Do these sound familiar?
How do I know if I am worthy of respect?
Should I respect him/her?
I must earn their respect!
I want to be respected!
In the examples given it is assumed that respect is external and therefore, it must be earned, like an object that is available only after some type of level is reached. Its interesting that as I write this I place myself in this exact internal position and anxiety starts to develop straight away, there is this deep uncertainty about my worth and my place in the scheme of life. Not a very empowering state is it?
If respect must be earned according to highly subjective standards that vary greatly from person to person, we are constantly insecure, uncertain about were we stand in relation to another. We may have to little of it and act inferior to others, or we may feel others do not deserve to have it and so we feel superior, above the crowd, king/queen of the hill, untouchable by the less worthy. Sound familiar?
Perhaps we can think about respect in a different way.
What if respect is Not something external? What if respect is something you are born with? Something that is an integral part of you. What if respect is something you can only give?
If respect is something I have simply because I am alive, them it is something I have in relation to the world within me and by extension, the world around me. In other words I respect others, I respect everything, and by showing this respect for others, others will recognize what was theirs all along, even if only for a brief instant in some cases.
So what would happen if we all simply respect everyone and everything? For many of us this requires some work over time to undo, mental programming and even trauma in many cases. It requires conscious effort and in my opinion it is worth doing, because the world view from this perspective is worthwhile and opens the doors to other issues that are otherwise inaccessible. Also when working with respect we are faced with other concurrent issues such as acknowledging our limits, realizing our potentials, and that “small” issue of boundaries. Yes I respect you, AND I will not allow you to abuse me.
So I believe we can say that respect is impersonal from the perspective that We can experience it for All that exists around us and within us, AND it is also personal when we express it in our words and actions relating to another being.
It appears that respect is one of those “things” that naturally grows within when we give it away freely, no expectations, the more I respect and express this respect, the more I experience respect myself.
In my experience much in life starts with respect, I feel it for you, I give it to you and it naturally grows.