For the past few days, well maybe longer, I have been thinking about the whole notion of respect. I found myself remembering the chorus from the old Aretha Franklin song RESPECT. However, when I read the lyrics to her song, I realized that while respect might have meant one thing to her, at least from the lyrics, it meant something completely different to me. As her song says, find out what it means to me.
For me, respect is an expression of love. It is about love for myself and love for others. Part of my coming to love myself was coming to know that I truly had everything I needed within me to do whatever I have needed, need, or will need to do. I do not need to depend on others to solve my problems or my needs for me. I lack nothing. While there are things I am no longer safely able to do, like climb stairs and ladders, I have others who will assist me when I ask them for it. However, I no longer need to go to or look to others to tell me what to do. I respect my intelligence and my ability to problem solve enough that I give myself the R E S P E C T that I am so worthy of receiving. The RESPECT I give myself is of greatest importance to me. If others respect me, that is nice, but it has no bearing on whether or not I respect myself.
What does it mean to me to respect others? It means I do not feel sorry for you no matter what you are going through. I can have compassion for you, but I will never feel sorry for you because I know you too lack nothing and have everything you need within you to journey through any situation. When I tell you what to do then I am saying I do not think you are intelligent enough, smart enough, or talented enough. Because I respect those in my life, I know they have all that they need within them to make the choices they need to make about their life.
Does that mean I never offer suggestions, no. however, I never tell anyone what to do? If asked, I tend to ask questions that help those I love tap into that strength within them and make choices out of love and not out of fear. Do I ever fall into my old ways? From time to time, however, now I try to catch myself before I go into full-blown control mode and look within myself to see why I am trying to control someone else and what within me is feeling out of control.
This is what Respect means to me. This is what I give to me and to those in my life. R E S P E C T; thank you Aretha.