Putting up with disrespectful treatment because I did not want to appear “too demanding” or “too needy” is the ultimate disrespect for myself. When I failed to show up for myself – when I got sick and Rael was not there for me, when my father died and Rael was not there for me, and when my brother died and Rael was not there for me – not only did I give him the clear message that it was okay to treat me that way, but I also reinforced my belief that I did not need respect nor was I worthy of it. Although Rael lacked the wherewithal to give me what I needed, I owed it to myself to recognize the need and respond appropriately.
I am at fault for not speaking up for myself. This goes hand in hand with self-care. It is another form of self-nurturing. Slinking off in the corner to pout only makes the situation worse. I end up feeling sorry for myself and everyone else is clueless since I have not said anything. I must be brave enough to speak my truth, listen to the words that come out of my own mouth, and take appropriate action – no matter what that involves, which in this case would have meant calling it quits. I give myself permission to speak, knowing that what comes out is not always as
articulate or clear as I would like, but if it comes from my heart, it will be the truth and that is the only requirement.
I should take my own needs seriously. It is too easy to discount my needs as unimportant, insignificant, or not pressing. By doing that, I disrespect myself. The lowest times of life are the hardest times to see our own needs, but they are the most crucial for learning to practice self-care. Of course, all of this stems from growing up in a household where emotional needs went unrecognized. Taking care of me is my responsibility, and it is not fair to expect others to do it for me. If I show the people around me how to practice self-care, they may try it on themselves,and hopefully they will treat me with the same compassion I have offered myself. If I don’t take my needs seriously, who else will? Others may offer sympathy and compassion, but in the end, I am the one who has to live with me, and if I am not there for myself, I have lost everything.
Self-esteem is the ability to value one’s self and to treat oneself with dignity, love, and reality. ~Virginia Satir