Just recently, at the age of 22, I realized there was one thing lacking from my life. From all the things that I thought I needed in life, from all the things I aspired to and dreamt of, there was one thing missing that I never, even for a second, thought I needed. One thing that was more important than all of the things that I could add unto myself. That one things was impairing my ability to lead a happy, exciting, mature and fulfilling life. The irony is, the only person that could give me that one simple thing, is myself. One thing that I had a right to by my very birth, one thing that no one could even forbid me from having.
That thing is self respect.
To respect my needs, wishes, dreams, opinions, attitudes. To respect my body. To respect my being.
Once I started treating myself as a best friend, once I learned how to say No when I want to, how to express my thoughts and emotions in their fullest, and how to invest my time and energy into my goals and dreams, my whole life transformed. I always had the power and ability to do and achieve anything I ever wanted, I just forgot about it. Needless to say, other people started respecting me more as well.
After self respect, respect for others came naturally. Realizing that I deserve respect just by breathing, I started respecting anyone else who is breathing as well. No exceptions. A person who doesn’t give respect, doesn’t respect themselves.
Respect is more important even than love. In fact, respect is a precondition for love.
To be in a love relationship with someone, and not respecting them as a individual with their own set of needs, attitudes, opinions, wishes and dreams, separate and different than yours, is not loving them at all. And by respecting them I mean putting your obsessive attachment and jealousy as secondary to their needs and wishes.
In order to love somebody, you first have to respect their individuality, uniqueness and being.
The person you love is not your “soulmate”. That person is not your other half. You are not living the same life. You are having different and separate lives, you just chose to share them with each other.
Respect for the life of your partner is more important than their responsibility for your relationship.
Only two individuals with respect for each other can love each other.
Any comment/discussion is more than welcome. Thanks :)
@brutishbeaver, Well said Brutish Beaver. But I have to disagree when you say respect is a precondition for love I think it’s actually the other way around.
But then you say [all those things] “is not loving them at all” which is very true, it’s not true love.
Only two individuals with [true] love for each other can respect each other, because unconditional love stems outwards into respect, trust, and everything else.
Yes, in a way i could agree with you as well Daniel.
There is a big difference between true love, and what we are taught in our modern culture about love.
True love is always unconditional, and in a way you could say that it is a precondition for respect. Since loving somebody unconditionally is basically accepting them as they are, total acceptance of that individual, which is actually respecting them.
One could also say that acceptance is a precondition for true love and respect. Or that respect is a precondition for acceptance and true love.
I guess on some higher level true (unconditional) love = acceptance = respect. Its three different names of one much higher dimension/reality/feeling?
Its just a personal choice of what are you going to choose to start with. Either of three always leads to the other two.
There is a difference between respecting an effort and the result of the effort. Respecting the effort is easy. Just because it’s easy it doesn’t mean it’s what you need. A person needs more than respect just for breathing. One can be grateful for breathing, but the one breathing may be the one that suffocates someone else. Respecting the outcome of that effort is when respect actually grows.
@trek79, Since heroin is a more potent form of opium, according to that comparison, respect should be a more potent form of love? Or if is it just a sub-category it should be a part of it? If you can really branch out love on sub-categories, i wonder what are the other sub-categories and how many are there?
@beyond, If there is effort in love, than there is a goal behind that effort. If there is a goal in love, is it really unconditional love? Shouldn’t love be for itself? Not for something? If you are loving somebody for the things they do, are you loving them or are you loving the outcome of the things they do?
“Just because it’s easy it doesn’t mean it’s what you need.” Are you asking for something you need or are you loving that person?
If you ask me, every living thing deserves respect just by being born into this world. Life deserves respect.
@cobra, thanks for your compliment Cobra, im pretty sure i could have figured out these things much later in life, but then again, somehow i feel like I could have had it long ago. You are awesome as well :)
@brutishbeaver, Yes, Heroin is a refined opioid, respect is a refined version of love, that is my point. Love exists naturally, opium exists naturally, we take love and we find, through our cognitive processes, the best way to apply the spirit of love, just as we take opium and we find medical applications for its natural potency.
@beyond,Yeah my bad, I just realized you didn’t mention love at all in your first post. But i still kinda disagree with the point that respect needs to be earned. Whether among lovers or non lovers. Not saying that we shouldn’t respect the outcome of somebody effort, but there is no reason not to give basic human respect to every person.
I like the quote, and i totally agree with him. But i could also say that he is talking about self-respect. Since respecting oneself implies all the things that he mentioned. My first part of the original post is basically the same insight. Self-love and self-respect are synonyms in my book. Would love to hear your view on it, if you think they are not the same thing?
@trek79, Interesting metaphor and view on respect. Although, correct me if im wrong, it sounds as if respect is a human made thing. My whole view on respect is that its one of the most natural and basic ways of interacting with another living creature. Whether is it another person, a child, an animal. Everyone has a right to dignity, and is there another way of acknowledging dignity other than respecting it?
@brutishbeaver, In my novel, which has a bunch of religious tones to it, there is a moment where one of my main characters is talking about God, and he says how we have this idea of God and we hold God in the highest regard. But things that we dedicate to him we should also hold in the highest regard, like the Temple, but goes on to say that each and every one of us are dedications to God and so we must treat each other and ourselves is that highest regard.
The difference being that things do not make mistakes but we do, however our mistakes are not a mirror of our hearts, harm inadvertently done by a good heart is a failure of means, not a failure of intent. But people who harm intentionally are not really making a mistake, they are accurately mirroring their heart in their deeds.
I don’t really think respect is much more than an idea, but I would say if anything; a good heart earns more respect by failure than a bad heart could ever earn in success.
@brutishbeaver, I think that because we cannot fully or accurately know the condition of another persons heart, hell many of us are even unaware of the condition of our own heart, that in the case of respect, it is not really our place to measure out in some judgement.
What we do is we try not to harm, and when we do we learn from it so as to avoid that harm repeating, but we also seek to share our finding with others so that they can avoid it also. But people who are not interested in avoiding harm, but rather that is their purpose, we have a right to protect ourselves from that also.
How to do all that without ruining life all together is the age old problem we have always struggled with.
@brutishbeaver, So, you define respect as the same feeling as love? I never thought they’re the same things because love requires closeness while respect doesn’t require trust (Unless a person deserves respect for being loyal for example). Does that make sense?
@beyond, True, you can say anything is love, being horny for kids is just an expression of love, but I don’t think so. Sexual desire is a physical urge, love is an emotion, two different things, but what they have in common is we can put our minds to them, to find justification embrace them or reject them, it doesn’t mean we will listen to ourselves in that justification, but at least we know how we personally feel about it, know if we believe it right or wrong.
Does justifying an act, or inaction, really change anything? We will either do it or we wont, the only difference it makes to us if we believe it right or wrong is how much guilt we put ourselves through over it.