R. E. S. P. E. C. T

Aretha Franklin said it so well, and so did my friend recently. I hadn’t seen him in quite a while, and we ran into each other. I told him I’d heard that he and his family are moving far away pretty soon. He’s a housing contractor and does very high quality work. He’s made a contact where they’re going, and he should have enough work lined up to make it happen. I told him I had no doubt he’d be fine, because he does such excellent work. What’s more, he’s an awesome person. He’s the kind of contractor you want – honest, straight-forward, and kind. So I said he should have no problem finding enough work. Or enough work finding him.

He said he thought it would be fine as well, and he went into more detail about why he thinks this way. He said that as long as he does everything with respect, it always works out. He does good work, puts his name on it, and respects all those involved. This means he respects the home owner who is acting like a pushy pain in the ass and knows nothing about tiles or cabinetry or whatever else. That person still deserves basic respect. And he respects the main contractor when he’s a sub, just doing a small part of the overall job. The main contractor is dealing with the homeowner and might be very stressed out. Or s/he might have lower standards than my friend, who has very high standards. That person still deserves basic respect, though.

When I heard this specific aspect of how my friend sees things, I loved it. So simple! And so easy to not do. It’s very tempting to not respect the pain in the ass who is being less than reasonable. It’s also a habit that most of the world practices. Each of us gets to a point in our lives, though, when that doesn’t work anymore. We have to respect those people, too. At least basic respect. R. E. S. P. E. C. T.

I think many people confuse “respecting all others no matter what” with being a doormat. Let’s take a closer look at that real quick, because it’s important. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but you can still be assertive and strong and have respect. You can still stand your ground. You can still say no. But you can also have respect. Respect is mainly an inner thing. It’s how you see the other person. They’re another person just like you, and they’re actually doing their best, despite what it may look like to you. They might have huge childhood issues or other trauma they’re carrying and haven’t dealt with yet. They might have a dying spouse or child. We really don’t know, so it’s best to not assume. If you catch yourself making assumptions, just gently let them go. And definitely don’t beat yourself up about it. That’s a two-for-one, self-imposed. Not a good plan.

If we look even deeper, we might say that the unconscious part of your mind, which is the rest of the iceberg besides the tip, knows that we are all ultimately connected. Remember that the mystics have always said this, and then the rock star quantum physicists in the 1920’s agreed. When the scientists and mystics agree, there’s usually something to it. At the fundamental level, we are made of exactly the same stuff. The borders that divide us are no longer there. At the fundamental level, we are literally all one. Whoa! This means that if you are not respecting someone else, your unconscious mind (which is almost all of it) interprets that as you not respecting yourself. Ouch. No wonder there are unnecessary challenges in your life.

So try this respectful attitude out; take it for a spin. Remember that we always like to see things for ourselves here at A Clean Mind rather than just believing someone else. Do it for a while and see what the results are. It’s only a change in attitude, but attitude means our thoughts, and that’s where it all happens. So “only a change in attitude” is actually the most powerful thing any human can do. Let’s talk about it if you have questions.

And now, let’s take a moment of silence for how awesome Aretha Franklin is. I’m no expert on Aretha Franklin, but the song Say A Little Prayer is one of my favorite songs, period. Here it is if you want… Enjoy!