First let us address the elephant in the room. Is there anyone else but me who cannot hear nor read this word without a tune starting up within your head, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me…”
And once we are done, let’s just run with this: What DOES it mean to you?
When you respect something or someone, you have a sense of connection with that being. The feeling that arises comes from connecting to something within that person or thing a quality that you admire, something you honor, perhaps something you’d even desire to do or be yourself.
For example, perhaps you hold respect for the stranger you saw who bent down, picked up the dropped ten-dollar bill, and returned it to the person who didn’t know they had dropped it. You admire the honesty, the integrity, the kindness you observed. You desire to be that way.
And then there is the reverse: the things and people that you don’t respect.
You see the stranger who bends down and pockets the ten-dollar bill that they saw fall from the purse of the woman in front of them. You detest the dishonesty, the greediness that occurred.
In the BeingBreath worldview, we are all fluid reflections of one another. That means that what you see within someone else already resides within you.
This includes those things that you respect and those things that you don’t respect.
What I would like to invite you to do this week is to look a little deeper at those beings that don’t elicit your respect. It is a different manner of growing your habit of respect in unexpected and powerful ways.
Remember that respect arises for something or someone when you see a quality that you admire. There is something within each being that is basically good – something that deserves respect simply because that being is in existence. You can think of it as the “God” quality within each being. Or for those more scientifically-minded, reflect on the awesomeness of that thing being in existence – all of the factors it took for it to be present and within your sensory awareness.
The person who returned the money and the person who did not both embody this basic goodness. You do not have to agree with, nor respect the actions of greed and dishonesty. But if we throw the baby out with the bathwater – discounting or hating the person because we don’t respect their actions – we lose an opportunity to connect with that person and in return, that part of ourselves.
This may seem a little deep – and indeed, it is. But you, dear BlissHabits reader, you are up to the challenge.
Here are a few steps to help you along with this practice:
- Bring to mind something that happened recently that you certainly didn’t respect. Maybe it was something someone said to you, maybe it was something someone said to someone else, maybe it was a car that was speeding past at a dangerous speed.
Think about the person behind those actions. Let any feelings of anger or grief rise naturally.
- Now switch perspectives. Look deeper. Try to see the basic goodness within that person. If it helps, think about good deeds that they might have done, the struggles that they have faced, that person as an innocent child, or that person as they interact with one they deeply love. Hold that faceless or familiar person in mind until you can find something within them that you respect.
- Zoom out, returning your thoughts to the action that you don’t respect. See if you can still feel a sense of respect for that person, even if you disagree (or hate) the action that they took.
- Bonus invitation: Try this exercise on yourself. What actions have you taken recently that feel shameful? Can you go deep within, find the basic goodness within yourself, then zoom back out? Can you hold a sense of respect for yourself as you navigate your challenges and struggles?
“He who wants a rose must respect the thorn” – Persian Proverb
“Respect is love in plain clothes” – Frankie Byrne
About Lisa Renee Wilson
I am honored to be your host for this journey! I am an Awareness Artist who shares her world work through Being Breath (www.BeingBreath.com). As a parent, artist, contemplative, meditator, yoga practitioner, introvert, runner, blogger, photographer, and iced-chai addict, I practice the art of mindful awareness throughout all of my daily activities. From playing with perspectives to playing in paint, no moments are off limits for exploration.