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Self Respect

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Self Respect is a legacy of acceptance laced with humble appreciation and fueled by contribution. Having a healthy sense of Self Respect empowers us to put our middle finger up to conventional wisdom and so is an essential element to creating and living the life of our dreams.

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Society wide, respect is a social virtue. We are taught to “respect our parents”, “respect our elders”, and “respect authority”. To respect is to pay homage to people, institutions or situations / circumstances that, through their own achievements, successes and / or experiences, deserve to be considered in high regard. As an extension, Self Respect is a virtue also, gained through positively contributing to society and being an active member of our communities, but for us to actually feel Self Respect, these contributions need to be coupled with acceptance and appreciation.
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We accept ourselves by acknowledging who and what we are : just one of 6.8 billion human beings populating this planet – all with individual needs, complicated by emotions, powered by intellectual capabilities and prone to making mistakes as a means to improve, develop and grow wiser.

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When we acknowledge the reality and truth of this and accept ourselves and others for not being perfect, we lesson the burden on ourselves and our awareness expands as we contemplate beyond the four corners of the room around us, to the greater and more profound perspective of thinking about our place, as human beings, in this world.

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When we turn our thoughts towards the ‘bigger picture’ it is difficult not to be humbled and appreciate the sheer complexity and enormity of the universe we live in and we pay homage to ourselves by recognizing and appreciating our place within it all, and when coupled with our positive contributions to this world, we naturally develop a strong and genuine sense of Self Respect, a Self Respect that is not dependent on anyone or anything else.

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While Self Respect is synonymous with Self Esteem, they are actually two very different things, yet are often confused and the meanings exchanged. Self Esteem is a traditionally more self absorbed and egotistical consideration that reflects our exaggerated and often unfounded perception of our own self worth which is then echoed in our behavior e. g. someone with ‘high self esteem’ would think “I am the best” and would behave arrogantly as if he is superior to everyone else, while someone with ‘low self esteem’ would think “I am the worst” and behave with trepidation and timidness, whereas when we have a high level of Self Respect, it is earned through our positive contributions coupled with our accepting and appreciative mindset.

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From this strong and genuine sense of Self Respect a healthy measure of Self Esteem is gained because, despite whatever shortcomings and failures, or talents and successes we may have, we come to understand that ultimately we are all equal. Equal in the sense that we are all human beings, experiencing life and all dealing with our own unique challenges and journey’s while alive.

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If you have little Self Respect (you do not accept yourself as an inherently flawed human being and do not appreciate your connection to this world) you will easily torture yourself for making mistakes, saying the wrong things, or making the wrong choices, and may ultimately stop living a rewarding and satisfying life out of fear of failure, or you may agonize over trying to be someone you are not...

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...and if you are someone who does accept your mistake prone inheritance and appreciates your connection to this world, but does not contribute positively to society, you will be missing a vital factor and so will not be able to enjoy the satisfaction and contentment associated with earned Self Respect.

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When we have a strong and genuine sense of Self Respect we feel empowered to define and live by our own values. Because we accept ourselves, appreciate our connection and place in this world and are conscious to act with good deeds we do not search for approval and permission externally and we do not look to other peoples opinions and perceptions of us as a measure of our own self worth. Instead we give ourselves approval and permission to act in accordance to what we believe is right and what should be done and under the wings of this empowerment, we feel satisfied and content with ourselves and abilities.
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Having a strong and genuine sense of Self Respect is especially pertinent to creating your own concept of the Ultimate Lifestyle because by the very nature of creating and living a life which is not in strict keeping with conventional living means you will face objections, criticism and general misunderstandings about your intentions, so a healthy dose of Self Respect will arm you with the confidence and belief in your decisions as you go about creating and living your life aligned to your own values and passions.

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Self Respect can be developed in several ways :

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1. Positive Contributions Positively contribute to your community. This involves helping others whenever and wherever possible and also positively contributing by being kind, compassionate and generous – to yourself as well. Be selfless and expect nothing in return. Help an elderly person with their grocery bags, hold the door open for a stranger, volunteer for non-profit organizations, recognize opportunities to assist and offer your services.

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Proactively focusing on your own personal self growth is also a positive contribution to society – personal development leads to greater self awareness which ultimately helps you connect and help with other people and when we focus on helping other people, our personal problems melt away in comparison to the collective needs of our world and it feels good to know we are making a positive difference.

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2. Develop Acceptance – Forgive your Mistakes and Move On Acceptance was acknowledging that we are inherently flawed human beings, so next time you make a mistake – recognize the mistake, make amends where necessary then forgive yourself and move on. There is no point hanging onto past mistakes and dwelling on past momentary lapses of judgment – we make those mistakes to learn from them and to grow wiser.

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3. Be Grateful As the old Chinese proverb states “every cloud has a silver lining”, and it is true. For every negative event, there is a positive lesson to be learned, however harsh the lesson is. Identify the positive elements to every conceivably negative situation and be grateful for it. Be conscious of and focus on all that you have to be grateful for in your life including yourself – warts and all.

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4. Appreciate your Connection to Nature When you recognize and acknowledge your connection to nature, everything comes into perspective. Us, the world, our place in the world and our greater place within the universe. When we live with the ‘bigger picture’ in our minds what once seemed like an insurmountable problem, becomes nothing more than an inconvenient triviality and our lives just become easier – less stressful and more in harmony with life and living.

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5. Be True to Yourself It is too easy to conform to the wishes and whims of societies limitations and expectations, but when you instead honor yourself and act in accordance to what your personal values are, you are living a life true to yourself. Anything from what food we eat to what we buy and where we shop, to who we spend time with and what we focus our energies on can be aligned to our true values. Use this as an opportunity to explore, understand and gain greater clarity about what your personal values are and purposefully create your lifestyle around those values.

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Ultimate Lifestyle Project is a contemporary philosophy for creating and living modern lifestyles that reflect our modern world. Inspiration | Personal Development | Lifestyle 2.0

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Letting go and moving on can be a painful experience, but not letting go and moving on is just as equally as painful and a potentially more torturous experience. We may feel torn between these two paths but ultimately we only find peace when we choose to let go and move on.

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Life is a curious event. It is like enormous, interactive, abstract art piece in which us, the users, participate and engage with and are supposed to observe and form our own conclusions and understanding of. Life does not come with a standard introductory note and neither does it have a user manual.

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The entire phenomenon of life and living is so obscure that its brilliant. Brilliant in the sense that through its obscurity and the demand for user participation, we are forced to experience and ideally learn the lessons bestowed by life.

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From this perspective that life itself is both a work of art and a teacher, we become the artists and students of our own, personal lives and lifestyles, so through our own experiences of being the artist and creating the life of our dreams, we are also simultaneously the student and learning life’s lessons that have been tailored personally for each of us.

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Human beings are inherently creative. We are all essentially artists and as with all artists, tools are needed to help us create our visions. A painters tools are his paint, paintbrushes and paper, and a musicians tools are his guitars, drums and pianos. One of the greatest tools we will ever need for creating our personal masterpiece, our Ultimate Lifestyle, is learning the art of letting go and moving on.

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When we learn to let go and move on, we are stepping into our faith. Not religious faith, but faith that there are better days ahead, more opportunities to come and more adventures to be had. Faith that as one door closes, others open for us, and as one chapter ends, another begins. Faith that everything happens for a reason even if those reasons are not immediately evident. Letting go is trusting this process and allowing it to eventuate by focusing on today and continuing to dream and working towards our future.
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The first step in letting go is acknowledging that the time has come, but this is sometimes the hardest part of letting go because we really do not want to acknowledge it. We feel the guidance to move on, but our emotions and feelings are so heavily invested that our minds struggle with the thought and we only feel torn, confused, anxious and sick. This is why it takes courage to have faith, courage to move past our fears and courage to take a metaphorical leap of faith.

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Good times come and pass, just as bad times come and pass also, but while we want to forget and move on from the bad times, the good times we hang onto because we never want those times to end. We try to artificially preserve the good times even after they have gone stale and putrid and this causes friction and conflict in our lives. Life is moving but we stop moving with it. We are clinging onto what has been and potentially living in fear that nothing more will come.

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Often, the clearest indication that it is time to let go, is when we experience suffering, when things that were once so easy and natural, no longer have that feel to them. However, occasionally suffering is not a clue to move on, but an opportunity for us to practice compassion and forgiveness and to grow wiser and stronger through the experience. So learning when to let go and move on and when to stay still and grow is part of life’s lessons too.

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Everyone’s life is absolutely unique to them and so all of our experiences and perceptions will be different. For this reason, there is never a black and white answer for life’s dilemmas and no one else can tell you when the time is right for letting go and moving on, only you can know when the time has come.

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Just as we can not learn how to be happy by reading an article, or learn how to make love by reading a magazine column, we can not learn how to let go and move on just by reading the words on this page. We can be guided and directed but it is something that we have to learn from our own experiences and through our own trials and errors. Remember, only through our own experiences does true wisdom develop.

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As we master the art of letting go and moving on, we master the tools for our own lives. We become a virtuoso at dealing with whatever life throws our way. We learn to appreciate the good times, and how to bid farewell with love when the good times have passed, knowing that life heals a broken heart and more experiences and opportunities are to come; and we take the lessons and just deal with the hard times knowing that better days are ahead. We transition and evolve through life as we are meant to.
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Ultimately life is a journey, to be experienced and enjoyed. Sometimes we need to let go of our own fears and insecurities to live the life of our dreams, sometimes letting go of painful experiences, disappointments and heartaches is needed to open us up to new experiences and opportunities, one day we will all need to let go of our youth and embrace aging, and sometimes we might have to let go of something that we dreamed of sharing with someone just because they let go first.

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