Mastering the Art of Self-Respect

in #philosophy8 years ago (edited)

Mastering the Art of Self-Respect

When learning how to hold a violin, you naturally want to hold it with your wrist tilted at a 90 degree angle, letting the violin's neck rest in your palm. Even though it seems easier to play, you will learn later on that it puts pressure on your wrist, and eventually will cause carpel tunnel. Instead, you learn how to hold the violin's neck between your thumb and your pointer finger with the wrist aligned with the rest of your arm. This is easier said than done because it is so uncomfortable when you first do it. You immediately want to go back to the 90 degree angle wrist tilt. But the reason why you continue to hold it the uncomfortable way is to keep that pressure off of your wrist, so it doesn't cause pain to your body in the future. Eventually, you create repetition, and it becomes natural to hold the violin the proper way, and you forget that it was ever uncomfortable to begin with.

“Love isn't something natural. Rather it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn't a feeling, it is a practice.”
-Erich Fromm

Mastering the art of self-respect is no different than learning how to hold a violin properly. This year, I have learned how to love myself...again; only with more love, more care, and more empathy. I'm learning how to set boundaries. I am learning how to speak my truth without fear of the opinions of others. I was eight when I first picked up a violin. The process of learning how to hold and play it correctly took about three years to create repetition and comfortability.

Oddly, it has taken me twenty-six years to become comfortable in being true to myself.

When you say the word "no," you are not only honoring yourself, you are honoring the people around you.

Like holding a violin in the wrong position, it sometimes feels easier to say, "sure I'll take that shift of yours I really don't want" or "sure, I'll go to that party I don't really want to go to." I have made this mistake over and over, and embarrassingly over again. I constantly did things for others that I didn't really want to do, but did it anyway because I believed it was easier than disappointing others. I've come to the realization that I was not honoring my own needs, and that living for the approval of others is a giant waste of time.

I am an introvert at heart. I love to occasionally socialize as well, but I recently have found that I have limits to how much "people time" I can handle in one sitting. I went to a festival recently. To my surprise, I was a very popular person to be around. And I was flattered in a sense, that wherever I went, people followed. But eventually I was depleted of all my energy. Some of the people there wanted me to stay and hang out, even offering me a place to stay that wasn't such a walk from where I was sleeping. In the past, I would have given in to what others wanted from me. But the new me (the me that honors my own needs) graciously said "no thank you." I walked back to my cabin in the dark, and I fell asleep. Alone. Exactly how I wanted to sleep.

Learning What to Tolerate, and What Not to Tolerate

I am a recently new activist in the movement. I advocate the use of psychedelics as a therapeutic tool. I understand that my message is somewhat controversial, and as a result I receive nasty comments and messages on a daily basis. I don't bat an eye. I don't comment back. I won't start a Facebook fight. I give that person no attention. I have come to the realization that my time and my energy are precious, and I will not waste it on people who seek to put others down. To me, that speaks volumes about how a person talks to themselves. As empathetic as I am to someone who has a violent inner voice (because trust me, I've been there), I have learned to not tolerate this behavior at all. The second someone decides they want to disempower me as a person or call me names, they land themselves in my "blocked" list (social media and in real life).

Some people would call this petty, but to me, it shows that I have enough self-respect to not tolerate certain behaviors of others. I save myself time, and I save myself energy. I don't hate that person, or wish ill thoughts on them. I simply have come to the understanding that we are all on different stages of our own evolution, but that doesn't mean I have to tolerate it.


What I'm going to admit in this section is embarrassing for me. When I was sixteen, I became a sex addict. I had major "daddy" issues at this point of my life, and because I never grew up with a father-figure, I was constantly seeking pleasure and attention from men, even if it was only through the act of sex. This behavior didn't end until I was twenty-years-old. That year, I was fortunate enough to meet my father, and it was only after a few visits that I realized he was an extremely toxic individual, and I became incredibly grateful that he had never played a big role in my life. Having the privilege of meeting my father truly changed me. It was the first time I learned how to set boundaries for myself. It was also the beginning of finding solitude in going to bed alone.

My perception about sex has completely changed, especially in the last few months. It has become a sacred act in my mind. The only type of sex that interests me is the art of Tantric Sex; the yin and the yang; the balance of give and take. I am two months into the practice of abstinence. I have learned to choose wisely when it comes to sharing my energy with another human being, especially when it comes to an act where you share your soul. The next time I have sex will be with a man I know well, love well, and who won't deplete me of my energy. Rather, we will energize each other. Out of self-respect, I won't settle for anything less.

Treating Your Body Like a Temple

Treating my body like a temple was truly the most challenging part of mastering the art of self-respect. I always wanted to treat my body like I cared about it, but it seemed like an impossible task, especially when I was younger.

Now, most of my time and energy goes into taking extreme care of myself. Every morning, I wake up, make myself a smoothie and hit the gym. It is the most important part of my day. It is the deciding factor on whether or not I am happy or sad. My mind depends on the well-being of my body. The most painful lesson I've learned is that if I don't treat my body right, my inner voice becomes violent. This is why I decide to put so much time and energy into working out and putting the right things in my body. The end result is an abundance of self love and respect.

Forgiving Yourself and Others

Last week, I was furious. My anger was particularly aimed towards a specific individual who has wronged me in more ways than I can count. It is hard to not be angry at times. My wounds are still raw from this incident, and my heart is heavy over the damage that this person has caused.

But while I was stirring in an abyss of anger last week, I started to become ill. And the angrier I got, the more mucus was building in my sinuses. I finally said to myself, You have got to let this go for your own well-being, because the energy that should be going to your dreams, your happiness, your healing, is going towards a complete and utter lost cause. Not only that, you are proving that this person still has control over you.

I have never been able to drop anger faster than I did that night. I let it go. I instantly forgave that person, for my own well-being. And that felt really good; to be able to forgive someone because you love yourself too much to waste another ounce of energy on them. It's a liberating feeling to be able to forgive.

This also goes for forgiving yourself as well. In the past if I made a mistake or did something that hurt another person, or said something wrong, I would hold it against myself for days (if not weeks). I literally wanted to bury myself in a hole and die. Well, that's not me anymore. If I make a mistake, I observe it, I feel remorseful, I apologize if I need to, and move on. I've learned that this is a much easier way to live.

Learning How to Talk Kindly to Yourself

This, I believe, is essential to mastering the art of self-respect. I did not realize just how violent my inner voice was until my Ayahuasca Ceremony. It really was jolting to finally gain some introspection on how I talked to myself. I wasn't kind to myself, to say the least. During my ceremony, I would patiently say to myself, let's try saying that in a more nurturing way. So I practiced for 7 hours, treating myself with the nurture and kindness I always needed from myself. It was life-changing. I've set high standards for relationships because of that experience; what I will or will not tolerate. It changed my entire outlook on the respect we deserve from ourselves and others. For our own well-being, we need to learn how to be kind to ourselves. Inner-peace is the only way we will achieve true anarchy one day.

Every day, I ask myself what I want for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ask myself what I want to do for fun. If I'm tired, I don't force myself to be productive. I uplift, empower and encourage myself. I give myself little massages, and I write little affirmations on the mirror. And sometimes, when I'm sad, I give myself a hug. I never say anything cruel to myself. When I feel discouraged, I remind myself of who I am deep down. I am essentially married to myself, and I've never been happier. I treat myself as I would treat another human being who I love and respect. I have become my best friend. I am kind to myself, and because of that, I am able to freely open my heart to others. You have an open invitation to genuine human connection with me.

In the past, it felt easier to let others push me around than to stand up for myself. It felt like it was easier to say "yes" rather than "no." It felt easier to defend myself against someone who was trying to put me down. It felt easier to lay around all day and eat processed food, instead of moving my body and cooking healthy meals. It felt easier to hold a grudge against someone, and it was easier to be unaware of just how jolting and cruel I was towards myself for so many years. But just like holding a violin in the wrong position, living life like this would eventually cause pain to the body, mind and spirit. Doing any of the above is wasted time that could have been used to do something incredible!

Treat yourself and others kindly. Love yourself properly. I promise, the results are worth your time and energy.


Add this to a long list of “things we should be taught but aren’t”. If you don’t put yourself first it’s very unlikely anyone else will. The knack is to do it without being seen as selfish.
You may be a new activist but an old soul: you’re so very chilled in the face of criticism. We need more role models in how to do that properly.

I agree! Erich Fromm's book, The Art of Loving goes a lot into how essential it is to overcome narcissism.


I get what you are saying and this is why i upvoted you but really, we all go through mistakes. We all really love ourselves one way or another.

sometimes though we go through "tough love" and some punishment has to come before progress is to be made.

Yes, I agree but tjis essay is about a simple part of our lives: prioritizing yourself first instead of pleasing others and damaging yourself (in the first place emotionally and then even psychological).
I like that you put this down: "punishment has to come before progress is to be made.".
Of course. Inevitably, we learn our lessons in our own pace.

"Be the love you never received"--what a great quote! Sometimes I judge myself for not loving "enough", and for a second or two I make the excuse that I don't know any better. Self-loathing is addictive and poisonous, and I'm really grateful for positive examples to keep my mind correct. Thank you for sharing--this is so important!!

Holy shit, Macey. This was just awesome and so so grounded in truth.

I too also learned the hard lesson of how my inner voice gets violent when I don't exercise or eat well or treat myself properly.

I also learned how FAST you can forgive someone when you realize it serves no good to hang on to anger. It was a life changing experience for me. I am kind and friendly towards my ex, whom I have a child with, and he is kind in return and grateful... even though he did some terribly betraying things when we were married years ago. He has since profusely apologized and he even tells new people at family gatherings that the reason we are not together is because he was not good to me.

I choose not to ever bash him or tell others what he did as some sort of aim to make him look bad or make me appear a victim. I am no victim.

I choose how to live my life, no one ever can fucking choose that for me.

Warms my heart reading this, probably because it resonates with me so much. Self love and self knowledge are required to truly understanding what it means to live without mandatory rulers (anarchy). Psychadelics, if used with the right mindset, can help open doors to your internal world, so that you can learn about yourself and in turn how to love on yourself. I hope others are inspired to begin their own journey of self knowledge and self love. Much love Macey

Another great read!

Bravo. Psychologically and philosophically sound. You are in your zone @maceytomlin.

Interesting. Up voted and following. Welcome to follow me after read my recent posts. Thanks and good day!
Be Free Always, All Ways!

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