Oct 3, 2022

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What is Self-Respect? (And Why It’s Important for Business)


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Being disrespected when we think we’ve done the right thing can really hold us back from trying again in the future. If you’ve ever felt taken advantage of, or are struggling with your own self-respect, this episode is for you. 

Keep reading and you’ll walk away knowing how to:

  • Trust your gut

  • Do what’s best for you

  • Embrace life, even when it doesn’t go according to plan

You’ll be excited to implement boundaries in your life and business that show yourself self-respect.

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How to Build Self-Respect

This past week in my therapist’s office I had a bit of an “aha” and a reawakening moment. And I’ve realized that recently, I’ve gotten away from the way I normally overshare here and started focusing on business stuff. 

You might not know, but before The Anxious Creative, my podcast was actually originally named “Overshare in the Salon Chair” and I would sit down with my clients and we’d… well… overshare!

I genuinely had a blast with it and somewhere along the way I got really inside of my head and started overcomplicating it. 

A little ironic if you think about the fact that I teach and share about this, while also struggling with it on my own. 

So I’m excited to take a dive back into oversharing and tell you a personal story about self-respect. If I’m being totally transparent, it makes me feel a little raw and vulnerable (but that’s what I’m all about). 

Reflecting on this story made me look at life and business a little differently, as well as how I operate in the world. I’m hopeful it’ll do the same for you. 

A Little Crush

Okay, we’re going back 18 years to 2004. I was 21 and was working at a salon when I started dating this guy who truly swept me off my feet. 

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t have much experience with dating. In fact, I was quite sheltered and didn’t have much experience of anything in life. 

Add on the fact that I had a lot of anxiety when it came to being close to people and you can probably guess that my dating life was limited. 

So there was this client of mine; I had cut his hair a few times and we seemed to get along pretty well. He seemed nice and I maybe had a bit of a crush on him. 

He had gone away on a trip and when he came back he booked in for a haircut. I was becoming more interested in traveling myself and I told him that I wanted to see his pictures from his trip. 

This was before cellphones and social media and so we traded numbers and eventually set up a plan to meet. 

I remember seeing this picnic laid out and immediately thinking “oh this is a date” and I got nervous that he was going to kiss me. He didn’t. 

But he did keep calling and asking to hang out. Not too long after, we had our first official date. Going out to the late showing of a movie and staying up until 2 am. 

The next day, at 9 am, I showed up at work and there were flowers on my station. I was so wowed that he had taken the time to make me feel special. 

There was another time that he was leaving for the weekend and he dropped off cookies he had made at the salon. I had never had someone treat me so well before. 

Standing My Ground

If that relationship was sounding like a fairy tale, the sad turn of events is that we only ended up dating for a couple of months. 

I can still remember the night that we broke up. I had gone over to his place and we were making out and then I stopped things.

I remember being really proud of myself for stopping things from going further than I was comfortable with. His response was a cool “I’ve done more with other girls”. 

I stood up and left. I was so proud of myself for sticking to my boundaries and respecting myself. 

Wanna know the kicker? I thought he would run after me. I thought if I did the right thing, stood up for myself, and showed self-respect then other people will respect me back. 

But he never came running. He never begged for my forgiveness. And he never apologized for crossing a line. 

And as I was reflecting on this the other day, I realized that I’ve really struggled with my self-respect. I don’t know if it happened before or after that moment. But I look back on that situation with a lot of pride on how I handled it at the time. 

I stuck true to the values I had at the time and what I was comfortable with. I didn’t allow myself to get pressured into something I didn’t want to do. I stood my ground. 

Expecting Respect in Business

But in the end, I didn’t get what I wanted. Which was his respect. 

And I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes the only perfect we can expect to get respect from is ourselves. We can’t expect to get respect from other people. 

Sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t get you the results that you want. 

And while this is a personal story from my past, I think it’s important to reflect on it because it relates to our businesses as well. 

We want to be respected. We want our clients to stop taking advantage of us. But sometimes we don’t respect ourselves enough to ask for it. 

On the flip side, sometimes we do respect ourselves enough to have good boundaries, and then we’re offended when our clients don’t oblige. 

When we put new policies, boundaries, schedules, etc into place, we start off being really proud of the way we’re respecting ourselves and our businesses. We feel like we’re moving forward in the right way. 

Then when our clients don’t enthusiastically come along on the journey with us, we’re a little taken aback. Because they’re supposed to chase after you, right? Run after you, apologize and say “I’m sorry, you’re right”. But that’s not always the case. 

Reflecting on Self-Respect

Looking back at myself at 21, I’m still really proud of myself for doing what I needed to do and what was right for me. Instead of being pressured, I did what I felt was right. Even if it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.

One thing that really messed up my view of romance with the whole experience was feeling like I was only treated kindly to get something. 

I think this also relates to business because how often have you found yourself wondering if that client was only nice to you because they wanted to get something from you? 

And the moment they no longer get the special expectations, when you stop bending over backward it’s gone and you start to feel used and mistreated. 

It would make me question my value. And it’s taken a lot of years and time and reflection to realize that I’m still worthy of love and respect. 

One thing that’s really true for me is that I have to be authentically myself. That’s really important to me. And I’ve never regretted looking back. 

Even though times have been hard, and uncomfortable, and I haven’t always gotten the results I’ve wanted when I look back, I can see just how far I’ve come. And that’s always helped me move forward. 

So I wanted to make this episode to tell you that life’s not always going to go the way you want it to. Which sucks. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make everything go the way you want it to. 

But I do know that when you trust your gut and do what’s best for you, regardless of the response or reaction you get, you’ll look back on your life and be so proud of yourself for standing up for yourself and what you needed. Not what anyone else needed or what anyone else told you. 

I hope this post hit home for you. I know it was a huge aha moment for me. Realizing that even when you do the right thing, you won’t always get the results that you want. But you can still look back and be proud of how you respected yourself in the moment. 

If you enjoyed this episode, I’d love to hear from you. Why don’t you shoot me a DM over on Instagram @dawnbradleyhair and let me know how you’re working on self-respecting yourself? 

Until next time, friend. 

Let’s be besties?

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I am just a small-town, Canadian gal from the prairies who teaches thousands of creatives around the globe how to earn 6-figures stress-free!

Hey, I’m Dawn!

“Rock Your Business” Course Creator, Host of “The Anxious Creative” Podcast. Named by Salon Magazine as Canada’s #1 women of influence.

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