Self Respect

 
 

"Show Me Some Respect"

"That is disrespectful"

"You are disrespectful"

Can You believe how little respect people have?"

 

You've made the accusations.  you've posed the questions.  there's nothing wrong with having done so or having felt a certain way or for trying to find someone to blame for what is ultimately your own to honor and take care of.  we innately do this when we aren't aware of the power in owning our role. 

disrespect is the most common thread in arguments, miscommunication, violence, oppression, inequality, etc.  The misnomer that has this being such a common theme and go-to reason for injustice is that you actually believe another is to blame for the amount of respect you receive and the disrespect you experience. 

the truth: 100% of how you are treated is dependent on you. 

Now i know that raises some eyebrows and causes some serious indignation.  I am sure you have 1000s of instances, examples and stories to illustrate inequalities and unfairness in your personal experience and that of the world.

I am not talking about fairness or inequality, though.  living a life where fairness and equality are goals is living a life where you want to be an underdog.  There is no such thing as fairness and, at our current phase of evolution, the collective human consciousness cannot conceptualize, accept or embrace equality.  The overarching belief system is that we don't have enough, we aren't enough and we are in danger.  so, what do people do?  they shove each other out of the way, segregate, dominate and diminish one another.  we can all hold space for this to shift dramatically all of a sudden

or

we can dial it back to a more feasible, specific and measurable goal for each and every one of us that's a little closer to home.

or home itself...and by that I mean,

within yourself. 

in order to experience yourself as heard, honored and respected, not one thing about the world around you has to change.  what has to be cultivated and changed is how diligently and wholeheartedly you listen to, honor and respect yourself. 

when your focus is on how others treat you, you are giving away your power.  what you deem as respectful is different than what each an every other person deems as such. 

your values are your own. 

your triggers and sensitivities are your own. 

your desires, wants and needs are your own. 

your boundaries are your own too. 

you determine all of these aspects of who you say you are and, guess what...

  1. you are the only one who can say what is tolerated and what is not for YOU.

  2. it is 100% your responsibility to communicate what is acceptable and what is not acceptable to you, why that is/is not and what you need.

  3. absolutely no boundary breech happens when you communicate and hold your ground...NONE.

So, if it's all on you (which is empowering, just so your little screaming ego knows), then you need to use your voice and the self-knowledge, self-care and self-trust you've cultivated through the harvest method to practice, build and protect your self-respect.

here's to this month's focus, the final pillar of the harvest method -

self-respect.

before you go doing some throat opening meditation or assertiveness training to get your voice speaking, let's start with honoring the foundation of respect within you.

what do you value?

it changes.  don't believe the hype.  your values are not life-long.  even the core values you think are you and your M.o. and the truth for all that is and all that isn't...they change too.  they change as you change.  think about it.  the religious or social values that you were presented as a child...do you still walk around with that dogma leading you?  the model of relationship you received from you parents/caregivers, the families and friends that surrounded you, the culture, city, neighborhood you grew up in...are you living and having relationships now exactly as those suggested?  have you had any experience of leaving a small space, maybe a small town or a junior training of some sort to enter the big pool, where you're not #1, but one of many like you.  Did your values and outlook remain the same?  did you care at all about money when you were young?  do you now?  has that transformed?  what do you want to be and do?  is it the same as when you were asked when you were 3?  NO. no. no. no.

why?  because your values have changed because your eyes have opened, your perceptions have shifted, you've learn things.  life has taught you and you are in a new position each and every day that, very healthfully requires that you assess and reassess your values.  so what are they right now?

Get out a piece of paper and make the following lists.

who are the top 10 people you value?

what are the top 10 things you like to do?

where are your top 10 places?

what are the top 10 things you'd like to own?

what are your top 10 rules to live by?

what are your top 10 dreams for the future?

  •  Look at your top ten list of people. Are those who are listed mostly friends or family? Are they people you’ve known for a long time? Are they people you know well, or admire from a distance? What qualities of character, if any, do these people share (examples could include honesty, loyalty, perseverance, kindness, etc.)?

  • Look at your top ten list of things you like to do. Are they things you do with others or alone? Do you mostly use your body, your mind, or both to do them? Can you do them near your home, or must you travel? Do they cost a lot of money, or are they free?

  • Look at your top ten list of places. Are they near or far? Do you like to go there alone or with other people? Are they all real or imaginary? Do they cost a lot of money, or are they free?

  • Look at your top ten list of things you’d like to own. How do these things reflect your values? If, for example, your list is filled with clothes, does this mean you value looking good?

  • Look at your top ten list of rules to live by. What qualities of character do these rules reflect?

  • Look at your top ten list of dreams for the future. Are these dreams important to you? How will you feel when you accomplish these dreams?

the people, places, and things that are important to you, as well as the rules that you live by, reflect who you are and what you value. we all have things that we value and those values need consideration in every choice we make.  can you see how these can change?  can you see how they can impact communication if you aren't clear in sharing them with others?  can you see that anothers' values can be completely different?  

if you respect your own values, you can construct boundaries and rules to communicate.  in communicating these aspects of yourself, you give others the opportunity to understand you and yourself the practice to extend understanding and respect to others.

One way to build you ability to make decisions based on your values begin asking yourself questions of preference.

  • Would you rather dress up or dress down?

  • Would you rather be on stage or in the audience?

  • Would you rather be an athlete or an artist?

  • Would you rather have dinner at home with your family or go to a restaurant with your friends?

  • Would you rather have every piece of technology in the world or have the ability to travel wherever you like in the world, whenever you want?

  • Would you rather be popular with a lot of fair-weather friends or have one very loyal friend?

  • Would you rather be healthy but poor or sick but very rich?

explore these and deeper questions.  think about why you make the decisions you do in your answers.  these reasons illustrate deeper assessment of values and preference.  self-respect comes from honoring you and your values.  

when you've honed these values and preferences the practice comes in resisting pressure to make decisions that are not compatible with your individual personal values.

once you know what’s important to you, you must live by those values, even in the face of pressure. this is self-respect.  can you see that self-respect is more important than having the respect of others?  self-respect is defined by your own value system, while the respect of others is defined by their value systems. Since another person’s value system will inevitably differ from your own, your connection to and honoring of you is essential to maintain respectful boundaries.

beyond values, getting in touch with what truly empowers you cultivates self-respect.

  • Does health give people power?

  • Does wealth give people power?

  • Does beauty give people power?

  • Does physical size give people power?

  • Does knowledge give people power?

  • Does popularity give people power?

  • Does the ability to communicate give people power?

many of these are seen as powerful in our world.  but really, each is just an example of what is judged as powerful outside of yourself.  the only true and tested power you have lies in your integrity with yourself and your values and the choices you make that align with you.  that's why personal responsibility is magic.

if you are responsible for what you say goes and what doesn't, honor your values and the boundaries they deem necessary, you are always in the drivers seat.  no matter what chaos, aggression, abuse or unsettling experience comes at you, being true to you leaves you unshakable.  

or as, i like to say...

un-fuckable-with

 

now, if we lived in a cave or on a mountain all by our lonesomes and needed no interpersonal connection, this would all be easy and existence would be peaceful.  in reality, that type of existence would be dull and lonely because humans are wired to connect.  in order to keep your homeland (yourself) secure, developing communication skills that allow you to express your values and needs and create appropriate boundaries is extremely important to coexisting. 

Non-violent communication locks this down.  

but what technique you choose to use doesn't matter.  what matters is that you develop some technique to effectively and respectfully communicate feelings and encourage open dialogue in difficult situations.

An "I-Message" is a technique you can use to express yourself when you are upset or angry that will lead to an open discussion and will not escalate conflict. When you use an "I-Message", people are more willing to listen to you and respond to your requests without becoming defensive. "I-Messages" encourage discussion and help reduce friction.

  • An "I-Message' begins with a statement of feelings.

  • It is followed by a statement of what the problem is.

  • it ends with your reasons for feeling the way you do.

  • It tells others how their behavior affects you, and it avoids using the word “you” at the beginning of a statement. For instance, “I feel hurt when you don’t answer my phone calls or text messages because I feel like I am being avoided by you, and have done something to make you upset.”

although one may feel mad or angry, using aggressive or accusatory language just doesn't work.  learning to understand your feelings, how they actually feel and the needs underneath them is a skill that will forever support your feeling heard, understood, loved and cared for.  one of the biggest fails of western culture is the complete dismissal of feelings.  when children first experience feelings there is little to no way to explain what is actually happening to them.  objects and actions can be defined, feelings and emotions must be learned on one's own.  we don't give space for this learning in our culture and it has a major impact on our ability to communicate.   

the final part of the basics of self-respect is in developing an assertive communication style.  

  • Does everyone have the right to earn respect and to keep their dignity in all situations?

  • Should everyone be able to express opinions?

  • Should everyone be able to ask for what they want?

Yes; they have these rights and so do other people.

Passive people seem to lack confidence and may seem ineffective.  Aggressive people often seem to be offensive and have a strong need to dominate. Often, aggressive people seem to be annoying, pushy, or brash.   Assertive people seem positive, confident, and fair when dealing with people.  Such behavior encourages equality and healthy relationships amongst people. Assertive people stand up for their rights, express themselves honestly and courteously, and respect the rights of others.  there is nothing more effective that being straightforward.  

it all takes practice and, in building self-respect you create a solid foundation and container for all your aspirations.  

these four pillars may seem juvenile and obvious but, are you really living up to them?  are you that in tune with yourself?  focusing an entire month on developing self-respect with these methods will open up a new space for you in your experience of the world but, more importantly, in your experience of yourself.