"R - E - S - P - E - C - T:
Found out what it means to me..."
The poster above was designed for classroom use, but it is just as useful to adults. When we practice the virtues listed on it, we strengthen our own morality. And while it's important to 'work well with others,' the primary respect we owe is to ourselves.
--We have a responsibility for our health and well-being.
--Personal empathy extends the same consideration to ourselves we would to someone else.
--We need to apply self-discipline, particularly in diet and exercise.
--Participation: as in engaging in life, whether socially, emotionally or spiritually.
--If we are enthusiastic - thinking positively - about what we do, we can achieve anything.
--Cooperation enables us to reach our goals while helping - and receiving help from - others.
--Building trust in ourselves will lead to success.
Developing respect in any form starts with thought. Do you have a role model - someone you look up to? It doesn't matter if you only know their 'public' persona. If you see them as having morals and values you admire, you can use them as a guide. Or if you know someone you'd like to emulate - a friend or relative who has character traits you look up to - focus on those qualities.
Next, consider the attributes you might want to acquire. You undoubtedly have some that are integral to the way you behave. Perhaps your role model seems to be calm and assured, and doesn't let the unexpected disrupt their serenity. Maybe they have a quiet demeanor, or courage, or react kindly to people. Whatever the particular characteristics are you haven't yet mastered that you'd like to learn, begin practicing them.
It won't be easy: it's far simpler to find reasons (excuses) why you can't. 'I'm too old to change' or 'I'd never be able to do that' or 'S/he is probably just a good actor.' Maybe so. But remember what we said about pretending a new behavior or habit, in order to make it your own? Now's the time.
Expand your personal moral code, and have faith in your beliefs.
Stop comparing yourself, or your lot in life, with others - there will always be people better off, and worse off, than you are.
Learn to detach and step back from negative emotions: your own self-destructive behaviors and 'bad' thoughts do you no favors.
Work on your self-esteem, by treating yourself with kindness, forgiving yourself for mistakes, and celebrating your achievements, however small they may be.
Find techniques - from reading, through talking to friends, by concentrating on the positive traits you are working to establish - that will help you build these values.
Respect, most importantly self-respect, can be a keystone in achieving not just the goals you set yourself, but a rich and rewarding Life Journey.
"The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs." --Joan Didion