I’m working my way down the list of things I want to include in this series. And, today, the wind is blowing me towards respect. If you’re lost on what series I’m talking about, then start here! I’ve decided to write about the things I think we should focus on to foster happy, grateful mindsets. When you have a happy mindset, everything in life is easier to manage, and life is just better.
You might be thinking that this post is kind of a waste of time. You might be right, but bare with me for a minute. Everyone knows you have to have respect in your life. You have to respect others, yourself, and blah blah blah. However, just because we’ve been talking about respect since elementary school doesn’t mean that we always practice it or understand it. Speaking for myself, I know that I don’t. It’s really a multi-faceted thing, and I want to talk about its intricacies.
I want to give you three straight forward, practical ways to think about and practice respect so that it can be a cornerstone of your happy mindset.
First up, let’s talk about respecting others.
How easy would it be just to write do unto others as you would have others do unto you and just end the post right here? Sigh. I can’t let you down like that though. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t over analyze everything. Certainly, those words are true. It’s not called the Golden Rule for nothing.
We should always make sure that how we are interacting with and responding to others comes from a place of respect and honor. But, I’m not just thinking of respecting others as in being kind or saying thank you or even just holding your tongue when someone makes you mad.
What I’m talking about is respecting others for who they are. Not everybody is going to love the things you do or act the way you think they should. And, guess what? That’s ok! As hard as it is to believe sometimes, we’re not doing everything right and perfect either. We have to recognize and appreciate the ways in which others are different from us.
I don’t think it’s our place to try to change people. We don’t have the authority nor the power to do so. I can’t make you like me, and why should I? Who says I’m the one who’s got it right?
The fact is, none of us know what makes the ultimate human. If we did, we would have figured it out by now. So instead of making yourself or someone else miserable by trying to change who they are, maybe try just respecting that they’re different and that’s ok.
By coming to that understanding, you can have a good relationship. You might find new ways to connect. On the other hand, you might find that you actually don’t want a relationship with that person, and that will be ok too.
Rule Number Two- Self Respect
My dad and I have a thing. Since I was in high school he’s been telling me to “be the nickel.” That probably sounds weird to you, but to me, it means everything. It was the single statement that guided me through growing up and trying to figure myself out.
He told me once that if you had a table full of pennies, and you threw down just one nickel, that nickel would shine and stand out far above everything else. It wouldn’t matter if you had a million pennies; the nickel would be of the greatest value.
He was telling me to be different. He was telling me to be myself and not worry about trying to be like others or following in anyone else’s lead. He was telling me to respect myself enough so that one day I could be proud of my choices and find real happiness and peace in my life.
Throughout my life, he has reminded me to be the nickel. When there was chaos and confusion in my life, I would remind myself of what he said and what he wanted for me. It really helped me to respect myself and remember that real worth comes from valuing yourself and knowing your mind, life, and spirit are your own to cherish and respect. And when you do that, others will value and respect you as well. You will attract other valuable people.
My dad gave me away and preached my wedding, something truly special to me, by the way. During the ceremony, he told the story of the nickel. When he finished, he said how thankful he was that in a world full of pennies, I had found another nickel. Instantly, I could see how everything had come full circle. My daddy giving me a small piece of advice all those years ago led me to something more valuable than even gold.
And now the most important- Respect for God’s design
How can we talk about respect without talking about God? You can’t. Sorry, no, just can’t.
I want to focus on an intricate part of how I think we are to respect God. We should, of course, revere Him as our Creator, our All, our Hope, and our Future.
But, I often struggle with respecting His design. It’s really easy to get frustrated by the way things are and how they aren’t what I think they should be. I’m not just talking about in our own lives either. I’m talking about in everything and every which way the world turns.
We have to respect and accept that things are exactly the way they are supposed to be. Our lives, our country, our leadership, our troubles, our struggles, and our triumphs. They are as God sees fit at any given moment.
That is so incredibly hard to remember when things are bad or hard. But remember that nothing in this world happens that isn’t supposed to. We never know the reason for the things that happen and what blessings they will yield later.
Life and the world are God’s creations–they belong to Him. Everything in life and all his creations have an order and a place, and we don’t always have to understand it.
I challenge you next time you are facing something that has you down to think about this. Am I asking you to leap for joy over something that truly is hard or trying or maybe even terrible? Absolutely not. I’m asking you to come to a place of respect for it.
Find peace in that you cannot change things, and that, really, that’s a good thing. It’s the best thing. The outcome of our life and our world is known only but to God, and when we respect His design it makes life much easier to navigate. We can truly trust that “all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
So, we talked about how to think about respect in three different ways, and I hope maybe you got something out of it. With this blog, I never pretend to be an authority on life or absolutely anything. Rather, I just want to be an open and honest person thinking through my own life and sharing those trials and thoughts with you. Thank you for giving me a few moments of your time and reading the ramblings.