Ways To Build Self Respect For Mental Health Illness Survivors

Last Update on January 27, 2022 : Published on January 28, 2022
Ways to build self respect

Living with a Mental illness can be challenging. It shatters your confidence and self-esteem. In fact, your sense of self is also lost sometimes. Self-respect is one thing that suffers the brunt of it all. Developing self-respect back is very, very important for every survivor.

You have gone through so much stress and faced a lot of failure during your mental illness. Losing respect for yourself is quite common in substance abuse, addiction, trauma, physical/mental abuse, etc. cases. Most people who have no self-respect for themselves reason that they are not able to forgive themselves for the kind of past they lived.

If you are struggling with a similar issue, this article is just for you!

I may not understand your pain but I do want to try and help you in recovering from your past experiences and help you build self-respect back in your life.

To do so, I have compiled a list of ways as to how you can build self-respect all by yourself.

10 Ways You Can Build Self Respect Back In Your Life

1. Look for respect-worthy things within yourself

Self-respect is all about respecting yourself no matter what. The first step towards this will be to look for things within you that you are proud of, which make you happy. It can be anything from being a kind soul to being a good orator. Respect yourself for all the things you are proud of.

2. Be honest to yourself

Honestly, it is really important here. You have been through a mental illness and you know how much value honesty holds. This time be honest to yourself about who you are and who you are not. You will never be able to respect a ‘lying self’. Respect yourself honestly for your honesty!

3. Take action

Depending on others to decide for you will not do you any good. Do you want to build your self-respect back? Take your own decisions as well as be ready to face consequences. Trust me you’ll be proud of yourself for taking the reins of your life in your own hands.

4. Re-define being normal

Who sets the boundaries of what is normal and what is not? You are the master of your life and it’s time you redefine what’s normal for you! Do not try to fit into the ‘normal’ which your society has defined.

5. Set some boundaries, but do it yourself

Building your self-respect back is not going to be a cakewalk. You will need to make some harsh decisions. The good part here is that taking a harsh decision will also boost your self-respect. Set some boundaries so that people know where to draw a line.

6. Say ‘NO’

‘NO’ is a strong word! The art of being able to say NO is going to take some time. But, trust me, once you start saying No to things/people that/who are not good for you, you will feel empowered. This feeling will automatically boost your self-respect.

7. Be around people who respect you

Having positive people around you who know how important getting that self-respect back in your life is going to be very helpful. Make sure you spend time with people who respect you because when you see yourself getting respected you will eventually start respecting yourself.

8. Be content with whatever you do

Your mental illness may have altered the pace at which you used to function. It’s important you understand that you are healing and it’s okay to not be the best at everything you do. Cut yourself some slack and be content in whatever you are able to do. Take one day at a time, baby steps.

9. Self-care is also a part of self-respect

Your body is your temple, taking good care of it is equal to respecting yourself. Make sure you eat and sleep well. Invest some time in your hobbies, get some ME time whenever need be!

10. Don’t disrespect yourself while apologizing

There will be often times when you will make mistakes. Owning up to your mistakes and apologizing for them is the right thing to do. But, everyone makes mistakes, it’s human to do so, you don’t need to be disrespectful towards yourself for making mistakes. Apologize with self-respect.

11. Forgive yourself

You might have been someone who lost respect in the past. But that’s not you now, forgive yourself for all the deeds you’ve done in the past. Self-forgiveness paves the path to self-respect.


Learning to respect yourself may seem difficult but once you start working towards building your self-respect, each day will blossom more than a daffodil. Having self-respect is important for us, we may lose it during our journey but getting it back is always in your hands.

Do what’s right for you. Respect yourself!

I hope this article helps you in building your self-respect back.

Forgive yourself to love and respect yourself!

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe!

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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