In the end, it’s all about becoming the best version of yourself and self-respect is the first step toward that version of yourself that you’re trying to achieve. People tend to believe that self-respect, self-care and self-acceptance are something selfish, always confusing that taking care of yourself means that you don’t care about anyone else. It’s a huge misconception and we have to change that view about people who respect themself.

People consider it to be something bad and they judge you for doing these things because they don’t understand the respect you have for yourself:

1. You make yourself a priority

If we taught little girls to respect themselves and love themselves to the point where they make themselves a priority, their lives would be so much happier. Just think about all those times you didn’t want to go out and you stayed at home with yourself, relaxing and watching your favorite series. Do you remember how much your friends judged you for that? They simply didn’t understand why you didn’t want to go to that party with them. But there is nothing and no one more important to you than yourself and saying ‘no’ to people has become your lifesaver. You always look at how you’re feeling and if you’re ready to give your time and efforts to someone else.

2. You cut all those toxic people out of your life

One day you just woke up and deleted all those ‘friends’ on social media who made you feel uncomfortable. You deleted their numbers and you simply took a step back from them. You don’t have room in your life anymore for people who make you feel depressed and people who make you feel negative about yourself. You have too much self-respect to let them take one more moment of your attention. Your time is too precious to be spent with toxic people.

3. You left that bad relationship

When you saw that the man you let into your life started to make you feel unloved and unappreciated, you walked away from him. No one needs a man in their life who won’t make an effort or show her that he’s thankful for having her there. Life is simply too short to spend it on bad relationships. Why would you continue being with someone who has no intention of making you feel loved? Because of the fact that you respect yourself enough, you walked away and no matter how much you loved him, you love yourself more!

4. You don’t justify your actions anymore

There’s no need to explain your reasons to anyone and you have simply stopped doing it for the sake of your own health. You have come to the conclusion that other people are not the ones who should approve your actions, thoughts and feelings. You do what you think to be the best way to gain happiness in life. Why would you wait for them to pat you on the back or to criticize what you’re doing? Those things simply aren’t needed in your life.

5. You don’t listen to the expectations of other people

No matter how many times you tried before, you couldn’t break free from the expectations other people had of you. Now that you have regained your self-respect, you have started to love yourself more and chase your own happiness without the need to listen to what other people tell you to do. Your parents might have expectations for your life but your happiness is on the other side of the spectrum, so you go for it!

6. Taking care of your health

You go for runs, you eat healthier and you have stopped drinking and smoking? Well, you are taking care of your own health! Why wouldn’t you? You love your body. You love yourself. So why would you drink yourself to oblivion and then regret it the morning after? No. That’s not needed for sure. You have to take care of yourself if you want to achieve great things in your life and it can only be done if you truly respect yourself. By not ordering that burger tonight and rather making a good old home-cooked meal, you’re doing such a favor to your body.

7. You are productive

Our time on this planet is limited and we should be making the best of it! Procrastinating every day and waiting for things to change themselves isn’t an option anymore. You respect your time here enough to know that you should really be productive and make it valuable. Waking up earlier because this way you know that you won’t have to throw in an all-nighter, doing all the things that are needed to make you happy and then showing kindness to yourself while paying for that long-awaited trip to a destination that will inspire you—well, that’s what I call self-respect.