My mentor, Rhonda Shasteen, taught me early on to be true to myself. I've probably spent every day since then trying to discover my true self. I think you continue to discover it a little bit every day for your entire life. I've learned it doesn't mean be selfish. It means listening to the inner voice guiding you and honoring that voice. Listening to your inner voice is a challenging enough practice when producing your own words, thoughts and actions, but what about when you are reacting to others' words and actions? How do you honor and respect your true self in those instances?
First, you must slow down enough to acknowledge the other person's behavior. Sometimes others make you feel great and other times they make you feel down right awful about yourself. I know people have treated me with enough disrespect that it has caused me to doubt my own value. Life's hard enough without having to manifest a positive attitude after interacting with others. That's why I love Lady Bird Johnson's quote, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Second, if the other person is making you feel bad and you understand why, do something about it. I'm not saying be mean, turn away from the negativity orseparate yourself when people don't treat you well. You should most certainly address conflict as quickly as possible, honor and process your emotions, and work on the important relationships in your life. If a relationship/friendship is in the early stages and someone consistently dishonors you and doesn't hold you in high esteem, then that person is likely not someone you want to invest too much time with in developing a friendship.
Thirdly, understand and respect yourself, your value and your worth. That doesn't mean go about haughtily demanding to be treated like royalty. It does mean having an attitude of humility and modesty with wise judgment of yours and others' behavior. It is ok to stand up woith yourself and love yourself enough to walk away from disrespect. I don't have to do it ofte, but every time I do, I feel empowered and freed from self-imposed oppression.
Finally, surround yourself with a positive environment as much as you can. That doesn't mean you won't have a bad day or argument every now and then. It does mean that over the long haul you have reinforced yourself with like-minded people to encourage you on your journey in life. For more tips and nuggets of wisdom from me and my mentor, Rhonda Shasteen, please read my book, Views from the 13th Floor. Respect yourself because you can!