Respect Starts With Ourselves

The heavy rains of the last two days have departed. Everything is washed clean and the morning unfolds beautifully. Out my window I hear birds singing and the creek flowing. It is certainly not a bad way to spend a Monday morning.

I was chatting to a friend last night. She had been treated badly by some people and was looking within herself at why. The subject of self-respect came up.

We are treated badly by people because we either allow it or expect it. The allowing is not usually done on a conscious level. Expecting it may or may not be conscious.

As long as we allow others to treat us disrespectfully, we will not be earning our own respect. When we break these patterns and earn our own respect, others treat us accordingly. We don’t attract such situations anymore. And if we do, we are detached from it as we realise that it is not about us.

For many years I had someone close to me, someone I loved, using me as an excuse for their anger and dumping it on me every chance they could. I became the blame for anything and as a sensitive soul, I took a lot of it on, reacting in ways that only gave them more power.

But as has been said by many wise people, we do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. It is an unfortunate truth. Instead of allowing the thoughts of pleasure to draw us forward it is, more often than not, only the need to avoid any more pain that acts as the catalyst for change.

Look at trying lose weight for example. As much as you dream of being healthier and in your heart want it so much, the success in changing only comes when the pain of being too overweight becomes intolerable. Then the discipline and will to change your lifestyle carries you through. It is the same for anything. We do more to stop pain than to give ourselves pleasure.

When the pain in my own life finally became too much, things changed. I spoke up, at last finding the courage to completely honest. This ruffled feathers and I was considered the worst person in the world for a long time. But I knew that things could not go on as they were and the risk of losing this person from my life was worth it, as it could not go on as it was.

I was breaking patterns that had been in place for years and they did not like it. Despite them behaving in the same ways, they were receiving a different reaction from me. These reactions were honest and mature and no longer gave them any power.

Years on, not only do I have their respect, but I have a loving, nurturing and enjoyable relationship with them. And even more importantly, I have my own respect.

People will treat you as you allow them to. It doesn’t matter if you know them well or not. You attract what you expect, on levels than often run very deep. By healing yourself and eventually improving your own self worth, you then attract a life that supports your sense of who you now are, a life more worthy.

When you reach this stage in yourself, you are then able to look at the anger or frustrations of others with a detached compassion. It doesn’t mean that you do not care. It only means that you are not willing to take it on anymore. The negative behaviour of others does not serve your own wellbeing. You then look at the person who is giving you the angst with compassion. You realise it is not about you. It is their own suffering.

The best thing you can do towards earning the respect of others is to be honest and work towards respecting yourself. And be compassionate with yourself. You have to have compassion for your own humanness. None of us are perfect. And if you can remember this, you can look at others and yourself compassionately. In turn, this will help to heal.

If you stumble and treat yourself in a way that is not respectful, acknowledge your humanness with loving compassion, and keep going.

It is a gradual process, but when you earn your own respect this way, others will treat you well. We are all learning and that will always continue, but if you are working towards self respect in a loving way, life will not deny you improved quality in your relationships. You will attract it naturally.

So if others are treating you in ways that are not suitable, look at your own expectations and see where this treatment is really coming from. You cannot save anyone else. You can only save yourself.

If you want to change the way others treat you, start by being gentle on yourself, be compassionate with your own humanness and try to treat yourself kindly.

The rest will follow naturally.