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45. Respect

Respect is consideration, appreciation and acknowledgement for being, action, behavior or relationship consistent with our values, principles and/or beliefs.  We respect how someone or something is, what they do, how they behave, or their relationships, based on how that fits our values, principles or beliefs.

Every being on Earth deserves respect from other beings on Earth, just for being fellow beings on Earth.  We share that connection and condition.  We’re all related to each other and impact each other as fellow Earth beings, and we each deserve basic respect from others for this shared relationship.

 

In Nepal and northern India, “Namaste” is a common greeting.  Delivered with hands pressed together in front of the heart, as in prayer, Namaste basically means “I acknowledge and respect the same divine spark of light and life in your core being that’s within me as my core being and connects us all as one.”  It’s a beautiful, unifying greeting that applies to all, and it initiates and closes contact in a positive and connecting way.  It shows common respect for all, and personal respect for the other, as not truly other.

In the U.S., we say “How are you?” and pray nervously others don’t take the question seriously and just respond with a habitual “fine,” so we don’t actually have to acknowledge, engage with or respect them.  That greeting doesn’t show respect, because it’s not a genuine question.  It’s a fake display of concern and connection that’s usually disrespectful because it’s fake and automatic.

At a basic level, there is only us; there is no such thing as them.  At a minimum, let’s show basic respect for each other, at least by acknowledging that we are each one of us.  Hey you, who are one part of we.  I acknowledge you as one of us.  No matter what our other differences are, I hope you are doing well, as one of us.  I hope your spirit is alive, thriving, expanding and growing, because that’s good for all.

Respect is recognition, appreciation and expression of regard.  Beyond this basic level of respect from each, for each, as one of us, respect is earned by being, doing, behavior and relationship.  What we are and do and how we behave and are connected with others determines how we are regarded.

 

We respect those who achieve states of being we would like to achieve, or believe it’s important that at least some of us achieve, because it’s good for us.  Generally, the higher the state of being; the higher the respect.  Higher states of being, like Enlightenment, Samadhi and Nirvana, tune to higher energies, like love, compassion, joy and bliss, and create expanded awareness, union and new capabilities. 

They are virtuous and deserve respect, because these states and energies improve harmony, lives, relationships and environments for all.  They represent positive evolution in the dimension of consciousness, our spiritual purpose.  Those who achieve, reflect and radiate higher energies and states, and help others do so, deserve our respect.  They pioneer and represent existential progress.

We respect things people do and people who do them when we appreciate what is done, as a form of gratitude or admiration.  Generally, that is about reflecting values and principles or doing something we believe in.  We respect actions, results and doers of actions that create things we’re glad to see done. 

If we value beauty, we respect someone who creates something beautiful, and that something beautiful.  If we value justice, we respect someone who does something fair, and that something fair.  If we value helping others, we respect someone who helps others, and what they do to help others.

 

We respect character, integrity and behavior when they reflect our values and principles.  When someone behaves in ways we appreciate, ways that make us feel good, or ways that exemplify our values and principles and beliefs, we respect them.  Cool.  That is reward and encouragement for honoring and modeling character, integrity and behavior that represent our values and principles.

Does someone deserve additional respect just for possessing money?  Nope.  Money isn’t real.  Merely possessing money does not reflect any way of being, action, behavior or relationship, which are real.  One may have money as a byproduct of being or doing something that reflects our values and principles.  If so, that’s what we respect.  One can be rich and a pig earning little respect.  The money is irrelevant. 

Does someone deserve our respect simply for having a job title?  Initially, maybe.  If it represents a role or function intended to be or do something that reflects our values or principles.  But merely having a job title doesn’t prove any way of being, action or behavior.  Being or doing something that reflects our values and principles earns respect.  In the end, the titles are irrelevant.  Plenty with titles don’t deliver.  It’s a prevalent problem that we don’t respect many of our leaders, because their actions and behaviors don’t reflect our values and principles, in spite of their titles.

Groveling before one with money or position, just because they have money or position, as if in respect, is subservience to power, or greed for money or power.  Only respect that which is worthy of respect, what genuinely reflects our personal values, principles and beliefs.  Giving unearned respect is disrespectful of the value of respect.  It dilutes and devalues respect as a currency.

Respect is something we empower ourselves with to promote our values and principles.  By honoring others with respect, we encourage them to be, do and behave according to our values and principles.  Respect is a currency, a reward that is at least as real as money.  Let’s pay with respect only for that which promotes our values and principles.  Paying respect for anything else creates problems. 

To be able to do that, we need to know our own values and principles.  What is important to us?  Showing respect for something inconsistent with our conscious or unconscious values and principles is paying for services never delivered.  Showing respect is a way of honoring our values and principles.

 

There are formal methods of showing respect, such as public awards, but for the most part respect is shown through our words and behaviors towards others.  Acknowledgement of respect is an action.  Even if respect exists, it is unknown without acknowledgement or communication.  To encourage others with respect, we need to express it.  Otherwise, it has no power.  It’s like money not in circulation.  Showing respect for something we do not respect and not showing respect for something we do respect are problems related to respect between people, miscommunications providing false signals. 

Many problems with respect are internal.  We judge ourselves harshly and don’t respect ourselves, because our own being, actions, behaviors and relationships are inconsistent with our own values and principles, often unconsciously.  We lose respect for ourselves when we’re not true to our own beliefs.

We may work for a company, do a job, consume things, be in a relationship, behave in certain ways, think something, do something, be something, react in certain ways, or carry energy that’s inconsistent with our own personal values and principles.  When we do that, it creates an internal conflict.  There is dissonance within us.  That throws us off balance and hurts our performance.  It can even make us sick.  Working to bring ourselves into alignment and integrity with our own personal values and principles is essential for self-worth, self-respect, self-harmony, feeling good and being good.

Every being deserves respect as a fellow manifested spirit experimenting with life experience.  After that, we need to know our own personal values and principles, what we think is valuable and important, in order to know what to respect.  Reward ourselves and others by communicating additional respect for what is consistent with our values and principles.  Do not show respect otherwise.  Above all else, work to bring our own being, actions, behaviors and relationships into harmony with our own personal values and principles, so we respect ourselves.  If we respect ourselves, it is more likely others will too.

 

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