On this edition of Becoming Today we are exploring another element that is highly subjective, oft demanded and far too often not given. But remember that in order to receive R-E-S-PE-C-T you must give of it freely. And that includes first giving it to yourself.
All are elements of common need and desire. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, nor what you have been – are – or will be going through; each and everyone of us truly desires to be treated with Compassion, Dignity and Respect. Plus beyond yearning for, we should feel inherently deserving of them.
Unlocking compassion for others begins with taking care of yourself. “Becoming compassionate is accepting the conscious process of showing kindness and sharing empathy with others, so that we may then decide to assist all those we can.”
So in finding the true meaning of having a sense of dignity, we must comprehend that it starts with the qualities, values and beliefs which we hold and choose to share. Building a healthy sense of dignity is developed over time and requires patience. It is something that is easier said than done, though is quite achievable.
I can hear some of you saying that having dignity sounds a lot like self respect. It is in part though there are some differences. As Respect is the third element, the “R” in our C.D.R.,that’s what we’ll explore now.
Let’s begin by formulating our shared understanding of what respect truly is. The dictionaries first offers us this definition: “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements”. Then continues on with the secondary offering, which I believe should be the primary, “due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others”.
This concept of due regard or having the best wishes for, truly desiring for a shared understanding of another can be further brought along by adding Wikipedia’s explanation of respect, which explains “… also called esteem, is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important or held in high esteem or regard. It conveys a sense of admiration for good or valuable qualities”.
So let’s choose to agree that Respect means accepting somebody for who they are, even though they are different from you or you may not agree with them. Respect builds trust, safety, and fosters healthy attitudes, though these emotions don’t come naturally; they are something you must learn and then share.
Respect also involves treating others the way you want to be treated. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Traditionally recalled as “The Golden Rule”, simply put it is always being considerate of others as well as honoring their feelings, opinions, and property.
Likewise actively and deliberately practicing respect towards ourselves or embracing self-respect is being good to ourselves, holding ourselves in strong esteem, with dignity and compassion. Plus committing to the ideas of self-discipline by making responsible choices in what we say and then taking action to achieve our personal goals, in alignment with our individual beliefs and values. For me that also means working to ensure that My thoughts, attitudes, words and actions are in accord with the Lord.
For additional consideration here are some synonyms for respect:
Actively treating others with respect.
Let’s share some tips that assist with aligning yourselves in a compassionate, dignified attitude to ensure we are opting to be respectful at all times.
Acknowledge people’s basic dignity. All people should be treated as being valued regardless of any status or situation
Have empathy for people, no matter what their circumstances may be. Try your best to put yourself in their shoes. How would you want to be treated if you were living their current experience?
Listen. Intently, carefully and be accepting of what they are trying to say to you.
Encourage others to share their opinions and offer input in the conversation. Remember speaking is only part of having a discussion.
Be accepting of and validate the contributions of others. Respect gives people the space they need to contribute in ways they feel most comfortable. Boundaries remain important.
No gossiping, teasing, belittling, bullying or other non accepting behaviors.
Always be affirming. When you affirm someone,it’s saying and showing that they truly matter, are valued and worthy of respect. Many times this will bolster their ability to more freely practice self-respect.
When in doubt, mirror the actions of someone you consider to be respectful.
So why is respect so important?
Respect allows for us to conduct ourselves as civil within a society. It creates a more accepting attitude when we may be outside of our comfort zone. Dealing with another culture, belief system or those who come from a far different place in life than you may.
When sharing a respectful attitude for and with others it affirms their right to be worthy of receiving it.Then it can encourage all parties involved to live their lives in this manner.
When relationships or experiences between individuals lack respect, they can very quickly become toxic. A state that is very “Un-Becoming”. Meaningful, healthy, and beneficial relationships must and can only exist in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
This is something that was understood to be of such great importance that the Founding Fathers of our nation, crafted these words to do their part to ensure respect would always be accepted as a basic human right:
I pray that you see why respect is without doubt an essential aspect of life. Therefore it must be given and received consistently. Plus each and everyone one of us is due respect, simply because we are all human beings.
We all want respect. We all need respect. We should all, always be desiring to share respect.
Tomorrow we’ll discuss an integral step, a basis for these foundational building blocks of Compassion, Dignity and Respect that we’ve looked at so far this week. In the meantime I’ll leave you with some questions submitted for your consideration:
Do you like yourself?
Do you love yourself?
Do you respect yourself?
Ponder, reflect and rejoin us on the next walk of our shared journey of Becoming Today.