At the start of the New Year, I was falling asleep when a strange thought pop into my head: I don’t respect myself. This surprised me because I love who I am, but I sensed there was some truth in it. Since I was tired, I wrote it down in my journal so I wouldn’t forget it. The next morning, I sat myself down and contemplated on the truth in that phrase. It still surprised me since I love who I am, where I’m from, what I look like and what I’m interested in. Then I realized there was a difference between loving myself and respecting myself.

I don’t respect myself because I don’t believe I’m smart. I’m also impulsive, incredibly naive about pop culture and life in general, and yet I think of myself more highly than I should. I also have a hard time respecting myself as a woman because I still see myself as a girl, a kid who has yet to understand the gravity of life. I’d rather play than work and because I live in a culture that values a hard work ethic, it’s easy to see why respect is hard for me in that area. But if I have a hard time respecting myself the people around me will sense that and can’t respect me. The irony of all this is I try so hard to show respect to my friends, classmates, professors and family. I want people to know that they are worth something, they are important and are worthy of respect. Yes, it is easier to respect others because I know my faults better than I know theirs. I live with my faults in my face everyday. How can I look past them and see that I am worthy of respect too?

After I realized this, I didn’t know what to do. All I knew what I needed to change my way of thinking. So I wrote down a list of reasons why I should respect myself. It wasn’t easy, and I still have a hard time believing all of them, but it’s a start. I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I am beautiful; I am God’s child; I am smart; I am funny; I am creative. That is my list. But I couldn’t stop there. I needed to find ways to change my way of thinking.

I am a very sarcastic person by nature, though not everyone realizes it at first because I am more on the quite side. The person I use my sarcasm against the most is myself. Whenever I forget something, don’t understand the situation or mess up big time I brush it off by making a sarcastic comment about myself, mostly along the lines of, “Nice one, Anna,” or “Way to go.” If I’m mad at myself, I don’t hesitate to call myself ‘stupid,’ ‘dumb’ or ‘idiot.’ The more I say them, the more I believe them. So, I decided to stop calling myself names no matter how upset I am with myself. I’ve been trying to do this for the past two months, and it’s not easy. Sometimes I forget that I promised myself to stop and then other times I remember right after I called myself a name, which of course makes me more frustrated with myself and often leads to more name calling. But it all comes down to a choice. Will I choose to stop beating myself up every day, or will I continue to do so? As hard as the path will be, I choose to respect who I am-faults and all-because I am worth it.