Ever feel like you want to cuddle up in a little ball under the covers and stay there?
I do. But, it seems that we don’t often have that kind of luxury.
Instead, we need to pluck ourselves up, dress ourselves up, and go out into the wild world, ready or not.
And, it’s crazy out there.
There are people rushing around, all with their own agendas, more like ants than people. If we stand still, even just for a minute, we can watch people with their heads down, fixated on their cell phones or the next destination.
Business isn’t conducive to respect, nor are our individual agendas. I can’t really tell if ants respect each other, but I doubt it.
However, people do need respect. We need to be seen by each other, we need to be cared for, and we need approval. We need to feel loved for who we are and what we do. We need this, because it helps us feel happier—it lubricates our days, reducing friction, stress, and loneliness.
I’d like to share three proven ways that we can get the respect we need:
1. Respect comes though our senses. It is being seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted. It is through our senses that we notice one another and are noticed.
Returning our focus to our senses enhances respect immediately. It opens us to the existence of another without judgment. It sends the message: “I know you are there, and I am here.”
That is the message that we send in spaceships headed to distant galaxies, and it is the same one that we need to exchange with each other.
Real respect means being sensed by someone superficially, deeply, and in between. It is looking closely, listening carefully, and feeling the vibrations of another. It is pausing in our busy day and taking a moment with ourselves or another. It is the pause that refreshes, renews, and offers new perspectives.
When two tuning forks are in proximity, one—already vibrating—inspires the other to vibrate as well. The same is true of two people. We each have our own unique signature, our own vibration—and when we share our vibration with another, and them with us, we feel warm inside—connected and wanted.
Feelings not only have to do with touching each other, but they reach deeper into the kind of respect called rapport. At this level, our hearts beat together, our breath coordinates, and our bodies dance together whether touching or not.
We must welcome one another into our senses to show respect.
2. To receive respect, give respect. Don’t be miserly; open up and approve of who others are. Welcome them into the deep recesses of yourself. Hiding is the opposite of respect; opening is what respect is all about. Respect comes back to you many times over, and it ignites a connection with another—so give it freely.
You can respect someone for doing a job, but a much more powerful respect is that which you give for them being who they are. Do this globally and also personally by throwing yourself wide open, including them in who you are.
Interrupt the social patterns of automatically saying, “How are you?”—or answering, “I am fine.” Actually pause, and notice how you are if they ask. Then, say whatever you feel.
And if you ask how they are, actually mean it. Clear a few moments in your busy schedule to listen to how they are.
Give respect to get respect. Flex your ability to respect, and you will gain respectability. Many people aren’t comfortable receiving or giving respect. Practice giving and practice getting respect, and your tolerance for your own goodness will be assured.
3. Drop any pretense. Respect is real; it isn’t an act or a show. It is connecting for real. Small talk isn’t respect, but speaking from your depth is.
So much of what we do in a day involves pretense and undermines respect.
It isn’t your role as a husband, wife, shopkeeper, doctor, or tailor that is worthy of respect—it is who you really are. So no need to use those professions or occupations as a means to gain deeper respect.
A trophy for running fast or a bonus for doing a job well aren’t really respect. They are tokens, symbols, not nearly as rich as respect for your being. Let respect in, and let it wiggle its way into the marrow of your bones.
Being with people just as you are—without a show, without a facade—is where respect really comes alive, and in turn, enlivens us.
Several years ago, I visited Jamaica. Respect is big there. It is printed on T-shirts; the concept and experience of respect is abundant on the street, on the beach, and everywhere that native Jamaicans meet.
Let’s take a lesson from how they do it. They use respect as a foundation, a powerful connection that begins each interaction, and a wholistic welcoming of each other.
Practice opening your senses to respect more. Give respect to get much more respect, and drop your pretenses so that respect can reach deeply into who you really are. Respect enhances the experience of our connectedness and unity.
Respect makes life worth living. Without respect, we are just a whole lot of different people living our separate lives—but with respect, we are a unified anthem to the best of our humanness. We are never alone, and we are always working together for our common interests.
Author: Jerry Stocking
Images: WikiMedia Commons
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Callie Rushton
Social editor: Lindsey Block
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