Do you ever feel like a zombie? Doing things without emotion, like a zombie wandering around?

After a long day slaving at work for a job you hate, or working on an endless list of house chores, you FINALLY get to have your own quality time. This might be your favorite time of the day because no one disrupts you and you are left alone with your thoughts.

But this might also be the time that you feel crappiest about yourself.  Because this is your “nagging yourself to death” time.

You try to relax, but your brain doesn’t give up and brings your day flashing before your eyes. You went to work–it seemed like a normal day. Then some colleagues asked if you could help them out. You looked at your calendar and hesitated… it was full.

The word “No” came to the tip of your tongue, but you heard yourself say “OK”.  You ended up working for them during lunch, trying to complete every task on time. You delivered it to them and then hours later you received an email that said “Thanks”.

You shrugged your shoulders, hoping that would be the last time they ask you.  Hungry and rushed, you got things done for the day. And just as you were about to leave, your boss came over and asked you to do an urgent task for him.

“I’ll check it tomorrow”, he said.

So you sat back, turned your laptop on again and stayed for 2 hours to finish it. You wanted to say no, but he was your boss after all. It would backfire on you if you say something he doesn’t like.

Your thoughts shift to one of your colleagues. You admire her so much. Compared to a nice girl like you, she is pretty much a badass. She doesn’t put up with crap from anyone. She is strong and stubborn. She can intimidate people, even you sometimes.

You like that. You want to be like her. But you just aren’t.

It’s OK. She has her way. I have mine…

Your own way is to do your best in everything because THEN people will like you and good things will happen to you. Only, it doesn’t work out that way.

The nicer you try to be, the more tired and crappier you feel.  You are wondering if this is really what you want, if you get respect from people.

Truth is, you don’t need people to respect you. You have to be the first one do it. If you treat yourself with respect, you will not let anyone else treat you otherwise. The golden question is, are you respecting yourself?

Here are some warning signs that you aren’t.

1. You are wondering if you are respecting yourself

If you need to ask yourself that, chances are, you are not.

Think about yourself as a person, with all the strengths and weaknesses, flaws and all. You normally jump to your flaws first, don’t you?

What do you think every time you look in the mirror? Do you ever say, “Hi you. You look really pretty in that dress today”?

Or do you normally find yourself saying, “Oh no, I ruin this dress with my big hips”, or “My skin is terrible”, or “If my hair just behaved for once…”.

The craziest part is that only you can see those flaws. To other people, they simply don’t exist.

Treat yourself like a stranger. Every time you look at the mirror, don’t look at yourself. Look at that stranger instead. Describe her, not you. She is a stranger you haven’t met. Do you still judge her by looking at her? Do you know anything about her to judge?

2. You let people manipulate you

How many times do you agree with whatever someone says because you don’t want to offend them? Even if you believe otherwise, you just don’t want to argue. You are a peace-maker. You let them push you around and walk over you like a doormat.

Joke is on you. Don’t blame them. You let it happen. You are the one that people ask for things without thought of giving back anything back in return. You go the extra mile for someone else because they don’t want to leave their desk.

And that is how you disrespect yourself. Badly.

You are worthy. Your opinions matters. Stop thinking of yourself as a shadow who has to please everyone. Stand up for yourself. Be your own hero and fight for your own opinions.

3. You have a bitter taste in your mouth when seeing other people happy

You constantly compare yourself to other people, claiming that you are not as good, happy, and successful as they are. You are jealous with them. Sometimes the feeling is so intense that you begin to hate them. But deep down, you only hate yourself.

You don’t practice gratitude for all the good things in your life. You fail to see all the wonderful experiences, relationships and emotions that you have, but focus on the things you don’t.

If you just cannot get rid of your comparison game, then go with it. Instead of envying them, think: if you can swap your life for that person’s position, would you do it? Would you give up all you have in exchange for whatever that person has, good and bad? You will soon realize their lives are not as perfect as you think.

4. You never give up a thing

You have so many things you want to do with your life, with your time. All the time, your life is fully-packed. And yet you still try to stuff some more. It overwhelms you.

Do you often force yourself to do something that you think you should? And then end up beating yourself up for feeling too tired and cancelling your plans?

It is time to sit back, cut loose and give up. No, you are not a quitter if you give up some things. In fact, you have to be brave enough to walk away from things that don’t make you happy.

So find out what really matters to you and get rid of the rest. If they don’t bring you joy and meaning, they don’t deserve to be present in your life.

5. The only time you feel happy about yourself is when everything goes right

This seems to be a normal thing to every people. Why would you be happy when things go wrong?

Think of a big project you have been working on for a long time. You did all the research, invested endless nights thinking… and then it did not turn out so well.

You immediately ditch all your work, thinking you wasted your time and effort for nothing. You suck, your project sucks and your life sucks!

But you forget how all that research may help you to land on another project, how those endless nights give you strength and confirm that you are strong enough to handle everything in your life.

You just could not see how much you have grown and improved. All of those works are not wasted. They are required to take you to a higher step. Be grateful for those experiments. Life is a journey, not a destination. So enjoy yours.

Over to You

Imagine sitting in a bubble bath. Turn on some music and lean back to listen. With your eyes closed, you hum along with the melody.

With a smile on your face, you think of your co-worker’s face when you said you were busy and you would not help them out. He looked at you, shocked. And surprisingly, you felt good about it.

When you got home, instead of rushing yourself to cook and clean at the same time, you shrugged and decided to heat up some packed-dinner while reading a book. That was a book you wanted to read for a while but never had the time for it.

You get out of your bath, look at yourself in the mirror. And you are happy with what you see. Not imperfect curves, wild hair or big hips. You see a strong and confident person standing in front of you, looking like she can conquer the world. And you know she can.

Was your day perfect? No, it was just a normal day. Are you tired? No, in fact, you have never felt more alive.

No more being a zombie wandering around, you chose you over others. You chose happiness.

“In youth, it was a way I had,
To do my best to please.
And change, with every passing lad
To suit his theories.
But now I know the things I know
And do the things I do,
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you.”

–Dorothy Parker

Guide to Inspired Life