Wisdom is often hard-earned and so it should be regarded with respect. Respect, as it would turn out, is worthy of Aretha Franklin’s level vocals boasting to the rooftops of the necessity of this feeling. The thing about respect is that it is meant to be reciprocal; meaning that the energy flow should in theory be open and acknowledging of boundaries on both ends. There are few greater feelings in this world than gaining the respect of those you admire and care for, including yourself.

When you lose respect for yourself and or others, you start to question many things. You can lose respect for yourself for a whole slew of reasons including feeling shame from trauma that was out of your control. You can lose respect for others for reasons such as experiencing betrayal or just seeing a new side to them. These perceptions can change over time. But in the immediate aftermath of an event that causes you to lose respect for someone, you may overanalyze certain situations or put your guard up in triggering scenarios in new ways. Respect is an integral feeling for balance in relationships, and our relationships are important factors for our balance as well. Factor it all in and consider the coolest thing about the word respect: respect is to be respected.

I have high standards for how I expect to be treated. This doesn’t mean that I am always treated in that manner. Where and when appropriate I will always advocate for myself within my personal relationships, in public and in private with myself. I have been this way my whole life to a certain extent, however, I have also been in abusive relationships. I have been in toxic relationships. And finally, for a period of time, I was a toxic person, mostly to myself. The respect I had for myself varied over time but never wavered past a certain baseline. At my lowest, I felt like I had no one in the world on my side. At my highest, I felt like I had everyone. In the end, I realized I needed one person over everyone, myself, and if I had her then maybe I could create connections that were authentic for me.

As it stands, I succeeded in reestablishing my respect for myself, which led to being able to respect others more fully. I saw over time that I was not alone and that in fact, I have some people in my life that help make it whole. If I hadn’t rebuilt my concept of respect for myself back up again, I don’t know where I would be right now.

And as far as respecting others goes, I will leave you with one last thought. Imagine how much smoother social interactions would go if respect were incorporated beyond common courtesy. Imagine if we went beyond the “Hi, How are you?” robotic approach but took a moment to see the person in front of us. Notice I said a “person,” as in a “human being”. We’re all just human beings looking for connection in some way, shape, or form.

Giveth respect and respect is given.  I’m not sure who said that… maybe Yoda?

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