Relationships Thrive With Respect
Have you ever tried to change your partner, family member or good friend, so you wouldn’t have to feel disappointed, disconnection, loss or frustration?
Respect is a heart state that creates the foundation of every good relationship. When respect is present, both people experience the deep underlying love that comes from feeling valued for who they are, rather than evaluated for what they do or don’t do.
Each of us arrives in a human form with a destiny to live out. Our personal blueprint marks the territory we must travel. We play out our destiny; acting in our own way and timing. And, we make choices and hold attitudes according to our inner programming.
As you respect your own destiny and the destiny of others, you open a space for everyone to breathe more deeply. You feel freer as you offer respect rather than judgment or control. And the person you respect experiences that delicious love opening that you create.
When two individuals come together in intimate relationship they infuse it with hopes, dreams, passions and values. They also carry fear-based tendencies, beliefs and habits. Their childhood experiences or traumas tag along in a knapsack. Within intimate relationship, these traumas often arise to be healed. With respect, relationships create a foundation to transform these fears and limitations.
When respect provides a sturdy ground, it is much easier to deal with the natural power struggles that all relationships go through. Who gets their need met and who surrenders? Who takes direction and who follows? Respect in relationship includes learning the art of negotiation, smoothing out the battle of wills that two individuals inevitably face.
Relationships are challenging when respect is not present. Individuals attempt to change each other to fit their needs, meet their standards or keep their image intact. They may assume they know what is best for each other. They may hold the illusion that they have the power to change their partner, yet in reality this is not true. No one has the power to change anyone else. True change comes from our own volition, not because someone else causes us to change.
Until we release our need to have people fit our pictures of how they must be, we will consistently sabotage our relationships. Disrespect is toxic to our system and to the system we call relationship.
Attempting to control someone else is the ultimate disrespect. One of the places that this specific mechanism shows up is in our closest relationships. Have you ever tried to change your partner, family member or good friend, so you wouldn’t have to feel disappointment, disconnection, loss or frustration? Or, maybe you wouldn’t have to face that you need to do something differently yourself? Attempting to control others is a mechanism to avoid facing your self and taking full responsibility for your life.
A wife insists her husband ‘should’ be a certain kind of father… so that she doesn’t have to feel her own disappointment of not feeling fathered.
A man insists his wife stay looking like she did when he married her… so he doesn’t have to confront his own aging process.
A father pushes hard for his child to win… so he doesn’t have to confront his own feelings of inadequacy, not to mention his image as a father.
A man tells his wife what to do… so he doesn’t have to feel helpless in the face of her feelings or his own vulnerability.
A woman nags about how her husband isn’t what she wants or needs… so she doesn’t have to make a decision to take care of herself, leave or do something differently.
When we use tactics of control we exercise arrogance in one of its finest forms. We rise to this position in an attempt to avoid the deeper emotions, beliefs and wounds that keep us feeling unhappy, insecure or inadequate. Arrogance helps us shy away from pain or denial, at least for a time. In so doing, we become obnoxious petty tyrants to those around us.
Our need to control, whether conscious or unconscious, is a band-aid for the vulnerability we wrestle with inside. Until we surrender to ‘what is’ we act as hungry hunters, starved for something we haven’t healed or cultivated within. We take on disrespect by attempting to control others.
Many disguises mask the lack of respect.
Tyrant ~ Forceful strategies of intimidation, interrogation, righteousness or rage attempt to assure an outcome that will keep vulnerability at bay.
Victim ~ Works to evoke sympathy and attention through self-pity and blame.
Manipulator ~ Nags, ignores, isolates, or brings the martyr out to play.
Pleaser ~ Placates and accommodates to control others.
When we attempt to fix or alter that which is not our responsibility we suffer. We end up in chronic frustration and resentment. When our best tactics don’t work we endure, brood, act out, or we give it up and leave. Eventually, control clobbers respect.
Another option is to respect your self enough to face yourself. By bringing awareness to your behavior and how it affects others, you begin to unwind destructive patterns that arise from disrespect.
It takes courage to make a choice to cultivate respect rather than control. It takes a warriors will to push through to Love’s way.
The next time you catch yourself trying to control someone or a situation, check in with your motivation.
Is it approval, validation or connection you seek?
Do you want a feeling of security?
Are you attempting to keep your image in tact?
Is a scary unknown staring you in the face?
Do you resist feeling awkward, embarrassed or clueless?
Are you to frightened to show vulnerability?
Do you shy from feeling an emotion you don’t want to feel?
Are you fearful of abandonment or rejection?
Are you defending the places you’ve held as ‘unlovable’?
Do you need a hug or comfort?
Have you lost your voice of assertion that sets healthy boundaries?
When we take a look at our motivation for control, we recognize our own fear-based emotions and habits. Until we face and heal these insecurities, we will strive to control people and situations in order to feel safe.
A closer look at the damaging affects of this behavior will show us what it costs us. When we attempt to control people we generate distance in our relationships. Who wants to feel controlled by someone else? In our quest to have others meet our standards we erode our integrity and eventually lose their respect.
Sooner or later we realize that we have no power to change anyone. While our friends and family might be influenced by words we say, people change because of them, not because of us.
People make choices to do things differently when the emotional, mental or physical cost of the habit they continue is too high.
With respect we don’t argue with the play of life or try to control it.
Choosing people exactly as they are and exactly as they are not creates respect. We can acknowledge and honor their choices even if we don’t agree with them. And, we don’t necessarily have to endure their actions if these actions create too much difficulty for us. Accepting and enduring are two different routes to take and they both offer us a different experience.
If we are challenged by the choices others make that directly affect us we can respond from our own inner truth. We can make a choice—how do I interact knowing where they stand? How do I respond? What am I willing to tolerate or accept? Communicating how we feel, what comes up for us and what we need is a clear direct way to meet these moments without exerting external control. This is a way of respecting them and also respecting ourself.
Another alternative is to learn to enjoy the differences we have with others. We can be curious and entertained by their unique and specific flavor. We can come to enjoy the diversity of expressions that life offers. This is the way of respect.
The art of living with respect keeps us on our side of the fence—we sweep up our own backyard and grow our own beautiful garden. When people need help or support, they will ask for it. Without permission, we continue to seed, water and trim our own garden and leave them to do the same.