What I have learned about respect

What I have learned is that there are different types of respect.

The problem is that in English, we only have one word for it.

That means we grow up thinking respect is a single and exclusionary thing:

  1. Either you respect someone, or you don’t.
  2. Either you are respected, or you aren’t.

In reality, it’s a lot more complex.

This type of thinking leads to a lot of ‘I am better than you’, insider/outsider behaviour:

  1. You’re one of us.
  2. If you’re not with us, you’re against us.
  3. You don’t share my values.

And so on.

There are different degrees and types of trust

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A curation of thoughts

The Underneathness tries to share intelligent, fresh perspectives on what shapes us and our world.

I’ve put together a curation of pieces my readers have loved most and you can download it here.

The Underneathness – a curation of thoughts

 

Don’t be too quick or too slow to forgive

We’re told that it’s compassionate to forgive ourselves and other people.

It’s a great principle, sorely lacking in detail.

When, for example, is the time to forgive? And how do we do it?

By rushing to forgive we risk pushing legitimate feelings underground. On the other hand refusing to forgive is a lost opportunity for deeper connection and means that we carry unnecessary pain.

People react along the continuum of fast to slow depending on who they are and the situation, some things have a greater impact than others.

But at the extremes are:

  • Those who never forgive.
  • Those who forgive instantaneously.

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Kindness can be brutal

When you’re on the receiving end of kindness — it’s milk — a honeyed sap with associations of mothering & the cosseted dark womb.

But being kind is an altogether different experience.

It’s rising in the dark to run despite rain & icy winds while the world is sleeping.

Being kind can mean:

  • Suppressing the urge to lash out because you feel momentarily better.
  • Letting it go through to the keeper.
  • Putting your needs second, third or taking them off the table, this time.
  • Not adding fuel to the fire though you’re desperate to do so.
  • Refusing to let someone else’s feelings determine yours.
  • Sometimes, not speaking out.
  • Sometimes, not saying what you really think.
  • Appreciating a person is not just their last encounter with you.
  • Remembering the good when you don’t want to.
  • Knowing that when someone strikes at your sense of self it’s because they desperately need to affirm theirs and feeling compassion, rather than anger, for that humanness.
  • Seeing yourself in the above.
  • Admitting that you too can be unkind.

It’s not for the meek. Kindness demands vigilance, acute self-awareness and internal restraint, for which the rewards are not always obvious.

You also need to know the border at which kindness transmutes into self-abuse and not step over it.

That’s the sharper edge of the practice that means you must also know when to: (more…)

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