Respect can be interpreted in many ways.  The Webster dictionary defines respect as “a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way.  I find that many aspects of life revolve around this one little word that can be so powerful.  When I think of the world today and the obstacles each and every one of us face, it can have a huge impact if everyone would have a little more respect.

R = Relational values:  To some, this may mean nothing, but to me, this means a lot.  I value my close relationships and I love to surround myself with like-minded people.  When you value others, you care for their feelings, you care about their activities and you are there when needed.

E = Everyone:  This is where we all step back and say, “not everyone deserves my respect.”  That may be true, but giving it to those who don’t deserve it can be rewarding in it’s own way.  Everyone needs respect.  It has to start somewhere.  Do your part even if it’s tough.

S = Sincere:  To be respectful, one MUST be sincere.  It’s that simple.

P = Polite:  Showing respect to others involve politeness.  Not everyone deserves your respect and not everyone responds if you are polite, do it anyway.  They need it the most.

E =  Earn it:  Do your best to earn the respect you receive from others.  Sometimes you can show it and get nothing in return, but always do your part to earn it whether or not it’s reciprocated.

C = Children:  They need your respect more than you realize.  I’m finding out more and more in the teen years it’s not reciprocated as much, but when you show respect to them, you earn a little back each time.  They are sponges, so you are also showing them how to treat others.

T = Treatment:  How you treat others is the most important.  And what most people do not understand is it’s not how you perceive that you treat them, it’s how they perceive you treat them.  Showing that you care about their feelings and understand what is important to them defines how you treat them.

I believe RESPECT is the main reason we see so many failed marriages and relationships these days.  Respect is definitely needed in a union of marriage and unfortunately for me, it was NEVER there.  I can say that I lost respect for my ex a year or so before we were ever married and lost respect for myself somewhere in the middle and it continued to deteriorate our relationship for the following 17 years and continues to this day.  As an alcoholic and drug abuser, he didn’t know how to show respect for anything.

My thoughts have changed since then, I have re-gained my respect for myself, I’ve matured a lot and I have 2 very important observers that I expect to treat others well, so I do my part as much as possible.  I have a lot of respect for my ex that I show him every day by caring about his relationship with our girls, by telling our girls what great qualities they’ve received from him and by being as flexible and understanding as possible with scheduling, school, etc.  I choose to be polite even in the midst of disagreements.  Showing respect for someone you feel has not earned it has to be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.  Showing respect for his spouse, who blatantly disrespects my wishes for our girls, is even harder (I do not allow cut off shirts even if they are in style, I do not take our girls to meet boys without knowing them or discussing it with their dad, I do not allow boys over while I take a nap and I do not keep my kids out past 10:30 on a school night).  These may seem silly to some, but these are important to me.

But then I remember… we are all raised differently.  We all were taught different ways to treat others.  Some were not taught respect, some were not taught manners, some were not taught to be kind even when someone is not kind to you, some were not taught to put others first and some people were taught that the world owes them something for nothing.  I learned throughout our marriage that giving was just my part, he was a taker – when I decided it was a 2-way street, regained my confidence and started respecting myself, he got worse and still cannot handle the loss of control.  I was taught to always see the good in people and I still do.  There is good in everyone and I will continue to focus on that.  I cannot help the fact that someone else doesn’t, I am only responsible for my actions.

My actions have allowed a relationship now that is filled with mutual respect, love, honor, trust and loyalty.  I found another giver with a huge heart!!! Part of my absence lately has been for him (the other part was out of respect for my exes wishes that I not write anymore – however, after multiple requests for advice and the realization that it was just another way for him to control me, I am back for good).  I am excited to share the “Next Chapter” with you all (much less about the ex).  I am engaged, we are planning a wedding and I passed another licensing exam!!!  I have chosen Character over Chaos and although our world is crazy, we wouldn’t have it any other way.  We have the support we’ve both always dreamed of and we don’t have to ask for it.  It’s such a blessing.

I will continue to respect others and teach our daughters to do the same – regardless of what they receive in return.  We could all agree to disagree a little better and show respect for other’s differences and love them anyway.  More to come on the rainbow after the storm…

“When we love and respect people, revealing to them their value, they can begin to come out from behind the walls that protect them.”  – Jean Vanier


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