This morning, when I was trying to decide what I was going to write about today, for some reason the word Respect kept coming to my mind. The more I thought about it, the more I tried to determine what type of respect I was really thinking about. Eventually, it came to me. Respect was not necessarily about who or what, it was also about respecting ourselves and everything around us.
Every day we have to look at life as a gift. The things we have, the people that are in it and even our own personal being. We must care for all of them with a nurturing attitude and show them the respect that they deserve. People often say that respect is earned and not given. To some degree that may be true. However, I also believe to earn respect you have to show and convey respect as an example.
Those that have come into our lives as family and friends always have a choice to be there. How we treat and garden the relationships ultimately leads to the amount of respect that exists between two individuals. Without respect there cannot be trust. Without trust there cannot be a relationship. Each person in the relationship has a responsibility to maintain the level of respect that is necessary for that relationship to flourish. However, I believe in order to achieve that we have to first respect ourselves.
I sometimes stand in front of the mirror and take a long look at myself. Not my physical outward appearance, but deep into my soul. I ask, based upon my actions in life, how people really see me. Do they see me as the person I want to be; kind, compassionate, generous and loving? Or, are my actions in life conveying something different? I ask myself whether or not I respect myself enough to be able to garner respect from others. Basically, am I living a life worthy of respect? When I can answer those questions in the positive and truly respect myself, it is only then that I can fully expect respect to be reciprocated.
Finally, it is equally important to respect things. We work hard for the things we have and sometimes have to do without to understand the importance of material things. Our homes, our belongings, our cars, our personal effects, all of them are a gift of life, whether we worked for them or they were given to us. I truly believe that life only gives when we respect what we are given. What would be the purpose of life giving us more when we don’t even respect what we have?
If you feel that there are areas of your life where respect may be missing, it is not a hard fix to turn that around. The most important place to start is with yourself. Once you have masted the art of personal respect, you will find that it will be much easier to give and receive respect in all other areas of your life. It is when we truly learn to respect life as a whole that it becomes more meaningful for us and all those around us.
Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.