Just like the sailor respects the power of the sea, we have to remember each day to have that respect for ourselves and for life. Respect is something that we talk (or sing) about a lot. We all want to be respected. We want to have people believe in us. And we want them to care enough or at least acknowledge that we deserve to be treated in a respectful manner.
A lot of times we feel that people fail to respect us the way we want. We feel that no one respects how much we do at work. They don’t respect what we do at home. They don’t respect the time it takes us to figure things out. They don’t respect our place. They don’t seem to have much regard at all for the way we want things to go or the way we want our life to turn out. It can be frustrating. And though it would be nice if respect were really just always reciprocal, it doesn’t necessarily work like that.
We can spend all of our time being kind to others, working hard for our bosses, or whomever we have to please, only to have it returned without acknowledgement or even ridicule. The important thing to remember about respect is that respecting ourselves is one of the most beneficial things we can do. And these are the keys to doing it:
- Respect who you are. This means you have to respect that you are you. You are no one else. And you are worthy just as you are of all of the good things life has to offer simply by being you.
- Respect your power. The things you say and do have power. We can’t take back the things we say or do. They remain. We can apologize, and we can hope for the best, but the things we do cannot be undone. So we have to act with respect. Respect to ourselves and who we want to be. And respect to what we want to accomplish.
- Respect others. We spend a lot of time calling attention to the wrong things when it comes to others. We question what they’re wearing. We question their intelligence. We find ways to make comparisons that are completely unnecessary (and probably detrimental) to our well-being or to theirs. We have to change our focus, move away from those comparative habits and learn to look at ourselves and others without judging.
We have to be able to live our lives happy without ourselves. It’s rare that we are comparing ourselves to others because we are secure ourselves. It’s important that we take the time to respect ourselves enough to know that we should be secure in who we are. We worthy just as we are. We are capable of whatever we want to accomplish. And we don’t have to worry with anyone else. It is time not well spent that we don’t get back. I used to be terrible about talking about people’s outfits or hair or mostly the things that they said or did that I could find a way to make fun of. It wasn’t because I was a happy person. It was because I liked knowing that they weren’t perfect either. That they shouldn’t be considered great, because I wasn’t considered great. But in reality, all that I was doing was wasting time. And I wasn’t wasting anyone’s time but mine. I wasn’t wasting anyone’s mind but mine. Instead of focusing on me, and letting the other stuff go, I failed to respect anyone, including myself and it just left me unhappy and unfulfilled.
We all can do great things. We all deserve great things. Life is worth our respect. We have to respect our time. We have to respect ourselves. We have absolutely nothing to gain by failing to respect ourselves, our power, and others. The sailor respects the sea, because it has the capacity to overwhelm their boat with barely a moment’s notice. Storms pop up out of nowhere, and it’s the same in life. We have to respect our life. That’s how we gain the knowledge we need to weather the storms that are thrown our way. So the next time you sing the song, remember, it’s truth. We all deserve respect, so we need to take the time to truly respect ourselves.
When I was working on my undergrad I had a class called motivation. In it we talked about something called “flow theory.” Flow theory talks about this thing that happens that people refer to as flow. Basically, you ask people why they like doing the things they like doing and what’s different about the things they like the most. People typically respond with whatever it is that they like the most, and state that “It just flows” for them.
This was a concept I immediately understand. I had always had things that just flowed for me. When I was younger it was sports. Particularly basketball and softball. For some reason, it just flowed when I played them. I had a natural talent for them. So playing them just made sense to me. I also had that flow with writing. There is a connection that happens when I write. And it just flows. It was nice when I was in school, because I could write papers the night before or in the morning when they were due. And well, procrastination flows for me as well!
But I’ve also found that we can use those things that flow for us to focus our minds. I am one of those people (which I honestly think is at least half of all people) whose mind is constantly going. Thousands of thoughts all going in all directions at one time. Spurred on by stressed. Making decisions nearly impossible. And finding a goal or a path in life nearly impossible. Clinically, it’s probably considered a low grade form of ADHD sans hyperactivity (except this morning when I had some coffee for the first time in a year and It was amazing!). When we can’t slow our minds down and we can’t stop the thoughts and focus we have an attention deficit. But like I said, I have found that I can use those things that flow for me to calm my mind. And if I can pay attention to the fact that my mind is calm, I can use that time to work to find a focus. I can prioritize my problems. I can make a list. I can organize my thoughts in a way that seems impossible otherwise.
It’s important that we pay attention to what we are doing with our time. It’s important that we utilize the tools that we do have at our disposal. We all have something (multiple things) that flow for us. If we pay attention and utilize these things, then we can use them to find our focus. We can use them as tools to guide our lives. We can calm our minds. We can find respite. We can search for the right next move. When we need to know where to go, because we can’t see any doors open for us we can use what flows for us. Let it calm us. Let it move us. Think about what flows for you, then try to see if you can use it to organize your thoughts and figure out different roads you can take. Use it to find a way to get to where you want to be. It may take some practice, but the payoff is worth it. And so are you! 🙂