Whether you believe in love at first sight or taking a closer look; whether you’re in a long term relationship or something that is days old, there has to be respect involved. Yes, it is true that being in a relationship calls for mutual respect and understanding, but at the core of it all, you must first of all have respect for yourself. I have heard horror tales of people letting their partners step all over them because they are afraid of ending up alone. Hello friend, Wake up! There is a whole world of people out there and if you think that the person who is pushing you around is your best option, then maybe you really deserve such a person. It all boils down to looking at yourself and evaluating yourself-worth. There is nothing more important than feeling good about yourself and whether you have someone in your life or not, you need to prioritize that. Remember that only when you respect yourself will another person respect you. It may not be easy. It is probably going to be very difficult breaking that bad habit of not respecting yourself in a relationship, but trust me; your hard work will pay off.
- Let your voice be heard: Ladies do not let your man dictate the terms of your relationship. You are not an animal to be strung along. Sure, relationships are all about compromise, but be sure that there is a balance and that it is not just you doing all the compromising.
- Be independent. Respect yourself enough to make your own money and decisions. Set personal goals, have your own circle of friends and take the liberty to be independent. You will find that the more independent you are, the more power you will have in the relationship.
- Make time for your hobbies: A problem that most women face when they enter into a relationship is that they do not have enough time to do things for themselves. Whether it is sitting at a café alone, or spending the afternoon getting your nails and eyebrows done, do not neglect the things you enjoy doing just because you have a man to ‘look after.’
- Set down rules: Another way to have respect in a relationship is to set down some ground rules. Of course, there is no need to set anything in stone, but be sure that both parties are aware of the dos and don’ts. For example, be clear about the consequences of infidelity and highlight how important it is to practice mutual respect for one another. Let him have his say and be sure to have yours.
- Look good: Take pride in looking good not just for your spouse but for yourself. Exercise, eat right and do not neglect hygiene. No harm ever came to anyone who overindulged in exercises.
- Accept who you are: No matter what, do not let your spouse try to change you, unless of course, it is to become a better person. If you truly believe in something, do not let love sway you. If you love doing something, do not let him or her change you or your opinion.
- Stop comparing your relationship: I know someone who was dumped soon after she made the move to Lagos to be with a man she only knew for 5 months. Her Face-book updates were all rainbows and butterflies, but I knew she was dying inside. The thing is, she displayed an exciting happy image of herself and her relationship to the whole world that anyone who did not know the real story would undoubtedly be jealous. The moral of the story is to respect yourself enough to be happy with what you have. Do not compare your relationship to someone else’s. You do not know what lies behind those cleverly filtered Instagram photos and happy-go-lucky status updates.
- Do not regret your decisions: Stick to the choices you made and roll with it. There is no point looking back and regretting every little thing you did. Your life is as messed up or as awesome as it is because of the choices that you made. Instead of wallowing in regrets and self-pity, respect yourself enough to know that you can improve things and go ahead to improve on yourself.
- Know your worth: Never underestimate your worth and never be bullied into submission. Fight for your rights and be sure that he treats and appreciates you the way you deserve. Respect yourself enough to ditch him if he does not. That doesn’t mean you should ask for the moon when you know he can’t afford it.
- Constantly make room for improvement: No matter how awesome you think you are, there is always room for improvement. You should take active steps to be better at everything you do. Always listen to that inner voice of reason in your head. It is your soul telling you what to do next. Respect yourself enough to pay attention to it and you will find that your relationship will be better than ever. If your man cannot accept the new and improved you, then it is a clear sign that he does not deserve you. Never allow another to define you, it is your right to define yourself and grab all the opportunities that the world has to offer.