I want to tell you about something that happened to me and my 14yr old son the other day, and why respect plays a part in that. In Australia, my home town is Redcliffe, it’s a seaside village near Brisbane and although I don’t live there anymore, I still go from time to time to conduct business or meet with friends. It’s only a half hour drive from my house. Earlier this week my son and I had gone into Redcliffe to run some errands and we stopped at a cafe for some refreshments once we were done. It was late in the afternoon and most of the shops were shut on the esplanade as we went for a stroll together to get some fresh air. Sitting on the footpath, his back against a shop window, was a man in a wheel chair. An amputee, he had only one leg. He was begging for spare change. He would have been in his 50’s and he smelt like he was homeless. He frightened my son, who has autism, and is not used to seeing people like him…(mainly because of my son’s condition and the fact that we don’t venture out much. He likes to be in his home range.) I could see this was a man who had a story and I felt compassion for him. However, I didn’t give him any of my change. I felt a strong pull in my gut not to. Now I must respect my instincts. Should I go against them, 9 times out of 10, I will regret it later, so I stayed back and I said ‘Sorry, no’. My son was upset with me, but I told him that I donate money to a charity that helps people like him, because I know that anyone could end up in a wheel chair with a spinal injury or an amputation ect. and I like to think, this way I am helping people like this man. I wished him a Merry Christmas and we walked on.
When I was younger, I gave away my last 5 cents to beggars. But, you don’t tend to see them so much anymore. In Australia, there certainly are homeless people and there are many reasons for that homelessness. I used to know a gentleman who worked in the science museum as the exhibit co-ordinator, who slept in the park, because he couldn’t stand walls around him. There are people who have lost their housing, because the cost of living here is ginormous and there are people who have mental illnesses…these are just some of the reasons. I knew in my gut that this gentleman that day, was looked after and known by those people who care. I could see his clothes were clean and that he had some fat on his bones. He was well fed and he was cared for by someone.
This is an anicdote, not about so much my interaction with the homeless amputee, but about the respect I gave to myself firstly and then to my son and the gentleman. Sometimes, you have to listen to your gut and say no. Sometimes your gut says go for it and you do. My child was afraid and my gut said no. I didn’t speak rudely to the man though. He in turn was not rude towards me.
I expect he will not remember me, but I have thought about him since and I have sent him my feelings of love and hope for his future. Our state of minds place us in situations, be them begging on the street or surfing in the ocean. Our states of minds govern our lives.
Respect and being respectful, is a big foundation of love, because it allows us to interact with each other with more ease. Now there are ways and there are ways of getting respect. You can choose to force others to respect you by using fear. But you will never win their true love, or you can command respect from authority, enforced by a firm but gentle hand, in which case, you will be loved. You can gain respect by proving to yourself and to others that you have what it takes, or you can manipulate the minds of others with lies in order to acquire respect without earning it.
Should you choose the dark path to respect, you will find that the foundation of love will not be there. You will find that once your house of cards has fallen, and it will, you will see that in choosing this path, you firstly disrespected yourself, and then others. You will find that there are consequences to your actions that have a ripple effect going on for a long time afterwards and that will always be something you cannot deny.
Should you choose to gain respect through kindness, loyalty, friendship and authority, you will find that there will be a foundation of love built in your honour. You will be held in genuine esteem and you will be remembered for all the right reasons long after you are gone. People generally don’t have streets or parks named after them, if they were an abuser of respect. Love and respect go hand in hand.
Respect always starts with you. If you are disrespecting others, then first and foremost, you are disrespecting yourself, then the other person and then anyone else who may be indirectly involved.
Be aware of your motives and your reasoning for choosing to go ahead with decisions around respect. When you first meet someone, give them respect, if they chose to dishonour that, then remove it from their energy field. Don’t allow yourself to be taken for a ride. Even if someone seems to be in a position of poverty. Have a good look at them. Take it all in. I did, when I saw that gentleman, I knew the area and I know that it is full of church groups just bursting with love for people like him. I could see he was fed well and his clothes were clean.
Self love, also involves self respect. So respect starts with the way you view you. Others will pick up on it too, and most will afford you respect simply because they can see you respect yourself.
What do we do if someone is disrespecting us?
Well that is a topic for another Spiritual comment.