“If one doesn’t respect oneself one can have neither love nor respect for others.” – Ayn Rand
We think about ourselves all the time, whether the thoughts are positive or negative. And let’s face it; we care for our bodies though we may claim to hate them. We force ourselves to work out. Some withhold food from their bellies in order to lose weight fast. Others gorge and purge. And even some scrape knives down both arms in punishment for bad choices. We do a lot of things to our bodies, some beneficial some not so beneficial. We chase after guys who clearly have no interest. We flaunt and flirt just to catch their eyes. We do atrocious things when there is a lack of self-respect. How is this behavior helping us? How do we live with such compromises?
“If I just show some skin, I’ll get his attention.” Sure. We’ll get plenty of interest, just like a piece of meat held above a pack of hungry wolves. If any of them get close enough, that bite may be an injurious one. If we have to compromise our modesty in order to get some guy’s attention, desperation glistens on the skin we’re showing. If we do not respect our own bodies how can we expect others to?
I spent the majority of my teen years looking for, if not demanding respect from guys. However, I wouldn’t show respect until a guy earned it. Is that fair? Not in the least. It took a lot of Scripture and a lot of God softening my heart before I concluded guys do not need to earn my respect. I need to respect them because of who God created them to be. Some guys may be living outside of God’s intended purpose. They deserve respectful disassociation. We must respect ourselves enough to stay away from those guys.
We can look at our routine behavior toward our brothers, fathers, and guy friends. Do we ever make comments-even witty and humorous remarks-directly attacking their roles, their intelligence, jobs, or lifestyles? It is especially important to realize, guys were created by God to be leaders. Men were created to protect, provide, and honor. We want to be a part of God’s perfect plan of uplifting others. Disrespect poisons relationships. We must change the way we speak, treat, and interact with men. It is a gradual change. When God reveals something this significant to us, we must be willing and open to change. But it doesn’t just happen overnight, in most cases. Often, we try to change, but fall short. We make a mistake, cringe because we should know better, and then try to make right the situation. The training continues and we notice every word that comes out disrespectfully from our lips. We reevaluate and try to do better next time. As this whole process takes place, we retrain ourselves to use our words differently and be more cautious. As we grow and as we understand patterns in our lives, we are more prepared for future situations that may be similar.
It’s a tragedy when women demean their husbands, boyfriends, brothers or fathers. That behavior fosters insecurity and anger in our male companions. When we belittle them or make them feel stupid, especially in front of people, we are slicing into their very core. It hits the very place they are most insecure about: their adequacy in leadership.
If we learn to respect all guys, we will have a much better perspective on relationships. They deserve our respect from start to finish. If we treat every guy like the valuable brothers they are, we will benefit their lives, not hinder them. When a dating relationship proves unworthy of marriage, the goal is always to leave the other person better than when we first met them. Their values have been strengthened and personhood uplifted. Relationships are exciting, especially when we have proper focus in them. When we realize our purpose is to build up and make men stronger for the future, all of our relationships will have a selfless flare to them. We will respect guys for the men they are becoming. We will respect their future wives by not leaving a scar on their hearts. And we will respect ourselves enough to keep our hearts protected in the hands of God.