Ingredients to Create a Blissful Life #44: Respect

Hello again! Can you believe we are in November? This year has been a rather big one for me and it seems amazing that we are almost through it. They say time moves faster and faster the older you get and I must say it seems to be true. LOL This week is your 44th Ingredient to Create a Blissful Life (WOW!)

Your ingredient for this week is: Respect

What a word. Respect is one of those concepts that I’ve struggled with. Not from the position of respecting others. To say that concept was drilled into our heads as children would not be an overstatement. For me it’s been about how it relates to self.

Interesting that for most of my life I have lived in a space of “there’s not enough for everyone” or if I were to have something, someone else would do without. Have you ever lived in that space? It’s not much fun. So if I respected myself, that somehow meant that I wasn’t respecting others and because that was what I was taught I was supposed to do… I know, the logic is a bit wonky, but somehow that is how it worked.

So here’s the beautiful thing. At some point a few years ago, I heard a quote. It was from Marianne Williamson and something inside me started to shift. Have you noticed that often, the biggest changes are caused by something that makes you ask a question or consider something from a different perspective? Here’s the quote just in case you’ve never heard it:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Religious beliefs aside, there is some huge truth in this statement! Take a moment to absorb that if you haven’t already.

Now let’s take it just one step further. What if the world, and by extension, every single person, animal, plant – every living thing – NEEDS you. Consider this. You are a piece of the fabric that makes up this world at this precise moment in time. Right? And every piece is necessary in order to make something what it is, right? If you’re struggling with this, just ask yourself what happens to a cake if you mix up the sugar and the flour. One small change and the thing is completely different, isn’t it?

So follow the line of thought one step further. If every piece is necessary in order to make our world what it is and you were not here… it couldn’t be what it is. It’s the ripple effect or the butterfly effect you hear people talking about. One small ripple can affect millions.

Not very long ago, I was thinking about this plan I have to work with women. At the time I was thinking about a centre I’d like to build for abused women and their kids. It’s not a shelter – there are already places for emergent care – it’s a place to go to learn life skills and to re-build you. My belief is that a person will not tolerate abuse if they feel they deserve better. That means that in order for chronic abuse to take place, the “victim” (I hate that word) must be in a space of feeling without value. So this place I am working to create will help people learn their value and the life skills that will reinforce that they deserve better.

Now, I get very excited sometimes and this particular day, I was getting very excited about this creating process and I realized something that blew my mind. If even one single woman learns something or gains something from something she experiences at my centre that stops her from tolerating mistreatment, that will ultimately affect hundreds of lives, possibly more. It will affect her, her children, the relationships she has with her family and her friends, it will affect the people she chooses to allow into her life and to keep out of her life. And each one of her children who sees their value will affect each of those relationships in their lives and will raise their children to see their value who will raise their children to see their value and so on and so on and so on… Just help one person change their mind and shift their beliefs and you’ve created a more positive space for many, many more! Mind blowing, no?! And true.

Perhaps that was when this Marianne Williamson quote really started to hit home for me.

So for the last few years, I’ve begun to require more of myself and of those who want to occupy my space. This has not been an easy process and has required me to release or let go of people who have been a big part of my life. At times it has been very painful. But how much time and energy have I wasted trying to convince people that I was good enough? That I was worthwhile and have value? That they should care for me and treat me with kindness?  How much time and energy have you wasted doing the same things?

You know what’s much easier? Showing up as you and letting the people who already believe all of those things find you and surround you!

I don’t know if I really understand this concept of respect. I just looked up its definition so I could give it to you and every single one was about admiring someone because of their achievements or something to that affect. What if we could just inherently trust that there is something deserving of respect in every other creature with whom we share the planet and treat everyone we meet respectfully? Especially ourselves? Can you imagine what this world would be like if it were filled with people who respected themselves and everyone else? Mmmmm….

I don’t know what your life has looked like. I’m sure someone has done something mean to you at some point because that’s the nature of life in this world. In fact, I’m sure probably many people have been cruel to you and maybe you’ve internalized that information and made it important somehow. I have struggled with my value as a result of cruelties that have been done to me and I know some others have too, some still do.

If that’s you, please consider this. What if your value has nothing to do with how people have treated you? Listen with your heart and see if you can’t feel the truth of this, please. Your value was created before you ever came here. Your value is about the unique set of talents and gifts that only you possess in your exact combination. That is what makes you special, that is what makes you unique and beautiful and important, because that is what the world needs. And nothing else really matters. How tall, thin, athletic, pretty, wealthy… NONE of that matters! You matter and I matter and so does everyone else because we are here. And that does not need to be earned based on achievement or hard work or sacrifice or anything else. You cannot earn what is already yours.

You can show up and hide at the same time. Or you can show up and shine. Neither is right, neither is wrong. They are both just choices. For me, I choose to surround myself with the people who choose to shine. They’re much more fun to be around!

What do you choose?

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