If withholding respect becomes a practice you think is a game, don’t be surprised when people stop extending respect your way. The more common disrespect becomes the greater chance of experiencing it on a daily basis. The way you treat people defines who you are. It isn’t about the person you disrespect. It’s about thinking you are on another level and last I heard we were all created equal. It is the flawed humanness in us that ranks people. We create the inequality that was never meant to be. It tells a story about what is in our heart and honestly sometimes the picture can be very ugly. I’ve never felt that anyone has ever had to earn my respect. I’ve never felt that I was in a position to determine who deserved what. I may get mad but at the end of the day my heart wins out. My thinking is imperfect. It is tainted by my experiences. Sometimes a person is exactly the way they were meant to be and the real problem is how I have chosen to see them. I was taught to respect people period. It didn’t matter if I liked someone or disagreed on every single thing. Respect was never optional. Now I look around and see disrespect everyplace I look. It’s a dark day for me. I will pick myself up by the bootstraps and I will move on but right now the darkness feels so darn chilly. I am grateful that witnessing bad behavior does not suck me into it. It makes me work even harder to make sure that kindness always comes first. Is respect becoming extinct? I sure hope not because thankfully there is so much good out there to counteract the bad. May goodness prevail.
I just read a great post about the desire of people to have respect and peace in these troubling times. Sometimes what we say and what we do contradicts one another. Hypocrisy is a disease that is growing at an alarming rate. We can’t have selective respect and we certainly can’t have selective peace. We either have it or we don’t. The hypocrisy comes into play when we allow our mind to separate who deserves our respect and who does not. It’s important to remember that we don’t always get what we desire but we do frequently get what we give. So ask that question to yourself and answer it honestly. Am I giving respect or am I giving respect to who I decide deserves it? Am I bringing peace to the world or am I bringing conflict, division and discord? Why do we even feel we are on a level to judge another human being let alone decide if they deserve our respect? We have an over inflated sense of self these days that bonds us with other people and gives us a collective opportunity and excuse to behave badly. We label people in a way that determines if they are on par or beneath us and then we wonder where the world has gone so wrong. The answer is simple and if you took an honest look, it would be clear. We speak out about speech toward one person but then we turn around and use that same hate speech toward someone else after of course we determine that person deserves it. Why can’t people see what is so plainly obvious? Maybe because they would have to admit they practice the same behavior they claim to abhor because well it’s different. Nope. Not different. It’s time we own who we’ve become and to stop making excuses. Let’s bring honesty back and shame hypocrisy into becoming a thing of the past. Let’s prove that peace and respect are truly priorities and then maybe we will see them emerge. We get more of what we focus on. As a whole, does it really appear that Americans practice respect or peace? Is that really their focus? Time to get real and be honest.
I watched a little of the testimony by Jeff Sessions today. I’m not feeling so well and my body decided to force a day of rest on me. I could care less about politics but what I saw today left me feeling somewhat hopeful. As I watched Mr Sessions today I found a role model that has been missing from the world for quite a while. His eyes were warm and not filled with contempt. His voice was soft and respectful, a kindness in his tone I don’t hear very often, including in my own voice. He is a modern day super hero as far as I am concerned because I just don’t see that calm, respectful interaction between people anymore. It is something I long for but try as I may, I have been unsuccessful so far. I hope someday I can speak to others especially when I feel threatened the way I saw him do today. I just thought I’d point it out. I am reminded of the words I wrote in my daughters yearbook earlier this year. Just be you. The world will adjust. We need more people who change the world and less people so easily changed by it.
It was just an ordinary day as I walked through the front door of the yoga studio. From the first moment I spent time in that sacred space, I knew it was special. To be honest, I’ve tried yoga at other places. It’s never been quite the same. What is it about that place that makes me feel so at peace, so at home? Sometimes I forget who I am. My true essence is buried someplace underneath the words people use to describe me. Why did I start to believe them? I am not those words. Maybe to some degree they fit my behavior but I am so much more. More than they see, more than I show. I do it too and I never realized how destructive it was until today. We use adjectives to describe people. We don’t think twice to label them or share our opinion of who we think they are. I realized how much damage some of my own words must have caused, especially for some of the people I love the most. I am supposed to love them and protect them but somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten what my real purpose is in their lives. It’s not to judge or define them. It is to love and accept them exactly the way they are. Why is that so difficult? With each tick of the clock I feel more ashamed. Try as I may, I can’t shake this sadness that overwhelms me. Why do I have this need to define people, label them, assign names to them? You are a disgrace. You are lazy. You are selfish. You are annoying. Oh my God! As I type the words my stomach hurts. I am no better than the people I call out. Why is it not okay for them but fine for me?
Then I got it today, why that studio feels so much like home. There are baskets by the door. Everyone undresses and leaves their shoes and socks and sweatshirts in them. We quietly peel off the labels and place them neatly in the drawers. We leave behind judgement and pride next to our keys. We are all vulnerable there. We are brave. We leave everything outside as we step into that dark room and close the door behind us. I am free. I can breath and the world is lifted off my shoulders. I smile as I lie down on my back. I think to myself, I am so happy to be here today. And then it dawns on me. No one is there to judge or define me and I am not there to do it either. For the next 60 minutes, I feel loved and important and worthy. I feel the weight of my body on my mat grounded into this precious earth. I feel the enormous power of my heart as I feel it beat inside of me. I am love. I am here to love. I have found myself again. This is me peeking out from behind the walls I put up to protect myself. This is me safe from the words people use to define me. I am safe here in my own body, connected to my soul and all I feel is love…
Because I am love.
Sometimes I just forget…
And I’m here to remind you that you are that same love too.
In a world where the negative seems to be winning out, I offer this story of hope. My daughter is 17 years old. Every night her friend group debates a topic in a closed group. They are very diverse in their thinking and each of them has very strong opinions. She allowed me to sit in on their group. I was absolutely amazed at how respectful these kids were toward one another. They were allowed a safe place to express their beliefs without being bullied or ridiculed. Tomorrow I am hosting their “Squidsgiving”. They call themselves group squid and tomorrow, although they are very different, they will sit at the table to share a nice dinner and break bread together. I could not be more proud or grateful that these are the kids my daughter shares her deepest thoughts and most special moments with. They are an example to all of us. They are the hope we so desperately need.
I watch people talk until they are blue in the face to try and change someone’s mind. I see it on Facebook with hundreds of exchanges between people where it is clearly obvious no one is really listening to the other but instead only trying to defend his or her point of view. Why do we do that? Why do we waste precious time and words on something that is never going to make a difference? Sometimes it’s necessary to agree to disagree and just move on. Why this need to feel we are right and have to prove it? Do we ever stop and consider that with some things there is no right or wrong and just a difference of opinion? Take a deep breath, be respectful and move on. Make peace not war. We have enough of that already.
If I had a dollar for everytime I had to do something I didn’t want to do, I would be a millionaire. With parenting comes many responsibilities that take many hours of long work. Sometimes trying to get my kids to do anything is like running head first into a brick wall after already breaking my own neck. Why does it have to be this difficult? Kids question everything these days and they challenge their parents every chance they get. I’ve recognized that it’s just impossible to be their friend and their mother as we all suffer our way through these tumultuous teenage years.
If I’m being completely honest, I must admit that I am, for the most part to blame. They wear me down and I just don’t have the energy or motivation to stay on top of them the way I know I should. I wouldn’t dare disrespect my mother. If she told me to get something done, like it or not, I would get it done. My kids believe they can pick and choose what to do and when to do it because their own needs and rights trump the rights of their parents. The world is out of control and my kids are spiraling right along with it. The selfishness, disrespect for others and lack of concern for anyone but themselves leaves me feeling like I have failed as a parent. I try my best to be an example but I cannot force them or anyone else to follow it. Some days are just so much harder than others and some days I let things get to me more than I should. I guess today is one of those days.