Healthy Self-respect in the Face of Disrespect

Dear Friends,

I am thankful this week for some blatant disrespect which provided evidence of healthy self-respect.   

There is an interesting fact about loving and accepting yourself: 

the more you respect yourself, 

the less you tolerate disrespect from others; 

and the less you tolerate disrespect from others, 

the more respect you will gain.

When was the last time you were disrespected to your face? Did you react rashly or respond mindfully? How did it turn out? Was respect restored or further damaged?  What did you make the interaction mean about you?

Teenagers often give us the opportunity to practice how we will intentionally think, feel and act when disrespect is glaring.  I coach a High School Freshmen Basketball team. There are players on my team who exhibit both verbal and non-verbal disrespect towards me. In the past, this behavior would have triggered negative self-talk with the accompanying feelings of insecurity, ineptitude and doubt.  However, when the disrespect came to a head at a game a few nights ago, it was so liberating to experience “having my own back”.  Because I have done so much work on truly loving and accepting myself, I knew the disrespect had everything to do with the player and nothing to do with me.  I was able to calmly and matter-of-factly address the issues.  I made some adjustments to the line-up, and then simply continued coaching the game.  The attitude of the player might not change, but the beautiful thing is, her disrespect did not infect the other girls.  In fact, many of the other players noticed the interaction and their respect for me visibly grew.  

I no longer tolerate disrespectful communication in the way I look at myself, or in my own self-talk.  This experience was evidence that the respect and love I show myself is rippling into how I allow others to treat me.  This situation showed me that I truly have made tremendous strides in allowing others to have their own thoughts, feelings and actions without letting it mean anything about me.  I can appreciate their journey and stay in my own business.  

Disrespect can be tricky, especially if we feel a certain stewardship in the relationship.  As a coach, parent, teacher, spouse, aunt, sibling… when disrespect is flagrant, if you respect, love and are in the practice of giving grace to yourself, then the disrespect won’t land.  It becomes easy to set boundaries, offer teaching moments, and stay in a place of love and compassion despite being treated poorly.

Have you had the opportunity to be disrespected lately? 😉

What are some difficult interactions you are thankful for?  What are they teaching you? 


Rooting for you always,


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