By acting like someone who deserves respect, attention, influence, and other positive qualities, others will begin to perceive you as deserving of these attractive values.
Robert Greene puts forward this notion succinctly as one of his 48 laws for gaining and maintaining power.
“The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated: in the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you. For a king respects himself, and inspires the same sentiment in others. By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.”
Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power
When you consider how others act, not just yourself, you can begin to see that this way of thinking is somewhat accurate. The meek and passive aren’t always given the attention and respect they crave while those who demand to be heard and show a strong confidence in themselves are happily given a seat at the table.
Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle. You’re not disrespected or disliked, but you yearn for others to take your words and actions more seriously, to be one of the individuals that others make room for in all manners of social dynamics. If that’s your goal, this law can certainly work in your favour in helping you get what you want.
By slowly improving yourself and altering your social behaviour, you can begin to act as the person you want to be and people will begin to treat you with the respect that that ideal-self demands of others.
Where Many People Fail
All too often there are people who want respect and want to be perceived in a certain positive way, yet they do not even view themselves in such a way. How can one expect others to treat them with love and admiration if they do not treat themselves in this way? It boils down to this, if you don’t want to be seen or treated a certain way, do not display behaviours which encourage this view from others.
Take a theoretical character such as Jim. Jim makes a lot of jokes and is constantly trying to be humorous in order to gain attention from his social circle. He soon finds however that when it comes to serious topics of discussion he is quickly shut out, his contributions to the conversation are overlooked. This makes him feel underappreciated and disrespected, and he constantly asks himself why others don’t take him seriously.
What Jim doesn’t realise is that he has self-sabotaged himself by moulding himself in the image of a clown, not a king by any means.
Jim uses humour so exhaustively in order for him to get others to like him that they don’t see him in any other light. This also stops him getting close to anyone as they can’t see past his facade to the real Jim.
Deep down he is not confident in his words or actions and instead uses humour as a way to fight against this, little does he know that others can indeed sense this weakness from his behaviour.
Now, this is an exaggerated example used to make a point, but I hope that the problem is made salient. In the long-term, if you behave and perceive yourself as not deserving of respect or admiration, no one else will be inspired to give these things to you either.
Grasping the Crown
In order to demand and receive the treatment you believe you deserve from others, you need to act out your ideal self. That may even mean showing off qualities that you may not necessarily already have developed.
Confidence is a big issue that plenty of people struggle with, they want to be seen as in control and comfortable in most situations, they hate being perceived by others to be passive. The king, however, will display such a trait even if he does not fully believe he has it. This is, in essence, the whole ‘fake it ’til you make it‘ adage.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach as the positive feedback it reels in is water for the growth of real and genuine confidence. It will also assist in building the respect you should be developing for yourself, not only to spur others on to respect you but to increase your own quality of life.
No matter your disposition or circumstances, no matter your level of self-esteem or self-hatred, you need to appear to love yourself for others to do so. An even better scenario would be to actually love yourself and reap the benefits of that along with the positive reception you will get from others. However, for some people, the first step is to simply force the external behaviour before the real belief develops. It is not lying to yourself, it is consciously choosing to replace your unhelpful thoughts and beliefs with something that will make you happier.
Go out there and show the world that you love and respect yourself, and by extension why others should rally around you and offer the same admiration.
Take bold actions and speak out loud what you believe to be the truth. Remember to do things firstly for yourself before tending to others. Walk and carry yourself like someone with a life goal they are treading towards with ferocious focus. Lounge and relax when it feels right, like you don’t have a care in the world. Treat your passions with the utmost importance as they are part of what makes you unique. In essence, show both yourself and the world that you have both worth and value, even if at first you don’t truly believe it yourself.
If you don’t have the genuine feeling and belief behind these actions, know that they will come with time. Also, observe the difference in others while you’re making your long-term transformation. You make others feel good because you appear to feel good, they begin to want to be near you because they want to be around someone who radiates this self-love and respect.
With time, you’ll come to see yourself wearing the crown, others will see it too.
Wear the Crown with Pride
There will come a time when the feeling of the crown on your head will feel natural, not only will you love and respect yourself, others will too. It won’t be a magic bullet that prevents all negative encounters or experiences, but you will be confident in your powers to deal with such things.
People love people who respect themselves, and they reward this self-respect with more respect. Cultivate a kingly interior and exterior and the subjects will follow.