How to Build Self Respect After Being Stigmatized

If you have been stigmatized in any way, remember that sometimes the people stigmatizing us or insulting us are insecure that we may be better than them, smarter, or more talented. Such insecure, jealous types will use anything about a person to tear them down to the their own level of self-worth.


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    Consider the source of the stigmatization. Is this person singling you out because of his or her own insecurities and jealousies? If so, get away from the person, because they will do nothing but try to diminish you.
    • Understand what's going on. If it's not just one person but a group stigmatizing you over religion, ethnic background, gender, any issues you have no control of, that's a different situation. Prejudice can be resisted but this article is about handling social attacks from one or two disaffected people.
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    Ask the person to stop, even if the negative characterization of you has some truth to it. Focus instead on your good points, and build on these. It's good to face the truth about yourself in order to make improvements, but this does not have to be done in an abusive and shame-based way.
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    Flush out any negative feelings you have about yourself. Spend a few days letting yourself feel the horrible shame and stigmatizing feelings, don't stuff them, then bring all of it to the light with prayer, meditation, and caring for oneself well with good nutrition, exercise, and writing, and more writing, your feelings, and anything else that needs to come out.
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    Get together with friends who support you. Go out and do things you like. Beware: if you party and use drugs or drink, these could exacerbate your negative feelings.
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    Avoid hanging out with anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable. Many times, when a person gets stigmatized by a friend (not a real friend, that is), others who know the person who stigmatized you could pretend to befriend you, then next you know, they are stabbing you in the back with even worse stigmatizing. Exit any places where you know it's not good for you to be. Don't test the waters, just go.
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    Reduce your anger. Try writing with paper and pen (not computer), hitting a pillow for anger, eating nutritionally, and spending time with supportive friends whose presence makes you feel better.


  • After a workout, relax a little while, then try loading up the blender with a mixture of fruits and vegetables you like. Add flaxseed to it. Flaxseed is full of nutrition, including Omega-3 which helps to reduce cholesterol. Add a small tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, yogurt, a teaspoon of vanilla, nuts, and a little sugar. Depending on where your weight is, either make the smoothie with as much calories as you want, or limit the calories by not adding the olive oil or nuts.
  • DVD kickbox work-outs: These DVDs can help you build power, as in personal power, not negative power. As you practice the kicks, punches, and exercises in a kickbox work-out, you will feel more confidence and empowered. Right now, what is needed is to feel confident again. Build the kind of power which helps a person to be assertive without having to struggle at it.
  • Pilates can be practiced at home, away from any 'audiences' of people who may be offending you right now, or who you don't need input from. Try to find one with flashcards and CD's such as 'Brook Silers' pilates program. Brook Siler; The Pilates Body Kit. Scroll down to 'external links' and check for Brook Siler's program.
  • Pilates balls, mats, and other equipment are not necessary in order to work-out with pilates.
  • Read books on subjects that are entertaining but not negative. Eliminate pornography, violence, or negativity from the books you read and the TV shows you watch. It's okay to watch some violence and negativity, but don't make a ritual out of it. Sometimes violent movies could help an angry person resolve unresolved rage, but it's not often this helps, and do not make a daily habit of watching violence and negativity.
  • Listen to electronica, alternative, classical, and other music that won't completely put you in a violent or negative mode, even if you feel like basking in violent rap or rock, do it for only a little bit, not all day.


  • Watch out for friends or associates of the person that embarrassed, shamed, or stigmatized you. They may pretend to befriend you in order to find out more information about you in order to shame you further, or they can act nice and then do something mean, or backstab you to the point where you might find it hard to cope.

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Categories: Managing Negative Feelings