4D Self-respect Effectiveness

This page tells you more about the DBT skills for ‘self-respect effectiveness’.

These are the skills you would use when keeping your self-respect is your highest priority in the situation (over achieving your objective or keeping the relationship).  Self-respect means feeling good about yourself.

These skills can be really useful for keeping your self-respect, by helping you to:

  • be fair to yourself and the other person; to avoid resentment
  • believe in your own values; and keep focused on these
  • avoid giving in to please the other person
  • do what you know to be right; and take responsibility for this
  • act in a way that you can feel proud of; and keep your self-respect

 So, how does it work?

Firstly, to help you be effective in keeping your self-respect, you need to think about:

  • how you want to feel about yourself after this interaction?
  • what you need to do to achieve this?

With this in mind, you can use your DBT skills.

How can I remember what to do?

DBT uses acronyms to help you remember the skills that are linked to each type of effectiveness. For ‘self-respect effectiveness’, the acronym is FAST, and the skills are, to:


Fair: Be fair to yourself and to the other person, treat them as you would want to be treated yourself. Be prepared to give in order to take; be prepared to not get exactly what you want.


Apologies: Apologise only when you know you’ve made a mistake; but don’t over apologise. Don’t apologise for what you believe in, for making a request, or for giving your point of view, don’t apologise for being you.


Stick to your values: Keep focused on what you believe; don’t give in for things less important. Be clear about what is important to you and stand your ground. Don’t do anything you will regret later. Remind yourself that your views are important, you have a right to them and you are in control of how you act.


Truthful: Be truthful, don’t lie, exaggerate, act helpless or try to manipulate the other person. Don’t make excuses; instead take responsibility for your actions.

These skills are really important to improving how you feel about yourself (your self-respect); when we give in to others because we feel it will make them happy or give up on pushing for what we believe in, it can harm our self-respect. We all have experiences of how we have acted in a way that has left us feeling bad about ourselves, but at the same time we will also have examples of when we’ve acted in a way that we have been pleased with – stood by what we believe in and felt good about it.

The more we practice our skills for self-respect effectiveness, the more:

  • content we will feel about our actions and the outcomes of those actions
  • confident we will feel in doing the right thing
  • we will feel good about ourselves, the more self-respect we will have

My 4D Toolkit Activity

ACCEPTA FAST way to maintain self respect

Part of the 4D DBT Toolkit, this podcast provides a practical introduction to how the FAST acronym can help you ‘stand FAST’ and maintain your self respect during relationship issues.


For more information about ‘DBT’ skills check out the ’4D Toolkit’.


Related Pages: Interpersonal effectiveness, Objective effectivenessRelationship effectiveness,

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