A great life is a life based on respect – respect for others, respect for self and respect for spirit. You must be able to demand respect from others, teach them what that means to you and refuse to allow them to treat you otherwise. Likewise, you must offer the same to those around you, in full measure, without exception or restraint. True respect does not demand that someone change to meet your approval first, and you should not bow to others’ demands of the change from you. But what of those who will not give respect, or those whom you cannot respect yourself?
In the former case, you simply must remove yourself from their presence as much as possible, even to the extent of leaving a job, a friendship or even a family relationship. If you allow others to treat you with disrespect, it will diminish who you can be and what you can offer the world. It will eat away at your strength and it will distract you from your goals by drawing away needed focus and energy in order to deal with and clean up after the effects of their bad behavior in your life. It will also act as an acid on your soul, eventually causing you to lose your own self-respect, and even to accept their treatment of you as appropriate or even deserved. For the sake of all you are here to do, and for the sanctity of your very soul, you must demand respect for yourself and remove yourself from those who cannot give it.
As for the latter case, all are deserving of the respect for their core humanity, if not for their current way of living. All humans are created of and by the Divine and it is required that we offer them the respect that acknowledges that provenance, even if we can’t see it for ourselves, and to acknowledge that this is merely a failing on our part and not a reflection of the truth. If this person is such a disruptive force that you cannot bring yourself to treat them civilly, to speak to them without anger or hatred or to even be around them without causing harm in some manner, then don’t. But remember the truth that this is about you, not them, and dignify their existence with the respect due another creature of God, even if this means keeping your distance in order to prevent disrespectful behavior on either part.
If all else fails, here is a “prayer for the unlovable” that I found many years ago: “Dear Creator, bless this person, for their exhalations feed the flowers.” If nothing else, you can respect them for their contribution to the ongoing cycle of life and for the gift of showing you your own weaknesses and sore spots in dealing with other children of God.
(c) Soni Pitts
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
She is the author of the free e-book “50 Ways To Reach Your Goals” and over 100 self-help and inspirational articles, as well as other products and resources designed to facilitate this process of personal growth and spiritual development.