On an equal footing that is about respect

Sometimes it seems that we argue about things like a t-shirt, a curtain, a work etc.

  • A girl took one jacket from her older sister, who got angry supposedly about that jacket. And younger girl had got mad because her sister didn’t want to lend her cloth. But actually older girl was furious because her sister crossed boundaries borrowing something without permission. And in that situation older sister is getting angry in response to crossing this border – it’s a natural reaction. It’s defensing own autonomy and property. The little girl didn’t respect a right of her sister to refusal (even if she didn’t mean to not respecting). In this case it’s about borders and respecting right to refusal.
  • A mother-in-low is screaming: „What a strange curtain you have.. You should change it, I’ll bring you better curtains next time”. Daughter-in-law is responding: “No, I don’t want any curtain from you! Your curtains are awful!” (Of course better is saying „No, my curtain is ok, and I like it.”), and then quarrel’s starting, and during that argument they still referring to curtain, even though all discussion is about lack of respect for someone’s taste. And this case is similar to often situations when grandmas interfere with ways of raising kids instead of respecting ways which parents use.
  • Third case sounds: wife is making a fuss because her husband spends much time in work. In their conversations constantly appears word „work”. Actually the wife is worrying about her honey that something can happen to him because of his overwork. Besides, there’s so much to do in home, and he doesn’t have time to take responsibility for some stuff. What’s more, that wife sheer miss him and she needs a little proximity. So those things are hiden under word „work” or „too much work”. The wife wants her spouse to respect her concern about him and home, and she wants him to respect her needs and take them into account. Another matter is if wife says to him clearly what she really means. Because how can he take something into account if he isn’t aware of her needs and emotions? How to respect something that you don’t know it exists? Women, tell your honeys what you need 😉 They purposefully aren’t called „Mr. Surmise”. And about communication you can read more there.

We argue about something that are under the surface of that t-shirt or curtain.

Actually very often it’s all about the respect. About respecting our rights to say „No.”, to having own opinions and preferences, to healthy expressing needs and feelings. Everybody has right to not lending own property. Everyone has right to defense. Everybody has right to feel. Sometimes others don’t respect our different rights, but do you respect those rights in you?

Not always we admit to ourselves that something which hurts us is something other than we argue outside. It’s easier to believe that you quarrel about any comb, dress, book, work or tablecloth. It’s easier to deny that you feel sad especially because of something more important and more sensitive than material stuff. Lack of respect is the stuff that hurts us.

There’s many painful situations. We want to be respected, though.

 But do we respect? Even if you automatically answer yes, pay bigger attention don’t you:

  • negate or ignore other people’s feelings and emotions, even sometimes?
  • try to talk with someone who isn’t ready to talk with you yet or with someone who doesn’t want to talk in the same time and place which you prefer?
  • use words like idiot or bitch and other hurtful, offensive words (especially towards somebody about them)?
  • mock ideas of other people, even when those ideas seem strange & incomprehensible for you?
  • focus only on your emotions, opinions, gains, goals, needs (without taking into account other people’s)?
  • lose patience when you explain something again and again to somebody who doesn’t get it? (Others have a right to not understand what you mean, maybe because they are too young or not ready to understand.)
  • yell at anybody? (Scream causes fear in other person, though.)
  • interrupt someone’s speech in order to say what YOU have to say without hearing what they have to say?
  • react in ‘buzz off’ style at times (instead of explain calmly what really bothers you)?
  • point out husband’s old trespasses instead of trying to forgive him and let it go? Nevertheless, you also did wrong things, which he forgives you.
  • force e.g. your kid to lending their own favourite toy to someone?
  • use knowledge about somebody against them?  
  • pick somebody on way of their relax (sort of „U still sitting on a computer, better take a walk and get some air”)?
  • ignore your kids (or someone else) saying kind of „It doesn’t interest me”, „I don’t believe you”, „I know better” instead of hearing what they have to say?
  • accuse somebody a bad intentions?
  • etc..

Those are only examples. U can hurt someone by above points. You never might not know if actually somebody is sensitive or not. People can say that they are ok with different offensive jokes, and they can even want not to worry about it, but sometimes expressing lack of respect, even as a joke, hits someone in their soft spot, and they won’t tell you about it. Especially highly sensitive people.  

The truth is also that so much behaviors fall within the scope of respect that it’s easy to not respect someone. Plenty of those behaviors are committed everyday, making people feel not understood and lonely. Of course, we won’t avoid every injury, but there’s a difference between hurting people every day and hurting from time to time. And they feel the difference.

When you treat somebody on an equal footing, you show them that they are like partner, that they are just as important as you. That style is called ‘partner style’. And if you treat somebody worse or better than yourself, it’s automatically unequal setup in which there’s no partnership, no equality, so that’s why it names ‘non-partner style’. Why does something named ‘partner style‘ and ‘non-partner style’ even appears in text about respect? Well, you’ll find the reason there in second paragraph.

How to begin? What to know?

Do you wanna be respected? Start by respect and keep it. Note the above point – how they apply to your life? Where you want to begin? And implement at least one small change in your being with others. Remember that it’s impossible to respect perfectly everybody and not always our effort is noticeable. It’s not that you’ll treat people in good way from now on. Many times you’ll meet on difficulties and sometimes you may not know how to behave better and what to say (and maybe better say nothing) – it’s okay, I am in the same challenges.  

Lus Heart
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