This blog is an extension of my soon-to-be-published book, RESETTING RESPECT: The Attitude Adjustment that Just Might Lower Your Stress Level and Save the World! In the book I ask for more than just a heightened attention to respect. I explain and ask for a 180-degree shift in the way we offer respect. As simply put as I know how: because everyone and everything have value, everyone and everything deserve respect. But that’s not the way we do it. We make everyone and everything earn our respect, and in the process we do a lot of damage to people and things we just don’t understand. I believe that, if we were to offer respect to everyone and everything automatically, right out of the gate, we would support and enhance all people and all things, including ourselves, and in the process make for a safer, saner, happier and healthier world for us all. That’s the reset. That’s what I’m asking for.
But what does respect look like? Well, respect isn’t always “please” and “thank you.” It varies greatly depending on the situation and the person or people involved. In Resetting Respect I offer a formula of sorts that will determine what the respect should look like in any given situation. The formula goes like this: I propose that I should live my life according value to all objects — to all people and to everything around me. If I automatically acknowledge that an object has value, it is likely I will give it attention. By giving the object attention, it is more likely I will look for/become aware of its specific value, and I will be more open to discovering what it needs to maintain that value. If an object has value and I know what it needs to maintain that value, I have an inherent responsibility to fulfill that need. Fulfilling that need will require my action. That action will be an act of respect.
So that’s the theory, that’s the equation. But what does respect look like? Well, it might be giving your child your undivided attention when they want to explain Pokemon to you. Or it might be brushing your cocker spaniel frequently so her fur doesn’t become matted and uncomfortable. It might be composting the yard waste and table scraps rather than just dumping them all in the garbage. It might be avoiding outdated terms like “handicapped,” “crippled,” or “retarded.” It might be acknowledging and apologizing for a mistake to a business associate and then fixing it if possible. It might be meeting a homeless person’s eyes and smiling. Respect is acknowledging someone or something’s value and then doing something to help them maintain or improve on that value.
Seems simple enough. But changing a mind habit does not happen overnight. So sharing stories of respect in action, or the lack thereof, provides a good way to begin the reset. To get the ball rolling, I’m going to post some Respect and What It Looks Like vignettes from encounters in my daily life. I hope you’ll begin to keep an eye out for respectful situations in your life, or those lacking respect, and then email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll post or edit and post them here with my comments.
I’m looking forward to learning your thoughts and hearing your stories. Just as we all have value, so, too, we all have a lot to learn from each other, our individual experiences, and our perspectives. So let’s take advantage of all that. Let’s get the discussion going!