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Respect Yourself

People Admiring Others, Country Flags

When I hear the word, "respect," the first thing that comes to my mind is to respect your elders. That means I would have heard the statement when I was young. As an adult, we can challenge some of our childhood beliefs and expand our minds so we can be happier.

The definition of respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. With that definition, I conclude that we can respect everyone. Why you may ask? On average, you had a one in a million chance to be born. This is an amazing feat all by itself. If we think in terms of what it takes to be a part of this world, then just the fact that we exist would garner respect.

Before we talk about respecting everyone, we first need to talk about respecting ourselves. This may be a new concept if you believe respect comes from outside yourself. Here are some ways to gauge your own self-respect.

1. Do you listen to yourself? Do the words you speak about yourself show self-respect? Or do you use demeaning words?

2. Do you honor your own thoughts and emotions? First, are you aware of your thought processes and in touch with your feelings? By owning them, you empower yourself.

3. Do you accept and value your contributions? Do you take pleasure in your achievements? Do you understand that even a smile or encouraging words to a colleague can make a difference?

4. Do you express your opinions in an atmosphere of collaboration? Do you give your ideas credence and regard others with the same enthusiasm?

When you interpret something as disrespectful, what do you do? As an elder, I now take time to see if I am disrespecting myself first. For example, I received this email from a woman who wanted to interview me on a talk radio show.

She said that she and her colleagues were at a seminar given by you that they thought was "fabulous." I had a chance to take
a look at your book on Meditative practice. I'm sure MANY people have told you they could have written the same thing! Me too!

After reading this portion of the email three times, I felt disrespected and irritated. So, I spent some time exploring my own thoughts about my book. What I discovered was that I needed to value my book achievement more. Another decision I made was to believe that she did not intend to diminish my accomplishment. This helped me to realize a few ways that I needed to respect myself more.

I encourage you to look at how you treat yourself. If you find situations where you feel disrespected, is it because you are doing that to yourself, or is the person simply mirroring your own attitude? Do you accept and value your contributions?

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