Respect is one of those strange things that we often assume we understand but, depending upon our upbringing or values, can differ greatly between people. But what is respect? And what is not respect? And how do we truly respect our partners and ourselves in a relationship, especially if we want to be authentic? These questions have been swirling around in my head and then I saw these three quotes on Facebook ….
“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.”~ K. Gibran
“Unless you are a survivor of emotional abuse you have no idea what it means to fight daily battles in your head with a person you no longer have contact with. Verbal, emotional and physical abuse have residual effects on the victim. You don’t ‘just get over it’ “(anonymous)
and, by the wonderful Wayne Dyer : “Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make. Period.”
For me these quotes summed up much of my musings. To me they speak of the absolute need for respect and care and authenticity in relationships.
We must be real in our relationships. If we are not authentic our partner is simply having a relationship with someone else. An imaginary person that we have created because it is a better person that we are. Two major flaws with this coping mechanism – firstly who says this imaginary person is better! And, more importantly, this imaginary person cannot last.
No matter how good our acting abilities are, the false self will fade away and our wild and imperfect self will emerge. Anyone who has been in a relationship with someone who has had this happen will know the shock of being with someone who is so different than the one we thought they were. Of course we will always put our best foot forward when meeting someone but the more comfy with are with ourself the less likely we are to put up a mask.
The trouble though, when we are being real, is that we may be concerned that our raw honesty may be hurtful. For example there may be times when we are exhausted and can’t listen to another word but our partner is on a roll. Perhaps they need to download or make requests of us but we just can’t take it in. How to be honest and say that we can’t listen without causing an argument? That is where care and respect come in. If a relationship is based on care and respect then we do not want to hurt them and we also don’t expect our partner to be intentionally disrespectful or want to hurt us.
But that doesn’t mean not saying anything.
By having an honest dialogue, perhaps saying, “Sweetheart, I am just too tired to listen right now, if I continue to listen I will be pretending and that is no good for either of us. Can we talk a bit later <and then identify a time you can listen>.” You must make sure you carry this through – it is now your responsibly to show the care and respect for your partner by initiating the recommencement of the dialogue, even if it is tricky.
If we are doing the talking we can remember that sometimes what we are saying may be too much for our partner to take in – we can then flag the conversation before we start by saying something like “Honey, I need to download about my sh*t of a day – can you listen right now?” or “We need to talk about the party next weekend at my folks, can we talk right now?” (and then respect the yes or no response and set up a time that you can both be present.
Of course this takes practice and won’t necessarily come easily but remembering that if you love each other then neither of you would be wanting to intentionally hurt each other. That means if you are getting hurt you may be taking things personally. Of course if you are either wanting to cause a bit of pain or feeling continually hurt then that is a VERY STRONG signal that you need to do some work on yourself and / or your relationship together.
Copyright 2016 Gay Landeta This article has been written with the intent of helping you to create the life you want to live. All right reserved.
BTW, If you haven’t down loaded my free ebook you may like to do that. I also developed my on-line programs to help you figure this stuff out so you can learn to let go and create a life you love. To have a look click here.