“Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.” – Clint Eastwood

Many people don’t think about self-respect until they realize they’ve lost it.

By then, however, it can be very difficult to find the courage to rebuild what’s gone. While it isn’t impossible to regain self-respect, it does take a great deal of effort and determination.

Yet, how can you learn to respect yourself, especially when you don’t currently feel any such regard? Here are some tips to respect yourself, rebuild or regain self-respect, and keep it.

Know that you can rebuild

With self-respect such a crucial component of overall well-being, knowing that you can rebuild it once you’ve lost it is very important. You must believe that this is so. Otherwise, you’ll forever hate yourself. What’s vital in this rebuilding process is to maintain an optimistic attitude toward your efforts and make a point of working diligently at it.

Accept your mistakes and pledge to do better

Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes only chip away at your self-esteem if you continue to beat yourself up over them. Accept that you’ve erred, pledge to do better, and make good on the commitment.

Stop worrying what other people think and stay true to your core values and beliefs

There will likely be criticism as you strive to make changes in your life. Some people may prefer that you stay stuck in self-pity, lowered self-esteem, and lack of self-respect. It’s a curious phenomenon that some individuals like to surround themselves with those who are in a low place, because they feel better about themselves in comparison. Instead of worrying what other people think or say, remain steadfast in your core beliefs and values. This will help you restore the self-respect you earnestly desire.

Work on changing your perceptions – of yourself and others

In line with the recommendation to refrain from worry about what others think is the advice to change your self-perceptions and how you perceive others. Despite a fear that others are out to get you, or that everyone else has it together except you, cultivate the more proactive perception that most people are good at heart and wish you well. Give yourself a pep talk, too, so that you encourage your own efforts at rebuilding and restoring your self-respect. After all, this is an integral part of overall well-being and living a life of purpose and joy.

Hold yourself to ambitious standards

While you may have done some dreadful things in the past – actions that caused you to suffer lower self-esteem – you can repair this damage by holding yourself to ambitious standards. Perhaps you lacked such standards before, so now is the time to embrace them. Never do something halfway or to the least of your ability. Pride yourself on following through on your word and mean what you say. Value honesty, challenging work, and commitment above all else. If you start with these, you will begin to learn how to respect yourself.

Believe in your choices once you make them

Vacillating and trying to second-guess your choices is not constructive. What is, however, is believing in the choices you make and exerting whatever effort is necessary to bring about the changes you seek.

Work hard and acknowledge your efforts

Along with the belief that you can build or rebuild self-respect and holding yourself to higher standards, it is also vital that you work hard and take the time to acknowledge the effort you’ve already put in. When you map out a project or undertake a task, having a plan of action helps you adhere to the work. It also allows you to see the minor successes you have along the way and shows you where you may need to adjust your plan to accommodate the latest ideas or take advantage of lessons learned in the case of setbacks.

Instead of trying to impress others, follow your heart and do what’s right

If you maintain a constant goal of living in truth and according to your values and beliefs, you will find it easier to do the right thing. You won’t be so tempted to try to impress others by doing things that are against what you know to be true or what means most to you. Feel your direction from within and take appropriate action.

Recognize that self-respect is a building process

Just as it takes a while to lose your self-respect, it also takes some time to regain or rebuild it. If you’ve never thought about self-respect, this is an excellent time to weigh the merits of respecting yourself and tailoring your life so that you hold yourself in the highest regard. What you most value is what you will pay attention to.