7 things people do when they don’t respect themselves nearly enough

Do you ever find yourself questioning if you’re truly valuing yourself as you should? 

I know I’ve been there before — wondering if I’m just settling for less, unable to discern if my inability to draw a firm line is normal or a sign of something deeper. 

And I’m not saying I’m the master of confidence, but I’ve certainly come a long way in gaining more self-respect. 

So if you’ve ever felt caught in this delicate balance, unsure of how much respect you’re really giving yourself, I’d like to offer some clarity. 

Here are 7 signs that might mean you’re not valuing yourself as you should.

1) Engaging in negative self-talk

Did you know we all have an inner dialogue in our minds? And unfortunately, most of the time it sounds more like a bully than a cheerleader.

I myself used to beat myself up for every little mistake, thinking I’m “worthless” or “a total failure”.

I had done it for so long, that it became normalized for me, and I wasn’t even aware of it. When I finally realized what I was doing, it was a huge red flag that I didn’t have enough self-respect.

Because think about it: would you ever talk like that to a friend or even a stranger? You’d probably never even dream of it. 

And you deserve at least as much compassion and respect as you give to other people. 

The way you talk to yourself doesn’t just stay in your mind — it forms your belief system that spills into your actions, your relationships, and your overall well-being. 

So make sure your personal background track is something that lifts you up and propels you towards your goals. 

2) Staying in unhealthy relationships

Staying in a relationship that’s draining you emotionally, mentally, or even physically can be one of the most glaring signs you’re not respecting yourself as you should. 

Unfortunately, that’s another thing I used to do — I spent 2 years with someone who I’d have constant fights with and who never made me feel heard or understood.

I’d not only have my own voice in my head putting me down, but also his voice out loud! 

That’s not to say that he’s a horrible person with no good qualities, but it’s safe to say that we were definitely not a good match

I was too afraid to recognize it because I felt like I’d never find someone else. I just accepted the toxic features, because it was the love I thought I deserved.

But I should have had enough self-respect to recognize that I deserve better — as every human being deserves compassion, love, and respect.

3) Constantly seeking validation

Ah, the never-ending quest for validation. It’s like an itch you can’t quite scratch, isn’t it? 

You post a photo online and keep checking for likes, or you tailor your behavior to meet someone else’s expectations just to hear that you did a “good job.” 

Essentially, what you’re doing is outsourcing your self-esteem. It depends on someone else’s stamp of approval, which they can give you or not on a whim. And your mood becomes a rollercoaster that rises and falls based on other people’s opinions. 

Does that sound like a respectful way to treat yourself? Definitely not.

What it really boils down to is a deep-seated insecurity, a hole you’re trying to fill with external praise. But the validation you seek should come from within, rooted in a firm belief in your own worth.

To be completely honest, there are still days when I really struggle with this. But I make sure to remind myself that the only opinion that really matters in my life is my own.

4) Overcommitting and overpromising

This is something that you might do with the best of intentions. That was the case for me — I used to say yes to nearly everything, wanting to appear strong, capable, and helpful, and to make everyone around me happy.

But when you get down to it, it’s a lack of respect for yourself — and for others as well.

Because when you overcommit, you put yourself in a cage where you take more time and energy away from yourself than you have. You set yourself up for exhaustion and misery — it’s a silent signal to yourself that your own needs and limits don’t matter. 

And at the same time, you’re not doing the other people any favors. The work you deliver won’t be your best, or you may even need to go back on your word and pull out of the commitment. 

If you find you say “yes” more than you should, it’s time to be realistic about what you can reasonably handle. Learn to say “no” without guilt and “yes” with consideration.  

And remember, it’s not only okay to set boundaries—it’s crucial for self-respect.

5) Oversharing personal information quickly

Ever found yourself pouring out personal details to someone you’ve just met, only to later question why you spilled so much so fast? 

Maybe it’s because you think being an open book will make people like you more, or that it shows you’re genuine and down-to-earth — or maybe you believe in people’s good nature and are too quick to trust.

All of that could even be true, but there are some obvious pitfalls to this

You don’t know if that person will keep what you told them to themselves or gossip about it, or even use your words against you somehow. It’s like you’re hanging out keys to your inner sanctuary without vetting who should really have access.

You also set a precedent for the other person to think it’s okay to cross boundaries because you haven’t established any. 

In turn, this diminishes the respect both you and others have for your personal space and feelings.

If you identify with this tendency, you can learn to temper your openness with discernment. Start with smaller, more trivial details, and gauge the person’s reaction and trustworthiness before divulging more. 

6) Accepting blame for others’ mistakes

In conflicts, sometimes it’s easier to accept the blame or apologize, even though you haven’t actually done anything wrong. 

Perhaps deep down you wish you could stand up for yourself and make the other person take ownership of their own actions — but you don’t know how. You may even convince yourself that it’s your fault anyway, because of feelings of insecurity.

I can totally relate. It can be difficult to tell when an apology is warranted, and when it would be disrespectful to myself.

But you should definitely take time to define this line. We all make enough mistakes of our own — why should you take on other people’s as well?

It’s not fair and just makes you feel more guilty or resentful.

And at the end of the day, you’re also doing a disservice to them. You’re depriving them of a learning experience, an opportunity to grow and take responsibility for their actions.

Obviously, you don’t have to throw people’s mistakes in their faces or rudely point them out — but next time you feel the urge to apologize, take a moment to consider if it is really your fault.

7) Keeping a messy living space

Have you ever seen a home that was totally cluttered and messy? You know, dishes piling up, laundry everywhere, dust collecting on every surface.

Maybe your own home sounds kind of like this. And you might be thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a little mess.” 

I get it — life is busy, and you don’t have time to make your home look like an IKEA display. But let’s pause for a second and consider what that mess is really saying.

When our personal space is in disarray, it often mirrors how we’re feeling inside. Maybe you’re overwhelmed, stressed, or just don’t think you’re worth the effort to keep things tidy. 

I mean, would you ever leave a friend’s place in such a mess? Probably not, because that wouldn’t be showing much respect, right?

Well, your relationship with yourself deserves that same level of respect.

Your home is your sanctuary, the place where you should feel the most at ease and comfortable. And when it’s cluttered and messy, you’re not giving yourself that opportunity to fully relax and recharge.

You don’t have to turn into a neat freak overnight but try taking small steps. 

Wash those dishes right after you use them. Fold the laundry as soon as it’s dry. Maybe even give that dusty bookshelf a quick wipe. You’ll be surprised at how these tiny actions can lift your spirits.

Developing a healthy sense of self-respect

Now you know 7 things that people do when they don’t respect themselves nearly enough.

If you’ve recognized yourself in any of them, you’re not alone. As you can see from the experiences I’ve shared above, I’ve been there — more than I care to admit.

But awareness is the first step towards change, and that’s something to celebrate, not shame.

Start by addressing just one of these 7 bad habits, and you’ll find your self-respect will slowly start to grow too.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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