Show Yourself Respect: How to Communicate with Confidence

September 22, 2017 Emily Roberts MA, LPC

It can be hard to respect yourself if you are insecure or afraid. These assertiveness tools will help you build self-respect and confidence.

If you don't show yourself respect, neither will other people. How are you supposed to feel confident, assertive and develop self-esteem if you don't show yourself some respect? Others may take advantage of you, people can be intimidating or situations you encounter may be so overwhelming it makes it hard to respect yourself. I've got three simple tools that can help you feel more confident communicating with others so you can show yourself respect.

As a recovering people pleaser, I get it: it's scary to speak up and set some boundaries. You might ask yourself, "What if someone gets mad at me? What if they don't like me anymore?"

I used to let these thoughts interfere with my life and they weren't true. These limiting beliefs and insecure thoughts may be holding you back, too. We fear that others will leave us or get mad at us; the truth is people who don't stick around when you start to respect yourself are the people that no longer deserve your time or attention.

Show Yourself Respect and Others Will Too

In my years of research on confidence and communication, I have found that people respect you more when you are assertive, set boundaries and prioritize your self-care. They realize that your time is valuable and you are important when you show them it is. You have to teach people how to treat you and when you express yourself with confidence they will begin to change, too.

What about the people who get mad when you don't give in? Sadly, some people will be disrespectful to you, but in my experience, those were the people who weren't healthy for me in the first place. You may have some people like this in your life too, they may invalidate you and make you feel unworthy, they are also the ones that likely reinforced your insecurity around speaking up for yourself in the first place. Distance yourself from these people.

How to Show Yourself Respect When Communicating with Difficult People

Whether you are texting or talking in person, dealing with a stranger or a family member, these steps will help you communicate with confidence. You'll be less anxious before and after your conversation while asking for what you want and need clearly and effectively. Below are the steps to follow in almost any situation before you say a word. You'll feel more confident in what you have to say and how you say it.

Communicate with Confidence Before You Say Anything

  1. Identify your emotions. What are you feeling? The moment you name your emotion, the frontal cortex of your brain, the area where problem-solving takes place, begins to turn on. When we avoid or push away our emotions we get stuck in the emotional center of the brain, leading to more intense feelings and lack of control. Try it; say out loud what you are feeling, and allow your mind to do what is natural. When you’re clear about what you’re feeling, you’ll speak with more confidence and how yourself respect.
    2. Validate your emotions. Say your boss embarrassed you in a meeting at work and you want to storm into his office or fire off an email to let him know he's a jerk and he can't talk to you like that again. Go back to what your emotions are telling you: "I'm mad and embarrassed" but you also still need a job. So does that mean you just push it away? Not at all, it means you validate why the emotion is occurring in the first place -- your boss was mean to you. Now, ask yourself what do you want to change, how do you want to feel instead? Take a minute to honor your emotions and identify what you want to feel so that you can get clear on what you want to focus on when you communicate.
    3. Set your goal. Do you want your boss to respect you more in the office, say sorry or do you want to find out what's going on and why he is treating you like this? You've got to have a goal before you say or type a word so that you feel more confident when you are communicating. You may not know exactly what to say or how to say it, but if you get clear on the desired outcome, your brain will focus on this, making you less distracted by others reactions or comments. The goal could be to feel heard, maintain or build a more positive relationship, get what you want or need from someone or ask for help.

So show yourself respect more often this week. When you feel an emotion come up, honor it and see why it's hanging around. The more you tune in and realize your needs, the more confident and in control you will become.

APA Reference
Roberts, E. (2017, September 22). Show Yourself Respect: How to Communicate with Confidence, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

November, 18 2017 at 10:08 am

Very helpful as a guide to get where to go as a recovering people pleaser -I heave only one person and he has hurt me publicly in the past and I keep trying like a dummy it now I know how to face him and END the game!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 3 2018 at 8:06 am

Hi Elliot so happy to hear. I look forward to hearing how it went.
Take Good Care,

Lizanne Corbit
September, 25 2017 at 11:48 am

Everyone can benefit from this read! People pleasing is more common than we may realize and for those that are living in it day-to-day this is a must read. Here is the golden point: "the truth is people who don’t stick around when you start to respect yourself are the people that no longer deserve your time or attention." This is so important to hear and understand because those thoughts/fears of people getting upset, walking away etc. can be so isolating and are what keep us in our patterns of pleasing. I love your suggestions on recognizing your emotions and validating them along with setting a goal. Great tips.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 3 2018 at 8:07 am

Thank you Lizanne!!! I shared this with my clients too and I appreciate your thoughts.
Take Good Care,
Emily Roberts

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