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The Gift of Self-Respect

It’s Christmas time—a time when most people are opening their pocket books and their hearts to give presents to the people they love. It’s heartwarming. Even I, who believe that a present should be given any time you feel so inclined and not at a specific date, feel the spirit of giving more than usual. Today, I noticed myself humming tunes of love songs and then even inventing words to them that include the people I love.

However, for many people festivities like Christmas bring up lots of emotions, and for lovers who are on the verge of break-up, festivities usually are very stressful and breakups can be precipitated by expectations that the lover does not fulfill.

“Why buy an expensive gift for a girlfriend I don’t respect?” a young man asked me the other day in a counseling session. As he described her, she sounded like someone no one would like to spend his life with her. Not an idea of her own, no preferences when she was asked what movies she wanted to see or what restaurant to go to. He originally fell in love with her because he thought she was very good-hearted and caring.

Later on he found out that she did not respect herself. She thought she was unworthy of love just being who she is. She actually could not stand up for herself if verbally or emotionally abused, which he confessed he did several times. She seemed to like being put down, and the healthy part of him did not like her behavior. She even complied with unusual demands . . . He had been watching her become a classic doormat, a spineless women. Having lost his respect for her, sex became dull and boring.

He dumped her just 7 days before Christmas! I felt sad for her, but I also understood the guy’s point of view. I did not agree with his abusive behavior, but admired the fact that he came for help. Some part of him did not like his abusive behavior either. Apparently, doormats attract abusers. I hope for her that she finds the help she needs to gain self-esteem so she can attract a nice man.

A nice person likes and respects herself and would never do anything that diminishes her self-respect. She tunes into her heart, but also into her power as a woman and into her intellect to discern what would be the most appropriate behavior in each case. After that, she would express it kindly and clearly to her man.

When I read a blog on “Four Reasons You’ll NEVER Get Dumped” at www.thefrisky.com, one of the four reasons that some of us give to explain to ourselves why the relationship ended is being “too nice.” However, being “too nice” is not a true reason for a relationship to end. “Nice” is a desirable quality. Whereas “doormat,” “pantywaist,” and “milquetoast” are not. Too many people mistake the latter for the former, and there’s a world of difference. . .

I know you feel that difference in yourself when you go from being nice and accommodating someone, to neglecting your own need in the process. It is something we must all watch out for, because noone can respect us unless we respect ourselves first.


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