Those who have an addiction to drugs or alcohol may also struggle with a lack of self-respect. Addiction can cause individuals to behave in strange and often surprising ways. Developing self-respect will allow individuals to find the strength to pursue recovery and create a gratitude-filled life.
What Is Self-Respect?
Self-respect is a character trait that can be acquired by anyone. People who respect themselves will usually make decisions and behave in ways that support their happiness and welfare. It means that they prioritize their needs in life above others. This trait is closely related to an individual’s self-esteem.
A Deep Sense of Value
When a person has self-respect, it means they are in acceptance of both their assets and liabilities and love themselves regardless of flaws or perceived imperfections. Self-respect is characterized by the belief that an individual has value, is worthy of others’ time, and deserve to be treated well.
In other words, individuals should not let others cross boundaries or take advantage of them. For instance, someone with self-respect is willing to listen to loved ones when their character defects are brought up and are willing to take steps to ensure they are working on taking positive action to combat negative behaviors.
Signs a Person Lacks Self-Respect
Some individuals have little or no respect for themselves. This often stems from traumatic experiences such as abandonment and neglect. The individual may be desperate to feel wanted and loved. They may put others before themselves, even when they should be focusing on their wellbeing.
The following are some signs that an individual may not respect themselves:
- People-pleasing behavior is common
- Self-harm and masochistic behavior
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Finding worth in the company of others such, as romantic partners
- People can get away with anything or walk all over them
- They often compare themselves to others and feel lousy about it
- They do not stand up for themselves and will tolerate abuse and neglect
Low Self-Esteem & Addiction
Low self-esteem is the reason substance abuse starts for some people. Parental neglect may have caused them to feel worthless or helpless to their circumstances, causing them to self-medicate. While under the influence, the individual may feel more outgoing and confident, but it does not last.
As substance abuse and other demoralizing behaviors become a pattern (e.g., promiscuity and crime), they lose more self-respect. They might even internalize demeaning labels. The onset of an addiction can cause someone to lose touch with their true identity as substances become the only reason for living.
It’s a Part of Self-Care
Re-learning how to take care of oneself and gain self-respect is essential to addiction treatment and recovery. This positive attribute can help an individual stand firm in the face of people or situations that jeopardize recovery. It is about learning how to assert boundaries in your relationships.
How to Gain Self-Respect
The process of developing one’s self-respect involves deep introspection and conscious action. The following are seven tips on how to get started on this worthwhile journey:
- Values. Reflecting inward on values allows a person to determine what is important in their life. What has profound meaning and is worth the fight? Some examples of values might be authenticity, stability, or kindness.
- Goals. Having goals and a pathway to achieve them will establish a sense of purpose and direction in life.
- Boundaries. Defining boundaries lets people acknowledge what they are and are not comfortable with mindfully. Healthy relationships, in part, depend on boundary enforcement.
- Positivity. Practicing positive affirmations can be soothing and allows an individual to find security and peace within themselves. This internal strength will make them more resilient to disappointment and conflict.
- Reminders. Progress, even in small steps, is worthy of recognition. People can place reminders of their achievements in life and recovery around their home or office space.
- Forgiveness. A person may be disgusted and regretful towards the things they have done while under the influence. Learning to forgive and accept the past will cultivate a loving-kindness and help them move on in peace.
- Needs. Good nutrition, sleep, and quality time alone are basic needs that support physical and mental wellness. It is essential to spend time taking care of one’s needs guilt-free.
Put the Brakes on Addiction Today
Negative childhood experiences and repeated trauma can cause a person to have low respect for themselves. Addiction can make this worse, as they start to do things they may regret later on. Put the breaks on this painful cycle, and resolve traumatic memories that continue to drain one’s sense of dignity and belonging in the world.
Having pride and confidence gives a person the capacity to make good decisions and stand firm in times of difficulty. Losing self-respect to an addiction (or becoming addicted because of it) can be agonizing. This chapter can have a happy ending. Substance use disorders can be treated successfully, and underlying trauma can be healed with the right program. Avalon Malibu is a mental health and substance abuse treatment center. We believe every client is worthy of high-quality care and deserves respect regardless of their circumstances or things they aren’t proud of. Our diverse clinical staff is not only highly trained, but they are highly compassionate and dedicated to our client’s recovery. Through experiential methodologies, expressive arts, and research-based psychotherapies, we provide clients with a holistic approach to healing from whatever wounds they may have. To learn more about our programs, call (844) 857-5992.