Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How’s Your Self-Respect, Lately?

“A kindhearted woman gains respect.” Pro.11:16a

Ever feel like you’re not getting the respect you deserve? Some moms feel this way routinely, but lots of people suffer the “lack of respect” syndrome, from comedian Rodney Dangerfield to the biggest celebrities, to YOU. Are you frantically trying to “be more,” “do more” “be better” to gain respect?

What do you do when it feels like you’re giving your life in service to others and not getting the respect you deserve?

Here’s a few suggestions: (from one who’s been there, done that. I’ve got five kids, a hubby, and a writing career, so I know the temptation to feel unrecognized.)

1. Remember that Jesus Christ, our role model, did not get the respect he deserved while on earth. If God himself in Christ endured disrespect, then we should not be surprised that we will face it too. In addition, if HE could take it willingly, so can we. This doesn't mean you should be a doormat, or let people walk all over you. The apostle Paul always stood up for his legal and civil rights. It just means that if your work and calling are not properly recognized, that is no reason to lose hope or abandon the tasks.

2. Give yourself the respect you deserve and stop looking to get it from others. Here’s a trick: Ask yourself how it would FEEL to be properly respected. Really try to imagine this FEELING. Then, go ahead and allow yourself to continue feeling it. When you give to yourself what you need, you will not waste precious time and energy seeking it elsewhere. God provides us with good reasons to be proud of our lives. Mothering, being a wife, a godly friend, a godly employee; using your God-given talents and gifts–all are reasons for self-respect. But how often do you stop and really soak it in when you do a job well? Take a minute every day, if possible, to RESPECT your jobs well done. Ironically, if you do this, and truly respect yourself first, the world will be more likely to follow your lead and respect you, too!

3. Be Kindhearted. Just as Proverbs 11:16 says, a “kindhearted woman gains respect.” So be kind to yourself as well as others. What does it mean to be kindhearted? It means your ACTIONS are kind. That you are a forgiving person. (It isn’t kind to hold a grudge.) It isn’t kind to put yourself down. If your heart is kind, then your mouth will SPEAK kind things. It’s not enough to mean well, either. Don’t say, “Well, I didn’t MEAN to hurt that person by what I said.” Determine to be kind-hearted, in word and deeds.

If you recognize a need to grow in kind-heartedness, ask God to help you. He is the “author and finisher of our faith.” He will help you grow in this area! Respect, from yourself, and from others, will follow. The knowledge that you are doing what God has called you to do, will be enough.

Dear Lord, Help me to find my self-respect in You, first and foremost. Teach me to receive the grace and kindheartedness that will open my heart to my own self-worth in your sight, as well as enable me to be kindhearted in my dealings with others. Grant me self-respect; and grant that I might grow in lovingkindness and good deeds, as you have foreordained for me. You are the Author and finisher of my faith. In Christ’s Name, I pray. Amen.

by Linore Rose Burkard. copyright 2008 Linore Rose Burkard. http://www.LinoreRoseBurkard.com

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