Respect means that you accept somebody for who they are, even when they’re different from you or you don’t agree with them.
Respect in your relationships builds feelings of trust, safety, and well-being.
Respect doesn’t have to come naturally – it is something you learn.
The above description of respect comes from the Kids Help Line in Australia and is probably the simplest definition I've seen for what respect should represent. The question it leaves me with is how do we embody it? I have many thoughts about that.
It would be nice if we could know that kids are naturally and routinely taught how to be respectful, but that would be naive. I can't say that the circumstances of my own youth provided me the best examples of being respectful. I know that schools do their best to instill respect in students, but the influences that kids are often exposed to outside of school create a strong negative current difficult to overcome. It's not too late when we miss the opportunity to teach our kids to be respectful. There are several things we can do to ensure that respect is present and practiced.
Respect is transcendental.
We need to reclaim it that way. This action needs to come before anything else we may also need to do to heal ourselves and be what others need from us. Reclaiming respect is the first step.
I understand what follows will sound ethereal to many, if not most. I'm fine with that. Transcendental things are ethereal by nature. Not being so wouldn't represent the aspirational state of awareness that requires ascension to achieve. Think of the reclaiming respect process as an awakening; a new day. Respect turns our gaze to the east where people feel the warmth of a new sun. Like an infant child, they stare with wonderment at the world surrounding them and begin to simply realize they are part of a complex world; they are learning to be part of something infinitely bigger than themselves. They are confronted by the fact that the world they encounter is one they can't successfully navigate on their own. They're completely dependent on that world for safety and care. Respect begins to form within their psyche as they realize their survival depends on it. They also get a new opportunity to realize the imperative to be respectful with every sunrise witnessed.
It doesn't matter what we do if we don't first reestablish a sense of respect. We can't move forward until this happens. Our survival depends on it.
Feeling respect starts with an implicit realization fo the importance of learning. It means finding answers to the questions “Why and How.” Answers to these questions point us toward our purpose. Our purpose reveals those who can help us fulfill it. It's easier to realize our purpose when we walk the path of discovery with others. Respect leads to learning and the establishment of self-identity, It orients us toward the evolution from dependence to independence, and then the higher levels of function involved in interdependence. The ultimate realization, and the one that defines respect as authentically transcendental, occurs when we arrive at a place where we feel not only a deep calling to practice respect but also an implicit responsibility to teach others how to be respectful.
So, back in the physical world, how does this look, sound, and feel?
It looks like...
"Kids Help Line- Respect." Kids Help Line Australia, bit.ly/3mfDXcL. Accessed 7 Apr. 2023.