R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Found Out What It Means To Me

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Found Out What It Means To MeAn excerpt from Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life! by Deborah Jane Wells (Hay House/Balboa Press 2013)

Unconditional self-respect is one of the keys to declaring your independence from stress and discovering a life of generous, effortless, gracious flow filled with faith, hope, prosperity, peace, and joy. Such respect begins with mindfulness—caring enough about myself and my experience to pay attention to what is happening and what I am feeling. If I don’t recognize when I’m feeling stressed, I can’t do anything to change it.

Respect is also about not beating myself up for past choices—things I thought, said, did, or didn’t do. It’s about knowing that I am doing the best I can with the love and light I have access to at the time. Every experience is an opportunity. As I am able to recognize and transform more of my fear-based limiting beliefs into love-based empowering truths, I gain access to greater wisdom, clarity, and confidence, moving myself further along my personal Journey to Wholeness. By learning to demonstrate unconditional respect for myself in every moment, I become more able to demonstrate it for others as well.

Respect is also about boundaries, being clear where mine end and yours begin. Many of us find it hard to set clear and healthy limits on what we will and won’t allow others to do to us. Even more of us have difficulty not violating others’ boundaries.

Consider this example from my own life. On Monday night, my spouse comes home from work miserable about how his boss is treating him. It pains me to see my husband so unhappy. I listen patiently and sympathetically to sixty minutes of complaining. I tell him exactly what he needs to do. He doesn’t do it. Tuesday night, he comes home singing the second verse of the boss abuse song. I listen less patiently and repeat, with additional rationale, what I told him to do the night before. He shuts down and retreats to his den to watch football. Wednesday night, same song, third verse. This time I don’t listen at all, blow a gasket, and tell him to stop being a wimp. He demonstrates just how much of a wimp he isn’t by getting royally annoyed with me and storming off to the den. I demonstrate just how much of a wimp I am not by following him into the den and repeating my suggestion with even greater volume and specificity, including what he can do with the horse he rode in on. The good news—my husband’s boss is now completely off the hook because we are now so angry at each other that what his boss is doing to him pales in comparison.

Some of you are taking my side: She’s a professional management consultant and life coach with more than thirty years’ experience. What moron wouldn’t immediately implement anything she suggests? Others are taking my husband’s side: She’s a pushy overbearing know-it-all who’s taken three months to write the final three chapters of her book. Why doesn’t she stop sapping his self-confidence and mind her own business? To both sides I say, “Blah, blah, blah.”

The root of the problem is not whether my suggestions were wise. The issue is the nature of the core energy underneath me providing suggestions in the first place. Input stemming from a supposed “desire to help” becomes interference when it is fueled by fear in the form of anxiety, self-doubt, avoidance, or arrogance. Anxiety is when I can’t stand whatever pain I am choosing to feel over the choices he is making, and in order to stop my pain, I need to get him to choose a different path. Self-doubt is when I fear that if he isn’t making the same choices for his life that I’m making for mine, maybe I’m wrong. Avoidance is when there are aspects of myself I’m not yet willing to address, so I distract myself by focusing my need for personal growth on him instead. Arrogance is when I dare to presume that I can run his life better than he can, despite the fact that I’ve not walked even one mile in his shoes. The common denominator in each case is that fear, not love, is the core energy fueling my suggestions.

In the scenario of my husband’s problem with his boss, my real goal wasn’t to help my husband. My goal was to relieve my own fear-based pain at experiencing his pain. My goal was to stop his pain as quickly as possible so that I could stop my own. What I was doing didn’t “come from a good place”; it came from fear. From wanting to fix it for him to release myself from fear faster instead of respecting him enough to fix it himself when the time was optimal for his highest good. The tip-off was that I got annoyed when he didn’t take my suggestion—annoyance being one of fear’s many ugly cousins. It is nothing short of arrogant of me to think I could possibly run my husband’s life better than he could.

I’m asked all the time if this means it’s always wrong to make suggestions or try to teach anyone anything. No, that is not what it means. Here’s how to tell the difference between making a respectful suggestion and disrespectful interference. When I am coming from respect, I have no energetic charge over whether you act on what I share. When I’m being respectful, I’m fully and creatively engaged in the process with no attachment to the outcome. Disrespect is evidenced when I get hooked by what you decide to do or not do: either relief or happiness when you do it my way or anxiety, frustration, or anger when you don’t. Either reaction demonstrates that I am a little too invested in how you live your life. When I feel neutral about whether you do or don’t adopt my suggestions or act on the information I shared, I’m coming from respect.

This lesson was driven home for me dramatically when I heard the following story a couple years ago. In late fall, a man stood enthralled watching a caterpillar spin a cocoon on a branch outside the kitchen window. All winter long, the man watched over the cocoon, amazed at how it withstood the onslaught of freezing rain, blizzards, and harsh winds. When spring finally arrived, the man was relieved to see the cocoon still hanging in there. As spring ripened into summer, the day finally came when the butterfly began to make its departure from the cocoon. The man watched the butterfly work to break free. The process went slowly and looked difficult. The man became impatient with how long it was taking and anxious that the butterfly was suffering. He could hardly bear to watch. Finally, beside himself with frustration and worry, the man decided to help. He took a small pair of nail scissors and carefully cut the cocoon open wider to allow the butterfly to escape more quickly and easily. Alas, the butterfly did escape but died just a few minutes later. What appeared to the man as a needless struggle was actually crucial developmental time the butterfly needed to be able to thrive outside the cocoon. Robbed of that added growth opportunity, the butterfly never developed the strength it needed to survive and flourish.

When I first heard this story, I sat at my kitchen counter and sobbed; I finally got it. All those times when, energized by my own fear, I had interfered with another’s life, I had been decidedly unloving. When I disrespected the other’s personal path by trying to shortcut her opportunity to learn in her own way and time, I had demonstrated anxiety, self-doubt, avoidance, and arrogance.

While the lesson of the chrysalis didn’t result in me ending all fear-based interference overnight, it has made me much more aware of what’s energizing my actions. In those situations where fear and a lack of respect are my fuel, I am faster at detaching and releasing myself and the other person to walk our authentic individual paths with love and light.

These examples don’t just demonstrate the subtlety of respecting others’ boundaries; they point the way to respecting my own. Without a doubt, the greatest violator of my own personal boundaries is me. I am the perpetrator of unconscionably disrespectful words and acts against myself. Much of it happens in the confines of my own head.

When I use my thoughts to undermine my self-confidence and punish myself repeatedly for past “mistakes,” I am abusing myself. When I incessantly rehash painful scenarios from my past, I cause myself far greater injury through that repetitive instant replay than the original abuser ever caused me. When I communicate to myself in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that I don’t matter, am not good enough, and am powerless, I am being cruel. When I tell myself I’m crazy to keep thinking, saying, and doing the things I do, I disrespect my journey and myself. Most of us never say anything half as loathsome to others, even in our most enraged moments, as we say to ourselves daily in casual conversation. Respecting myself means zero tolerance for self-judging and self-abuse.

The only person controlling your life is you. Turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities by harnessing the transformative power of love to step into your greatness. Choose your energy and change your life!

If you enjoyed this post and would appreciate other valuable tools and insights to support your personal Journey to Wholeness, click here to sign up for FREE download access to additional articles based on my book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life (Hay House/Balboa Press 2013):

  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: My Journey to Wholeness
  • Suffering From Burnout? Love Is The Cure!
  • What’s Love Got To Do With Business?
  • My Five-Part Mindset For Living In Flow
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Found Out What It Means To Me
  • Changes in Gratitude: Changes in Attitude
  • Tools For Fostering Flow
Click here to visit the portal for my BOOK
Click here to visit the portal for my RADIO SHOW
© Copyright 2014 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

About djwlifecoach

I am retired from 40+ years of helping individuals and teams build lives and organizations they love. One of the great joys of my retirement from professional practice is having greater bandwidth to donate my professional and creative talents to support and promote animal and social welfare charities. During my 30 years as an organization transformation consultant, I served as a senior partner in four of the world’s largest, most prestigious global professional services firms. In 2005, I took a five-year sabbatical to find healing and peace because non-stop work had taken its toll. My recovery from burnout led to finding my purpose guiding others on their journeys. As a board-certified coach, author, consultant, radio host, Reiki Master and EFT/tapping practitioner, I share hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. 111419 DJW Sid CH Pet Corner Photo ShootI help clients achieve rapid, extraordinary, sustainable results by connecting who they are with what they do, a connection often lost through stress and the sheer busy-ness of daily life. Courageous self-awareness and unconditional self-love lead to honest choices based on priorities that nurture you and those around you on a journey to wholeness. Decades in coaching, consulting, change management, organization development, human resources and mixed media artistic expression honed my business sense, professionalism, creativity, intuition, leadership and communication skills. The result? Practical tools that help you become more insightful, creative, committed, productive and fulfilled. Even the most dedicated and hard-working individuals can shift from frustration to a sense of futility when their values, passion, work, and lives become disconnected. One of the problems with not taking care of our health is that the effects of ignoring it are often slow to show up. We continue to juggle family responsibilities, work and finances until we lose ourselves, waking up one day 50 pounds heavier in body and soul—no good to ourselves or anyone else. I love working with people who are ready to take life-changing action to make their dreams a reality. At each moment, you have inside you all the wisdom you seek to choose your life and your way of showing up. Limiting thoughts, beliefs and feelings can block you from moving forward. An absence of love and concern for yourself can result in negative head talk that holds you back with discouraging messages about who you are and what you can do. By listening and caring deeply, I guide you in connecting with your own inner wisdom. We identify the way you’d like to live. We determine what’s blocking you and release you from the hold those blocks have over you—unleashing the positive energy that will fuel you forward. Together we develop a plan to move you closer to your heart’s desire. My books, blog, radio show and signature coaching programs help individuals and organizations harness the transformative energy of love to turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities and step into their greatness. What’s love got to do with it? Everything! My book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life! (Hay House/ Balboa Press 2013) shares my story and the stories of 10 of my clients along with my signature Discovery Framework. For fun, I love reading, sewing, knitting, yin yoga, afternoon tea, opera and movies. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia with my spouse, Wilson Abney, and the cat who runs our life, Maisy Jane.
This entry was posted in All My Blog Posts, Curiosity, Respect & Compassion, Relationships, Boundaries & Belonging and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Found Out What It Means To Me

  1. Pingback: Make it Mondays: Respect Yourself First and Others Will Follow... » REGO’S LIFEREGO’S LIFE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.