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Cultivating Self Respect: FAST

What does self respect mean and look like? Self respect goes alongside self esteem and self worth and can be a life-long journey. For many, these concepts are works in progress, like ourselves. From a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) perspective there is a skill that works to cultivate and prioritize self respect. 

Self respect is defined according to Webster’s Dictionary as “a proper respect for oneself as a human being and regard for one's own standing or position.”  The definition often reminds me of an exercise I do with clients on our Personal Bill of Right developed by Edmund Bourne, PhD. For today, I am going to suggest the FAST skill within DBT’s interpersonal effectiveness module. 

FAST is an acronym that stands for (be) Fair, (no) Apologies, Stick to your values and (be) Truthful. These concepts are ways to prioritize self respect externally and internally when considering interpersonal interactions. Let’s break it down:

Be Fair: When in conversation with others, are you being fair to yourself? Are you considering your needs and wants when making a request or being asked a request?

No Apologies: When you say sorry, what are you sorry for? Try thank you instead of sorry, see this comic which sums this letter up well. Do not apologize for existing. 

Stick to your values: Are you taking your values into consideration when interacting with others? Are you making statements and engaging in behaviors in alignment with your values? See the ACT Values Checklist or the DBT Values and Priorities List to explore your values.   

Be Truthful: When we lie to others, we still know the truth ourselves and this impacts our self esteem. Being congruent with our truth is important for our self esteem. Be honest with yourself and others as often possible. 

This  Mindful Monday consider, how can I continue to cultivate self respect? 


Vera Bednar, LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) and certified in dialectical behavioral therapy (C-DBT). A Lesley University graduate, Vera earned a bachelor's in counseling and art therapy and a master's in clinical mental health counseling with a specialization in trauma.

Prior to joining Looking Glass Counseling, Vera worked in a wide variety of clinical settings including inpatient, residential, intensive outpatient and an assisted living center with an art therapy focus. She also worked in partial hospitalization programs specializing in trauma, LGBTQIA+ individuals and young adult transitions as well as substance use.

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