of self and direction, and truthfully, you will never be happy if you do not respect yourself. You will always lose yourself in bad influences and terrible habits.

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The Final Straw

Hello, my name is Nikki, and change is my biggest fear. I really cannot stand it; I literally have a hard time changing my hair color or hairstyle for that matter. It took me a while to realize in order to be better, I had to be more susceptible to change, good and bad. However, when it comes to removing people out of my life, it is one of the hardest things for me to do. 

I am a hard lover, but I am so careful to give it to those I feel are all deserving. So when someone I trust betrays me, it is always a hard hit. I don’t mean mediocre mess-ups, I mean HUGE, fat mistakes that can only be an extension of their character flaws. Seeing someone’s true colors shock me every time, and depending on the pain I am experiencing in my body, mind, and soul – that is the moment I choose to let them go.

Does it make me sad? Sure. But being sad is something that is to be done alone – not with the person who caused your sadness. The same person who causes you immense pain will never be the same person to heal it.

When someone reveals themselves to me, I always say take it at face value, because it is a fabric of their character and gives you an example of the level of respect they have for themselves. If they don’t have respect for themselves, they will never have respect for you.Have a low tolerance for disrespect. I promise it will never steer you wrong. No ragrets.

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Respect to Death

Fighting fire with fire creates a bigger fire. It’s the same case with disrespect. When someone disrespects you, the worst thing you can ever do is lose face, or retaliate at the level in which they expect.

Lose face: To lose the respect of others; to be humiliated or experience public disgrace.

The best thing to always do is remain graceful. The most successful people in life are the ones who are able to control the display of their emotions. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have them or that you aren’t allowed to have them, but there is a time and place.

Save face: retain respect; avoid humiliation.

I always say misery loves company because the cliche has a strong truth. Anyone who operates in negativity and has low self-respect will want you to respond with the same energy in order to validate their misery. Please do not. This may seem like something that is hard to do, but let’s face it, if it were easy, everyone would do it, and the hardest task are always the ones that are worth it. 

Kill them with kindness.

The Power of You

Everything is connected. Ever heard of the domino effect? According to Dictionary.com, the domino effect is the cumulative effect that results when one event precipitates a series of like events. 

When we are able to understand the power we have, we either become selfish or altruistic. Are we going to harness the power and misuse it or are we going to share it and empower others? When you have high self-respect, you have high expectations of others. They do better and be better.

When someone is aware of their own power and use it for personal gain, this is when it is manipulated. But someone who respects their power, shares it with others. Know the consequence of your actions. We respect others by feeding them positive energy, listening to them, and making it known they matter.

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Creating Value

     1. Know the consequences of your actions.

Move in a way that benefits your future and does not tear your reputation, but enhances it.

     2. Learn from your past.

You are a learner of life. Stop repeating the same mistake and change. I’ll say it over and over: insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.

     3. Pay attention to your future for direction. 

There’s a reason we must all have a plan or goal. If we don’t, we will lose ourselves in someone else’s plan.

     4. Don’t be weak-minded. Value your thoughts. 

Pay attention to your feelings, pay attention to your thoughts. They are valid. This does not mean you act on them immediately, but respecting someone’s values over yours is allowing them to brainwash you. Consider yourself first. Respect your thoughts and feelings.

     5. Be honest. Stop lying to yourself.

Fyodor Dostoevsky said, “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect, he ceases to love.” In order to change for the better, we must first start taking responsibility for our bad decisions and habits. Identify your strengths and weaknesses.

      6. Always respect others. 

I don’t care what the circumstance is – there is never a reason to stoop to another’s level. Always remain respectful in every instance – you will always win. 

     7. Take responsibility for your actions. 

Refer to no. 5

     8. Be patient. 

With everyone, including yourself. Gradual progress means it will be long-lasting. Nothing happens overnight. Except for when Led Zeppelin went down the crossroads, sold their souls, and gained fame overnight. But that’s a different story.

9. Be positive. 

Disengage from that negative reflection and adjust your perspective. Everything always gets better.

What an insanely hard chapter to write. Respect is so broad, but it’s really just having high expectations of yourself and others, and when they don’t meet them, scidaddle. I’m proud I’ve developed this trait. Mine did not take the same reoccurring pain, but I pretty much felt like dying in that metamorphosis phase. But here I am, writing you in confidence, a beautiful butterfly and whatnot.

Tell me what you thought!

Next chapter: The Fear of Happiness