6 subtle signs you’re finally beginning to respect and appreciate yourself

In my younger years, I really struggled with low self-esteem. So much so that plenty of times I’d desperately wish I could be someone else for a day.

I know firsthand that learning self-love is easier said than done. It’s an unfolding journey that takes time and isn’t always linear.

No matter how much we want to, we cannot simply click our fingers and instantly feel good about ourselves.

We have to put the work in to unlearn false beliefs, understand the impact of our negative self-talk, and show ourselves the compassion we deserve,

You may not always notice this unfolding process, but it doesn’t mean it’s not happening behind the scenes.

Here are some subtle signs you’re finally beginning to respect and appreciate yourself.

1) You’ve been making decisions for yourself, even if they’re only little ones

I can be so indecisive sometimes that I even need someone to choose for me at a restaurant.

These sorts of things don’t always seem like such a big deal. But below the surface, indecisiveness can be a sign of low self-esteem.


Whenever we need others to give their opinion before making choices, it can mean we don’t ultimately trust our own judgment.

The more you make your own decisions the more you are tapping into your intuition and honoring your own preferences.

You make choices that feel right to you, and let that guide you.

It can also be a sign that you’re more focused on following your desires than worrying about what everyone else might think.

And as we’re about to see, that’s an important step in ditching any people-pleasing habits.

2) You’re able to say no to people, no matter how uncomfortable it still feels

Turning people down doesn’t feel good for most of us. A lot of it comes back to how we’re hardwired as people.

We fear social rejection in a way that makes it feel like a threat to our very survival.

That’s why learning to say no is only something we can get more comfortable with through practice. And that can take time.

The very fact that you are willing to try shows that you are learning to give your own needs and wants the priority they sometimes deserve.

Even if it still makes you squirm and even if you still worry that others might see you as being selfish for doing so — that’s okay.

If you can have been able to say no to someone or something that you didn’t want you showed yourself respect.

Without necessarily realizing it, what you’re getting better at is setting healthy boundaries.

In doing so, you show yourself and others that you value your time, energy, and emotional space.

pic1953 6 subtle signs you’re finally beginning to respect and appreciate yourself

3) You’re more mindful of eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep

Sometimes it is easy to forget that our primary relationship in this life takes place with ourselves.

That’s why self-care is actually more about self-responsibility. Neglecting yourself can sound like a selfless act before you fully embrace self-love.

Afterward, you recognize that fuelling yourself with nourishing food, taking time to move your body, and ensuring adequate sleep are essentials.

Doing things that reduce your stress levels and taking care of your mental and emotional wellness should never be seen as “luxuries”.

Gone are the days when you felt a pang of guilt for taking time for yourself. You increasingly make time for your hobbies and interests.

You are beginning to understand that taking care of yourself is not selfish, but necessary.

4) You’ve started to enjoy alone time

Far from being anti-social, being alone can be a very positive sign when it comes to well-being.

According to Forbes, “studies show the ability to tolerate alone time has been linked to increased happiness, better life satisfaction, and improved stress management.”

But that is probably because it’s also a sign that you like who you are.

You don’t feel bored or lonely when others aren’t around as you can always rely on yourself.

Time alone allows us the space for greater self-reflection and understanding ourselves better. These are key when it comes to personal growth and improving our relationship with ourselves.

Maybe you used to hate it, but these days you quite like some solitude. It’s a really positive sign that you have learned to value your own company.

5) You may not have it all, but you appreciate what you do have

Gratitude isn’t usually the first thing we think of when it comes to showing yourself respect and appreciation.

But it probably should be. Look at it this way:

When we fail to count our blessings we are signalling to ourselves that our life isn’t good enough.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with striving for more, an unappreciative attitude is a disrespectful one.

The research shows that cultivating a gratitude attitude increases our self-esteem, boosts confidence, and improves mood.

According to Business Insider the reason it can make us feel good about ourselves is because ”when you intentionally notice the ways other people are good to you, you develop a stronger sense of your own value.”

If you have started to acknowledge the good in your life rather than solely focus on what you perceive as the bad, it indicates a powerful mindset shift.

6) Your inner critic still pops up, but you can also acknowledge your strengths

Personal development writing is my job. So in many ways, self-love and self-care are my bread and butter.

Yet despite all the many years of research, study, and the practical work I’ve done, I still haven’t managed to totally kill off my inner critic.

That’s the part of us that feeds us negative thoughts and weaves defeatist stories. It’s essentially our fear talking to us.

Although we can learn to quiet this voice in the back of our heads, it’s perfectly natural to have to learn to live with it.

The key is to question it rather than believe it. That way it doesn’t control us and over time loosens its hold. It’s also important to counteract it.

That means actively looking for our best qualities and honing in on our many skills, talents, and accomplishments.

By doing this we start to see that we’re not perfect (nobody is) but we are enough.

You’re finally beginning to respect and appreciate yourself when you’re no longer so consumed by what you see as all your weaknesses that you totally ignore all your strengths.

Embracing imperfection, rather than beating ourselves up over it, is never going to be easy.

But learning to accept those shadow sides and find self-compassion is key.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.