Self-regard vs. Selfish...
This may be one of my favorite words!
self-regard: (noun) the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect. A sense of one's own dignity or worth
Why is it that so many times we sacrifice our own desires, integrity, and beliefs either out of fear of the consequences or because we unconsciously question our personal worth?
I have been very conscious of this theme lately, as it has come up time after time with people I work with. They are choosing to deny themselves rather than face the process of asking for what they want and honoring their worth.
Very often we see this as “selfish” if I ask for what I need to feel fulfilled. Is this cultural? A learned behavior? I don't know, but what I do know is that it leads to a perpetual spiral of self-doubt, loneliness, and unfulfilled relationships. How is this need to accommodate and sacrifice our own self so powerful and controlling? Is this thought rooted in fear? Difficulty in creating boundaries?
Here is an example, you have been working long hours to complete a project with many sacrifices along the way but worth the commitment and it adds to your professional value. A request comes in to stay late to refine the final details but your “date night” restaurant reservation will be compromised. What do you think? “I should stay to help with this.”, “My spouse can wait and reschedule.”, “What will they think of me if I say ‘no’?”, “They can’t do this without me.” Many scenarios converge at once and typically we stay, the slow decline in self-regard.
What is the cost of denying our needs?
The characteristic of the “pleaser” as Shirzad mentions in Positive Intelligence, is, if gone unchecked, behavior and approach to thinking that sabotages our innate strength and devalues our potential. As you lean into this behavior you inevitably will feel resentful, guilty, and a sense of obligation. In other words, your actions are not in alignment with your core belief and desires.
If gone unchecked you will become burned out, others will become dependent upon your goodwill, and you will not allow others to grow independently.
"Self-regard,” asks that you require yourself and others to recognize that you are worthy of the truth and the honesty that comes with it. The commitment to yourself first, to putting on your own oxygen before helping another.
“A leader who is centered has balanced self-regard and will accept himself or herself unconditionally, rather than feeling compelled to behave in a certain way in order to please others.” Emotionally-i-Fit
My Challenge To You:
Being mindful of your actions and reactions is key. Before committing, ask yourself: “Why am I doing this?” “What am I saying no to?”, “What if I chose not to engage?”.
Does your current life and circumstances reflect decisions that support self-regard?