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4 Self Respect Basics that Nobody’s Talking About

4 Self Respect Basics that Nobody’s Talking About

When I was in junior high, I asked a girl named Rhonda to go steady with me. She was funny, confident, popular. And I wasn’t. If I could talk her into being my girlfriend maybe I’d have a shot at being one of the cool kids. It was a gutsy move.

Just after the 3:00 bell rang, as I was gathering up my books to go home for the day, Rhonda’s best friend Margie ran up to me, excited.  “Mark! Rhonda said yes!” Apparently the whole school knew about it. I hurried to the bus, ducking and dodging behind lockers, scared to death that I’d run into Rhonda―she was my first girlfriend; I had no idea what I was supposed to do.

The next day Rhonda pulled me aside in the lunchroom to break the news that the whole thing had been a joke. Everyone else was laughing about it. The dorky, dumpy kid tried to make time with one of the cool people and was put squarely back into place. It was one of those moments that I’d spend the rest of my life trying to un-remember.

Things like that happened frequently, all the way through high school. By college I’d had enough and began to bite back. I lifted weights, changed my look, only spent time with “cool” people, etc. I started to defend myself, physically at times, if anyone treated me poorly. All of the crap I took in junior high I gave back to the dumpy, dorky crowd in spades.

I remember feeling my own weight, like I wasn’t a piece of garbage. I experienced self-respect for the first time in my life, but didn’t realize that it came at the expense of someone else. I needed people “below” me to feel OK. If they didn’t know they were below me, I’d put them there. All of the stuff that had been done to me, I did to others, buying self respect by stripping it from someone else.

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I lived that way for years, and paid for it, all because I didn’t understand the basics of self respect.

1. It’s Closer Than You Think

Do an online image search for “Self Respect” and you’ll get tens of thousands of memes that read something like the following:

  • “If someone disrespects you, ditch ’em”
  • “If you don’t respect me, I won’t respect you.”
  • “Protecting yourself is more important than anything else”

I know plenty of people, myself included, who have tried to think their way into self respect, who’ve embraced every idea known to humanity, and are still searching.

But we tend to look in the wrong places.

The trick to self respect is not in trying to find it, or build it up from nothing. We already have it. Disrespect would have no power, it wouldn’t make us so angry, if we didn’t have some sense that everyone’s supposed to treat us respectfully. We come out of the womb with self respect, and won’t hesitate to respond if people dishonor it.

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Self-respect isn’t something we lose, it’s something that gets buried. The trick is figuring out how to rescue it, and making sure it doesn’t get buried again.

2. Disrespect Eats Self Respect for Breakfast

It feels good to slam people, pass judgement, place others “below”. Some people do ridiculous things and it’s our job to put them in their place. We want justice. But we’re typically not willing to risk anything, so we stand at a safe distance and utter things that change nothing, showing disrespect into the souls of others ‒ and into our own.

All of this is exacerbated by the fact that we live in a culture that values disrespect, fueled by a forum that allows us to say whatever, whenever, to whomever. We indiscriminately spew all manner of vitriol on the internet without a second thought. Our music, TV shows, movies, etc. all pay homage to this new way of life that’s unprecedented in any culture before us. Disrespect has never enjoyed such a spotlight, such a part of humanity’s daily diet. It’s never been so popular, or eaten so well.

But disrespect won’t share the same soul with self respect. In a culture that so highly values the former, we shouldn’t be surprised that the latter is so elusive.

3. The Golden Rule

There is however one simple task that anyone can accomplish, something that flies in the face of our culture, and gives us the best chance of keeping our self respect intact.

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The more I give respect to others, the more I feel my own… and vice versa… unfortunately.

I have a few friends who reek of self respect, so much that you feel respected when you’re around them. And their dignity is not easily shaken.

I didn’t get anywhere in this arena until I embraced their secret.

These people are respectful when they argue, when they confront someone, when they’re hurt, offended, cheated. They’re part of a very small tribe of others who believe that it’s never OK to disrespect anyone, even if you’re merely fantasizing about it. The more they manage to unconditionally respect others, the more cement-like their self respect becomes.

Respect is an investment, not just in themselves, but in what ripples beyond them.

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They’ve decided to respect others―always―without condition, excuse, or qualification. But they’ve also managed to live with a deeper understanding of where disrespect really comes from.

4. The Mother of All Impudence

Nobody wakes up in the morning deciding to be disrespectful; it’s much more complicated than that. Disrespectful people are disrespected people – they’ve been laughed at, scorned, shamed, dismissed. They’re people who have managed to laugh it off, act like it never happened, and cached it deep in a place where it can do some real damage.

Show me a disrespectful person and I’ll show you someone who’s been disrespected, too many times.

Sure, we can return the scorn of our detractors, throw it back, or worse, internalize it; but there’s another way. Understanding where disrespect comes from, that it has nothing to do with our shortcomings, is the key to giving it no quarter.

Disrespect has to do with pain ‒ very real pain, something so bad that it incites her victims to lash out at others, to spread her hurt. It’s not about truth, or justice, it’s about retaliation, making sure everyone feels as bad as the bearer. People will disrespect us over and over again in this life, and we’ll be tempted to hurt them back. But if we’re incapable of mourning the origins of their pain, we haven’t yet understood what’s really happening.

Nothing good is easy. Self respect is NO exception.

We don’t have to “protect” ourselves from others, or go find our self respect, or try and build it from the ground up; and we certainly aren’t in need of another opportunity to be disrespectful. We simply need to find the strength and wisdom to respect others, unconditionally.

You can still confront, stand up for what’s right, have relationships with toxic people, etc. But if you’re interested in living with more self respect, you’ll have to interact with others in a way that honors theirs.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Improve Your Memory: 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways

How to Improve Your Memory: 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

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Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

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