It is common to think that you respect someone by admiring them, wishing to be like them or by being courteous and kind towards them. When you look at the true meaning of respect it means engaging with people in a non-judgemental, accepting and unconditionally loving way—without exception. Even if they are doing and saying things you don’t like.
When you truly respect someone you may not like some of their behaviours, but you can let them know in a loving way. However, you do not see these actions as the person they are. Everyone possesses different values and agreeing on everything is just not possible. You must remember that every person essentially is kind, loving and wise, even if you may not agree with them.
Easier Said than Done
Why is it that you can judge and criticise those that are different from yourself? It is often because of your conditioning, where you were taught to evaluate others that are different from yourself. In your natural state, you would never criticise another as it would be like judging yourself. When people seem different and you don’t understand why, their differences can make you feel frightened or insecure.
You may have been hurt in the past, so you criticise others in an effort to keep your distance and avoid getting hurt ever again. The problem is that this also prevents you from experiencing true and meaningful relationships. By closing off or shutting down from others, it prevents you from expressing and experiencing love and joy in a way that makes you feel whole and alive.
What Gets in the Way
People may not be able to show you true respect at all times, this can be for a wide variety of reasons rooted in their past experience. Develop empathy towards the reasons they are behaving the way they are—they may be overwhelmed by their pain. They may never have been shown true respect in their whole life and may not know how to give it. You may be the first person they’ve known who is able to respect them.
Alternatively, you may not respect others for your reasons. Take notice of when you are not respecting someone else, as this awareness will help you to grow and develop new patterns of behaviour. It is important, to be honest with yourself, your conditioning and past experiences. Look at any limiting beliefs such as no one respects me. This may have been true in the past, but it does not have to be true for you now. Every time you are aware of yourself thinking a limiting belief, change it to one that serves you, one for your highest good and that will become, your self-fulfilling prophecy.
Feeling whole and connected
Through personal development and gaining new life skills, it is possible to heal those parts of yourself that have been wounded in the past. Rather than shutting down or being defensive; when you take the time to heal yourself, you will no longer feel hurt and alone, but loving and connected instead.
When you are no longer carrying around unresolved feelings from your past such as anger, hurt, betrayal, sadness or disappointment, it will allow you to engage with others in fresh, loving and present ways. You will no longer see them through the rose coloured glasses of your past hurts and will be free to form deep and loving relationships.
Unconditional love assists you to see past their behaviours, and see them for who they truly are. When you feel whole and connected, you can hold and maintain an unconditionally loving space for those around you, who have been wounded. You can respect and be respected.
Innately you want to be loved and respected and it is common that when others fall short of your expectations, you feel disappointed. Generally the higher expectations you have of others (unless they are empowering expectations) the less happiness and respect you will experience.
It is okay to have expectations when your intention is to empower others. For example, you may expect your child to attend school, so they can develop a love of learning and ultimately a career that they will love. However, you can easily be conditioned or fall into the trap of expecting that other people need to do things in the way that you want (even if it is not right for them) to make you happy.
It can be common to let your happiness be determined by other people doing the things that you want. It is normal to have expectations in certain areas of life, but for your own health and well-being, don’t let your happiness be related to your expectations of others.
Expecting the best of people around you, can mean creating a positive aspirational environment, an empowering vision, where they can thrive. However, if you get upset when it’s not done in exactly the way you would like, this is not respecting the fact that others have the capability of doing things in different and equally valuable ways. If someone is constantly living under the pressure that you will have an emotional reaction if they do not do things exactly the way you would like, you are creating an environment of fear. You may get what you want in the short term, however, in the longer term, you are not creating life-enhancing, safe and secure loving relationship.
When others overstep your boundaries, it is important to give them open and honest feedback. In a healthy happy relationship, it is important to feel like you are in a safe and loving environment. For example, when it comes to addictions or intense anger issues, someone may be projecting their pain onto you. In this case, you may need to set a boundary that, this is not acceptable. They may need professional help and you may have to confront them to seek it, if they are unable to do so themselves.
Ensure that your feedback is coming from a loving, wise place, rather than being critical or judgemental. Never try to sort something out when you or the other person under the influence of substances or reacting; as this will only inflame the situation and it could become even become dangerous.
Alternatively, if you have been traumatised in the past you may be projecting your fears onto the relationship, which in reality is, safe and secure, however you are unable to feel it. That is why it is important to take the time to heal past wounds, so you feel clear and present in your current relationships.
During this process, it is important not to see the persons actions and words as their true selves. This is only their behaviour. It is helpful if you see them as kind, loving and wise and in time they may see themselves as that too!
People are not their behaviours
People act out based on their past negative conditioning and fear. When others are acting out, negative behaviours or being judgemental it is usually due to their own fear, insecurities and pain. To really respect someone it is important to develop the ability to control your thoughts when you see something that they are doing that is not right.
Saying you don’t like it in your head is one thing, however, having expectations that they will do it the way you would is another thing altogether. Saying your happiness relies on the way I think you should do it, is another thing altogether—this is called conditional love.
When you create an environment where the people around you have to behave in a certain way to make you happy, the foundation of your relationship is shaky and insecure. People will feel like they are walking on eggshells and they have to focus on pleasing you rather than being true to themselves.
It is normal to think when someone arrives late: You are late. However when you think: You’re late and that makes you bad or wrong, this is immediately casting a judgement and will put a division between yourself and the one you are judging. If you don’t like what is being done, make a suggestion as to the way you would like things to be done, rather than making them a bad person.
When you say I don’t like that behaviour, however, I love and respect you regardless of your behaviours—that is true unconditional love.
The True Source of Transformation
Train your mind to be stable and calm even when people do things that you do not like. This is true empowerment as you are not letting others behaviour determine your behaviour! When your mind is unsettled it sends to them negative-energy that interrupts the flow of your loving connection.
If someone else is truly comfortable with their way of doing things, why are you trying to change them? Unless of course, it is addictions or intense anger, that negatively affect you. If possible, rise above trying to change them, as resistance usually maintains the problem. You will connect with them out of mutual respect, as you value them as they are.
Some people have never been shown true, deep loving respect their entire life. When you model how to create a secure, loving respectful place, it provides them with a safe space if they do need to grow and transform.
If your mind is not calm and stable the majority of the time, meditation can help you to create one that is. If you would like to learn how to meditate see: How to develop a peaceful mind.
The world inside is the only one we can control where
as the world outside will never ever be right according to us.
You can certainly have a positive influence in relation to others and inspire them to act in empowering ways. That is very different from expecting them to act in specific ways to make you happy. You may not approve of the words or the actions of others, however, you can always respect their essence as a fellow human being.
The True Meaning of Respect
To truly respect another there is no judgement, criticism, blaming, controlling and this includes of yourself! When you apply these universal laws to yourself you create self-respect. When you turn off your inner-critic, you can hear your innate, inner voice, that is kind, loving and wise.
It is normal to respect someone up to a certain point and then if what they do or say does not fit in with our paradigm, our way of thinking we lose respect. We can see people as either being right or wrong, rather than just accepting them as who they are. When you judge someone as wrong the energy between you becomes negative. Unconditional love changes to conditional love.
True respect means creating a loving space for yourself and others. True respect means accepting people even if they are not perfect, and not waiting for them to be perfect before you will accept them.
It is common to think that you or others need to be the brightest, richest, skinniest or most fun to be loved and respected. However being your loving present self is enough to be loved and respected.
Hold an unconditionally loving space for just one person for an entire day. Hot tip: don’t start with the most challenging person in your life, who pushes your buttons the most!
Try for one day without a running commentary in your head about other people. Separate yourself from being enmeshed with them. Let them be as they are while you are as you are. Feel the freedom.
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