You Can Gain Incredible Respect Without Being Excessively Nice

It comes down to the things you do and don't do.

Leah Njoki
Oct 12, 2020 · 5 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Godisable Jacob from Pexels

I’m not exactly sure what point I was driving across. I vividly recall that I never even got to. He cut me off right in the middle of my sentence — not once but severally. I wasn’t even familiar with the guy. I’d just met him that very day through my other friends. As to what his problem was? Your guess is as good as mine.

All I know is that it stung a little bit. But it wasn’t all bad. That unpleasant experience taught one of the most crucial truths about respect. In life, you don’t have to sit back and wait for others to show you respect. You can gain the respect of others whether or not they agree with your ideas and you can do this without bending over backwards.

Shall I show you how?

That line in the sand makes all the difference.

Respect is a precious trait, one that you should guard fiercely. This is why you shouldn’t engage with people who don’t respect you as a person or what you stand for. I’ll never understand the pleasure people derive from rubbing negativity on others. Yet, it’s something people continue to do over and over again.

I get it. We aren’t usually the ones that handle changing others, but that doesn’t mean we have to put up with it. You have to draw a line in the sand and separate yourself from people who pull you down. At times this is the only way to make others respect you.

“Even if you cannot change all the people around you, you can change the people you choose to be around. Life is too short to waste your time on people who don’t respect, appreciate, and value you.”
Roy T. Bennett

Think about it. How many times do you try to be nice to someone in the hope that they’ll finally start respecting you? You end up bending over backwards a little too much. Trying to please every Tom, Dick, and Harry won’t get you anywhere. It’ll only elicit disrespect and spark suspicion. If you’re too nice, how can we tell if you’re genuine or not?

Drop the veil so we can really see you.

By the time I hit 25, I had sunk into a dark abyss of despair. As a young, divorced single mom (of an adoringly cute baby boy) I was navigating a tidal wave of enormous challenges. I’m not exactly sure when I finally resolved to be myself and to own my story no matter what. But own my story, I did.

I launched a blog where I spoke freely about single motherhood, divorce, narcissism, and everything in between. Along the way, one or two people who picked up on my rumblings began to own their stories too. I liked that. But the crest of my pride is hinged on the fact that I allowed the light to penetrate through my broken parts. I respected myself enough to stand in my truth.

You see, self-respect paves a way for others to respect you. This is a game-changer. It’s about being real. It’s about pulling away from the mask and revealing your real personality. It’s admitting your failures and mistakes. It’s showing your broken parts and letting them see what it means to be human. This, right here, is what makes someone sit upright, fix their gaze on you, and nod their head in respect.

Confucius says it best;

“Respect yourself and others will respect you.”

Be okay playing with your own blocks.

Next time you go to a park, observe the kids as they play. Guaranteed, there will be one unique child playing with his blocks, speaking gibberish, enjoying the feel of sand between his little chubby fingers. Not at all bothered or concerned about what his peers are doing. That kid’s special. He’s independent. He’s a thinker. Is he going places? You bet.

So. If you want to gain others’ respect, you’ve got to stick out of the pack. Try your absolute best to figure out your problems before reaching out to others. It’s magical how your life can change when you finally stop belittling yourself and downplaying your strengths. When you stop being too hard on yourself, it’s easy to acknowledge your smartness, attractiveness, and uniqueness.

There’s something super sexy about people who believe in themselves enough to do things their own way. Who figure things out by themselves. When you adopt this stance in life, people can’t help but respect you because you radiate self-confidence and bravely.

Let your actions speak for you.

The person who said actions speak louder than words nailed it. Because they do. Nothing screams respect like a person who stands by their word, honors their promise, and keeps their commitments. Everything matters. From significant commitments like being faithful to your lover down to little things such as keeping time.

This is what people judge you by. People tend to reciprocate to what they see in you. Body language that screams: ‘I respect myself because I’m super valuable’ can alter how people regard you in a significant way. Next time you’re in the company of a disrespectful person, instead of cowering and shrinking beneath their shadow, try the following:

  • Give them direct eye contact. Obviously, not in an excessive way, because you’ll come across as freaky and creepy.
  • Stand tall, lift your chin, and prop your shoulders.
  • Speak assertively and in a confident tone.

You’ll surely earn their respect if you behave this way because you’ll radiate confidence and self-assuredness. When you’re confident, people are compelled to respect you. Whether or not they agree with what you have to say is not the point. It’s about setting yourself up as a worthy individual deserving to be heard and respected.

Steve Maraboli hits the nail on the head when he says;

“I will not try to convince you to love me, to respect me, to commit to me. I deserve better than that; I AM BETTER THAN THAT…Goodbye.”

My friend, you deserve to be respected. Let no one tell you otherwise. And although people might not always treat you this way, it doesn't mean you should take it lying down. You can demand respect from others by how you behave, react, and live your life. Set yourself apart. Harness your body language to work for you and not against you. Most of all, treat yourself with respect and others will have no choice but to reciprocate.


We curate outstanding articles from diverse domains and…

Leah Njoki

Written by

Dreamer&Fitness Enthusiast | Writer on Love, Relationships & Self-Improvement| Featured on The Good Men Project, Thought Catalog, Ladders|Blog:


We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

Leah Njoki

Written by

Dreamer&Fitness Enthusiast | Writer on Love, Relationships & Self-Improvement| Featured on The Good Men Project, Thought Catalog, Ladders|Blog:


We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store