I have been thinking a lot about respecting myself. One of the most powerful things I ever read in one of Don Miguel Ruiz’s books was that others can only abuse you to the level you are willing to abuse yourself. Abuse is a form of disrespect. I can take that term, substitute it into Don Miguel’s writing, and say others can only disrespect me to the level I am willing to disrespect myself. If I allow others to treat me in a way that violates my agreements, then I disrespect myself.
The one thing, which has led to the end of relationships in my life, is when I was no longer able to either respect them for who they were or they were not able to respect me for who I was. Once we began to disrespect each other, our relationship began to erode and eventually die. Underlying this was the fact they did not live up to my expectations or I did not live up to theirs. Neither of us at that point of time in our journeys could allow us to be who we are even if we did not agree with each other. Since then, I have come to a space in my journey where I realize I can respect someone for who they are and their choices, even if I do not agree with them. I am not them and they are not me. They are responsible for how they live their life and their choices and I am mine. That I can respect.
Loving and respecting myself means I do it unconditionally and without obligations. The most powerful thing I can do is to love and respect myself especially when it violates the agreements passed down by others in my book of law. When I stand firm in who I am and walk fully in the path the Infinite created me to be, then I empower myself to walk in my authenticity. It is in those moments that I have the power. I have the power to be authentically me. I have the power to respect myself. I have the power to love myself. I have the power to do all of this in a world that might seek to impose other agreements on me, which would undermine and pull the plug on my power.
The health of my relationship with others is related to the extent to which I love and respect myself. If I do not respect myself, then I provide room for others to not love or respect me. If I abuse myself then I give my permission for others to abuse me. If I have not learned how to respect myself, it is questionable whether I have learned how to respect others. How can I learn to do to others what I have not yet learned to do to myself? If there is no respect within my relationship with others or myself then where is the love?
If I want my relationship with the world to be more respectful, then I have to begin by mastering that respect for who I am. If I can respect myself, then I can build respectful relationships, which build respectful families, which build respectful neighborhoods, which build respectful communities, which build respectful states, which build a respectful country, which build a respectful world.
It may not seem as powerful as it is. It may not seem as transformative as it is, however love and respect changes us from the inside out and then trickles out into the world affecting all whose lives we touch directly or indirectly. So just for today, I am agreeing to tap into the power and fully respect myself.