We hear that a lot, don't we? Respect yourself.
I don't know about you, but I find that difficult. I look at all the talents and gifts I have been given, and then I look at what I've done with them. I tell you, it's difficult not to just crawl away and hide under a rock sometimes.
I think it was Groucho Marx who said, "I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member." I know how he feels.
I've been given so much, and I have used it so little.
I haven't worked for a year, and even when I am well enough to run my business it makes very little money. Prolonged ill health has meant my poor husband has had to do the job of both mother and father this past year. It is he who does all the taxi work, he does most of the cleaning, he organises the children and attends school meetings. He juggles the finances so we don't actually starve. My novel writing is going much more slowly than I had hoped and there are many other talents I am just not actively pursuing at all.
So I find it difficult to respect myself. In fact, I am ashamed.
And yes – I know that is not the view held by most of my friends (and I hold you Moodscopers as my friends).
The problem with holding someone's hand all night so they don't jump off the roof (literally or metaphorically) is that you cannot measure that in the same way you can money. Making people smile is not hard currency. It's valuable; immensely valuable, but it can't be tabulated into a neat statement of profit and loss. Writing for you every week is a good thing and I suppose I feel moderately proud of that, but then again, you make it so easy...
So no – I don't respect myself.
But having self-respect now, that's something different. Having self-respect means holding myself accountable to certain standards. It means choosing to tell the truth, even if that truth paints me in a bad light. It means making every effort to get up, shower and dress each morning, even when everything in me wants so badly to just stay in bed. It means facing unpleasant facts and taking appropriate action, even if action is the last thing I want to take.
Self-respect means turning up in your inbox every Wednesday morning. It means honouring my commitments to my friends, attending appointments on time, cooking meals for my family.
It means doing what I can when I can.
And accepting that I can't possibly do everything I could possibly do.
If I can't respect myself, at least I can be kind to myself.
And respect myself for that, at least.
A Moodscope member.
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