Me, “Behave and respect others.” Tip 20
I was thinking with less than three weeks left until Mother’s Day, what topics should I land on, what is interesting or requires a little further exploration. I reviewed my list from A-Z, posted two weeks ago. One topic quickly became apparent was ‘d,’ “Behave yourself and respect others.” In that list, I found several points that can direct respectful behavior.
The first step in ‘behaving’ is to respect others. Respect has been one of the top three characteristics valued by Moms, a reoccurring topic.
I can honestly say I did, and continue to, respect others. In my case, I do have individuals in my life I may not necessarily ‘respect;’ however, I remain respectful. I believe showing others respect is not a measure of who they may or may not be, but it is a measure of who I am.
Where I may not authentically respect an individual, I attempt to understand them or at a minimal remain civil and uphold good manners. I will not demean myself or lower my standards because of someone’s poor behavior. Good manners can be very helpful when dealing with difficult or damaged people.
Beyond measuring my own personal development, respecting others is key when modelling behavior for children. Holding doors, talking kindly, eliminating gossip and ridicule from their environment, ideally your repertoire, will only help them grow.
I remember when my Mom spoke harshly of someone. I remember every time and every person. Her opinion became mine. I now know, I lost relationships with potentially good people because of her perspective or judgement.
Mom’s view of the world, and of others, had been distorted by her upbringing and experiences. Unknowing to her and to me, her thoughts and opinions weighed heavily in my mind. Sadly, some of these opinions carried well into my adulthood. Although approaching 50, I continue to uncover the impact of this negativity.
Moms are a most powerful influence!
Although I did not initially recognize the gravity of imposing parental perspectives, in my early 20’s I did become aware their narratives were deeply flawed. When they did not “behave,” it lowered my standards as to what was acceptable. When they did not “respect” others, that too lowered my standards as to how or who I should respect people.
I’m happy to say, I no longer blindly accept parental influence. I harbour no resentment, nor do I carry theirs. I don’t excuse or judge the behavior of my parents. I’m able to love and understand them for the imperfect individuals they were, in the same way I hope others will find love and understanding for me through my imperfections.
In raising Michael, I did my best to respect all people – at least while he was watching or even in ear shot. My negative narrative and experiences did not become his problem, or his perspective. When parenting, I did all I could to keep my dysfunction to myself. Michael’s view of the world was managed in a deliberate, age-appropriate, positive and progressive fashion each day.
I taught him how to critically think, instead of how to think like me. I gave him tools to form his own opinion, instead of insisting he adopt mine. I fostered growth, instead of oppression.
Behaving myself and respecting others wasn’t easy, but it was effective.