R is for Respect
In the A-Z Blogging Challenge, R is for Respect. (R is also for being really behind in my A-Z posts now! I didn't get much writing done this weekend. But who knows, I may be able to finish the Challenge in time yet, if I don't get too wordy... figure the odds on that! :-)
Respect is an essential ingredient not only in our relationships with others, but in our opinion of ourselves. If we buy into the negative messages about ourselves we sometimes receive growing up or in current relationships, it is easy to lose our sense of self-respect and self-worth. When that happens, we tend to live down to opinion those other folks have of us. We forget to listen to the small voice within us that says we are of value and we are worthy.
Respect for others, especially those we have relationships of one kind or another with, makes all the difference in the world regarding how we respond to them, and how we perform. If we respect them, we tend to rise to the example they are setting for us. We work harder to be like them, and to please them and ourselves. If we don't respect them, it is hard to care about our effort and response.
In all relationships and situations, repect must be earned. It doesn't come with a job title, or a wedding ring, or a parental role. It cannot be bought or bartered for. I can command you to obey me, but I cannot command your respect, I must earn it thru my conduct. I like that about respect, because it doesn't always come easy. Sometimes we have to strive to reach a place where we can like and respect ourselves, and they in turn have to strive in their lives to be someone worthy of repect.
Respect is also incredibly fragile, easil broken, and very hard to restore. Once our faith in someone's respectability and trustworthiness has been shattered, it will take a great deal of time and effort on their part to gain it back, if it is even possible. Often it is not.
Sadly, when people have been thus burned, they tend to lose their ability to trust others as well. I once had a spouse who had a lot of baggage from a previous relationship in which his spouse had proven unfaithful. He told me that if I remained faithful for seven years he would begin to trust that I, as a woman, could be trusted. I did remain faithful and worthy of his trust for all those years and more, but he was never able to free himself from the belief that I might change at any moment into someone deceitful, therefore I was always under suspcion. I realized at some point that no matter what I did or didn't do, he would never fully trust me.
I have learned thru the years that we can't always trust the promises people make to us. They change, and situations change. Even promises made with the best of intent cannot always be honored. So we need to learn two things... the first one is to allow for a little flexibility in ourselves and in others, but that doesn't mean making allowance for gross misconduct issues. The second lessons is that we need to take care is what we purport ourselves to represent and in what promises we make to others. Be yourself, and not someone of your creation, disguises can become a heavy burden to carry later on. Promise less than you think you can accomplish. People will be pleasantly surprised when you come thru with more! Additionally, be careful to overextend yourself trying to do too many things and be too many things for too many people. You can't care for everyone, you can't support everyone, you can't fix everyone's problems... but you can certainly wear yourself out trying!
The first rule of respect is to be yourself and to practice the Golden Rule without fail... treat other people as you would like to be treated, and you will most likely earn their respect. Adding on to that, treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated... as a precious and beautiful creation, worthy of love and tender care! I liked the image at the beginning of this post, the Respect sign pointing upward, because it's true... if you conduct yourself respectfully, it will not only raise you up, but it will uplift others too. Upward is a great way to go!