Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The thing about respect...

Respect is a word constantly in the airwaves, regularly thrown around, and continuously repeated in any situation a person feels they deserve, well, respect. Respect is also a word often taken at face value with no definition attached, to the point of, in my opinion, a fault. So, in the spirit of being on my soapbox and scooping out the meaning of things until there’s nothing left to scoop…I want to give a little tutorial… a little mini-lesson if you will… on the big-heavy-could be amazing if we actually knew what it meant and used it properly-word, respect. So, with respect, here I go…

There are two parts to the word Respect. “re” and “spect”. Let’s start with “re”.

“Re” is a prefix meaning ‘again’ or ‘again and again’, suggesting repetition. Easy enough.

“Spect” can be found in many words, for example spectacle meaning a show, display or vision. Also spectacles referring to eyeglasses or goggles. Another is spectacular; dazzling, astonishing, or breathtaking. And my favorite, spectator. One who is a viewer, watcher, observer or witness. One can conclude that “spect” is included only in words that refer to looking, seeing, observing, and such.

So, respect really means: to see, again and again. Huh. Imagine that. And all this time we thought we knew what we were talking about.

The thing about respect is that its power lies in the pause…the wonder, interest, and curiosity about another human being (or plant, or animal, or earth, or thing, or or or). Respect is not about being nice to someone, taking them more seriously, or having unfounded admiration based on physical appearance, job status, age, race, religion, ethnicity... or anything in between. It’s actually about seeing someone…past it all, looking deeper at who they are, hearing what they’re really saying, learning where they’re really coming from, paying attention what they’re about…again and again...and again. Until maybe, just maybe you get it a little bit…enough to confidently say, “I respect you”.

So darlings, I ask you... Stop, look, and listen. Wonder about the words you’re using…and why. Wonder about the people around you. Plan to respect someone only if you are prepared to find out who they really are, and kindly embrace their human-being-ness. And then, the best part… gracefully cock your head to the side and wonder about who you really are... again and again. Respect yourselves my dears. And love it every second of it.

And that's the thing about respect.


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