Using Confidence to Demand the Respect You Deserve

I’m passionate about a number of things, but the one that gets me on my soapbox the quickest and loudest is seeing women settling for less than total respect. There are many reasons we allow ourselves to be undervalued, but too often we’ve simply bought into the idea that somehow anyone who pays us attention is doing us a favor.

Having chosen to take the plunge back into the world of single living, I waded into the murky and sometimes shark filled waters of online matchmaking. While admittedly meeting some wonderful human beings I also got an eye-opening look into the depths we will sometimes go to assuage our loneliness and make a personal connection. I’ve taken this opportunity to poll both men and women whenever possible regarding their experiences. What I’ve learned is all at once saddening, frightening, surprising and insightful. Many of us have become so starved for affection and acceptance if not actual love (and maybe we can’t tell the difference) that we’ll say or do anything to attract someone in the hopes they’ll overlook whatever deception we might have used.

I was told of one woman who used her daughter’s picture for her profile with the justification that “I’m told I look like her.” I observed the profile of another woman, beautiful in her own right whose introduction read “My husband left me for another woman so I need as much attention as I can to get my self-esteem back.” While I don’t know the real reason her husband left, I do know the approach she was now taking was not going to yield her the results she was ultimately looking for.

Additionally, I came to realize how disposable human beings have become in that environment, a fact that only increases our feelings of unworthiness and poor self-esteem. As I’ve aged the attention I get has far less to do with my physical appearance than it does the confidence I’ve developed. The irony is that with growing confidence I get more accolades and compliments and yet I need them less. Whether true or not, I structure my thoughts around the idea that he (the potential suitor) needs me more than I need him. That makes it very easy to pass on anyone who attempts to make demands, demean or disparage me or in some other way put his needs above mine.

As an example I met someone about a year ago with which the agreement from the outset was hook-up only. I liked him well enough and it was an arrangement that suited us both. That is until it became apparent that needs only got fulfilled on his schedule despite the fact that he’d complained more than once how difficult it was to get laid. I politely let him know both that as a man the competition was tough and that if you have a sure thing as he did in me it was in your best interest to take care of her. When he didn’t take my not so subtle hint I simply deleted his name from my contacts and put his number on my block list. When I began creating profiles on other apps as part of my research for this site, I came across his profile a couple more times. Eventually in a moment combining both weakness and curiosity I agreed to see him again. But once again his texts were always about what he needed. At first I just ignored them, but finally I sent a response saying “you just don’t learn, it was never about your needs with me” and he went permanently onto the do not call list.

Here is the way I see it. You are as busy as the next person. And unless your experience is way different than mine you probably know that no matter what any man might promise, the odds of you getting the earth shattering hallelujah experience he’s selling are very low. Therefore in my opinion it’s far preferable to hold out for the one who treats me with respect first and then blows my mind behind closed doors.

The self-respect and strength to put yourself first in all areas can be a lengthy and difficult process. However, it is also one of the most rewarding challenges as it will release you from being caught up in the opinions of others and thereby tortured by any subsequent actions on their part. Even having it doesn’t make life foolproof or recovery immediate every time. In my life there are still occasions where I am stung or bruised temporarily, but the healing process is lightening quick and I always come back solid in my self-image.

For a glimpse at some of the steps in the self-acceptance process see this free download. For additional dating resources Click here.

If this post was helpful to you or you have thoughts on the subject I’d love to have your comments below.

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