Respect makes the world go ’round

photo © ces
photo © ces


As we are raising our children, my husband and I place a great deal of importance on Respect. Respect for self, respect for others, as well as respect for the world we live in.

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals;
Respect for others guides our manners.”
~ Laurence Sterne

The other day at Kung Fu, the instructor stopped the class and called a pow-wow to ask these questions:

Do you treat others with respect automatically?
Do you “make” others “earn” your respect?
(how perfect!)

There is a huge difference.

If each person, or situation, is automatically greeted with respect, then our interactions can come from the heart, from a place of non-attachment to our own egoic agenda. From our own openness and acceptance, we allow the other person to shine in their own way, or feel safe enough to ask for what they need. This builds a relationship based on love.

When we make them earn respect, then our own egos are in charge of the interaction. Our propensity for being judgmental and wanting to take control of a situation takes over. This creates a relationship poisoned by fear: fear of differences, fear of not good enough, fear of punishment or retribution.


In yoga, the concept of Namaste permeates our interactions with others. In short, it translates into

“the divine in me recognizes the divine in you.”

Namaste is all about recognizing the Oneness and Grace, the shared source and experience of all of us. We realize that each of us has our own journey to make through this life, we each have lessons to learn and things we must do. If we can live and let live, then we can celebrate our similarities and respect our differences. If we can approach our differences with openness, then maybe we can learn something from them, expanding our own circle of reference or worldview; it’s an inclusive process.

“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it.
But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other,
but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.”
~ Hermann Hesse, Siddartha

Trust and the Truth

Showing others respect can be fairly simple when we see them as our equals in some way.

How does this work in the hierarchies in our lives, when one of us is clearly more experienced or knowledgeable or in a position of authority?

Trust is the foundation of the Respect equation.

There are LOTS of people in the position of authority, and sadly, so many of them do not respect anyone. Turn on the news and you will see all the fear and chaos created by this scenario. Those who are so intolerant, who betray our trust so cavalierly also lose our respect. We cannot change these people easily, but we can learn from them, we can do better in our own lives.

In our family, My husband and I are generally accepted as the authorities, and we encourage our children to respect us, as well as each other. We do not garner good behavior because they fear us in some way, it’s not “do as I say.” Rather, out of our love for them, we encourage them to listen to our experience and try to understand the “Why” behind the advice or admonition; and, we listen to them. We do not lord over them, we nurture and encourage and guide gently. In this way, we do “earn” their trust and respect by treating them with the same.

Respect born out of love and trust and fairness will be far more lasting and real and deep than respect born of fear. When we recognize everyone’s right to show up exactly as they are, treat them with the openness that comes with the effort to understand and build tolerance, then respect becomes a cornerstone for all our interactions.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and
may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life
contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all
~ Translation found on

~ Invitation ~

In what way does how you treat others (and other’s things) reflect how you feel about yourself?
If you treat others well, how does that make you feel?
If you treat others badly, how does that make you feel?
This goes for both face-to-face interactions as well as “yelling” at the TV, Radio, fellow motorists….

“How would your life be different if… you stopped making
negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter?
Let today be the day… you look for good in everyone you meet and
respect their journey.”
~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Labyrinth header 2
Click here to read Christy’s introduction to the series.


Christy Sensharma

I am a wife and a mom, a yogi, an artist, and a writer… but not always in that order! I tend to think in collage and have trouble starting my day without coffee (black). I am a contemplative and a seeker on this wonderful, odd trip that is this human life. I love to have adventures and detest fences of any kind. Dedicated to my journal, I blog part-time at

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