Wise actions flow naturally from the right principles. When respect directs our daily choices, all our interactions are in harmony with our greater good. Respect for ourselves, one another, and for life itself should be at our core lighting the path for us. Knowing this basic principle, wise actions and words flow naturally. Founders of the Myers-Briggs personality test suggest that no matter how much people differ in background or temperament, three basic qualities underlie any enduring relationship, and they are: understanding, appreciation, and respect. Buddhism teaches compassion for all living things, Confucianism upholds jen, "human heartedness," respect for others as a foundation of all virtue.
Living respectfully is an essential leadership principle. I posit that respect is the key to personal power. Our real power as humans comes when we can relate to others from our hearts rather than from our brains. Our energies contract when we concentrate on ourselves and the way we look. (See my book, It's None of My Business What You Think of Me.) Instead of self-consciously posing or performing, I suggest that one takes a "host" mentality, focusing on how to serve others. Instead of talking -- listen, observe, and seek the spark of greatness in the person you are with. We inspire others by making that spark come alive.
We are flooded in the media with the stereotyped hero, often violent, flashy, tough, emotionally repressed and ultimately unreal. Real strength is strength of character. Real heroes combine courage and compassion living respectfully and transcending difficulty to create new possibilities, like bamboo, flexible yet strong. How can we be more gentle and kind -- now this is true strength and the mark of a true hero.
In this competitive, confusing world that emphasizes the bottom line and short-term economic gains, we see our leadership rise and fall with each cycle. Those who rise above draw on deeper principles, inspiring trust and loyalty in the people around them. Without respect, life is like a roller coaster ride from one sensational experience to the next. Relationships are superficial, and people become ruthless. Without mutual respect, the alchemy of cooperation and creativity cannot exist. Without trust that engenders respect, we will not take risks. The new paradigm of cooperative leadership is impossible without respect.
The lesson of respect is holistic. We can only love another to the extent that we love ourselves. One way to increase self-respect is through advancement in self-discipline. We must unlearn self-limiting habits by replacing them with healthy ones. Self-respect requires self-discipline -- in fact, self-discipline is the backbone of self-respect. I have been running three to five miles per day since the age of 14. I often head out in the middle of January along the shores of Lake Michigan with the Chicago windchill factor falling below negative 14 degrees. My neighbors and the doorman at my building are often shocked as they see me either leaving or coming back from these painful runs. I find that this ritual has a positive effect on my self-esteem and self-respect, and is an example of how I ritualize my advancement of self discipline. The trick or ritual I offer up here is very simple. Make your exercise routine slightly tougher than you would like it. Make it a daily ritual vs. an on-and-off idea that you can skip if something comes up. This ritual must become a part of your life vs. a diversion. I also suggest setting routines for any other area in your life that you seek improvement in. You will find that by ritualizing, you leave out inconsistency as a factor and your advancement is tenfold.
Self-respect requires time for regular tending. I use the example of tending to yourself as though you were tending to a garden. Like a plant that requires water, pruning, or further cultivation, take time daily to affirm your spiritual connection and affirm your physical health -- and most importantly, we must tend to the other humans in our life. By tending to others, we begin the cycle of giving; we put gratitude into action. When gracious, we cannot be fearful or angry at the same time. By making this into a habit, we begin the transformation process of the soul. We alter our frequency, our consciousness, and we begin to attract better, matching life situations, people and circumstances. We are spiritual beings having human experiences. It is crucial to acknowledge this fact to remain close to our source. Separation is when we are in ego, when we believe we are our bodies. When in ego, we respond with anger and fear. When in spirit, we respond with love, compassion, understanding. Like water removed in a cup from the ocean (its source) and placed on a table in the sun, it changes form, evaporating into the sky always to be returned to source (the ocean). We are like the water, always in spirit, always connected but in a different form. As we recognize that we, like the water, are always the same as source, we see our power. We are spirit; we are God; we are immortal. This is self-respect; this is self-esteem at the highest attainable level. It is from this level of consciousness that we can move mountains, attract miracles, heal ourselves, love our neighbors and our partners more aptly. Be gracious, be humble, be open -- you will begin to see the synchronicity as your self-discipline turns into self-esteem and how the quality of life immensely improves as a result of this newfound ritual and higher level of self-respect.
Many thanks for your "likes" and thoughtful commentary. Your participation is appreciated and your recognition is always honored. Best, Peter
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"Think Yourself Young" now available on Kindle -- I discuss diet and meditational techniques according to the Tibetan Monks that I was able to interview living amongst them while at the Lama Temple in Beijing, China. These folks appear to be able to stop physiological time dead in its tracks, with the net result being a high-quality life beyond 120 years.
Peter Baksa has written The Point of Power and It's None of My Business What You Think of Me! available now on Amazon.
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