Thursday, September 1, 2011

R-E-S-P-E-C-T !!!

A great relationship exists for two reasons : first is the comfort found in similarity. Second is respect for the differences.........

My son is staying with me. He recently wrecked his car in an accident and until he can work everything out with the insurance company and get a new car, I suggested he camp out here because I live very close to the train station. It's so nice having him here. It's not very often I have someone to fuss over. 

Both of us were up and at 'em by 4AM today.  I hate turning on TV first thing in the morning (it disturbs my peace) but he asked and I obliged. My child is a news junkie and a Republican.  A very conservative Republican!  I didn't raise him this way but I wasn't the only one who had great influence over him while he was growing up.  I did raise him to have a mind of his own, however, and those lessons obviously 'stuck'. Evidently, he and I have very different political views but we both love God, our country, and our world. One thing I do have to say for my son, he is passionate about what he believes to be "right". I might disagree with his views, but I respect him. 

We sat for a few minutes this morning watching the news and sipping coffee. We saw a report about Dick Cheney being compared to the evil Darth Vader (based on the new book he wrote) and Obama described as a peace-loving Jedi Warrior.  My son snorted in disgust and said "Anyone who is a Liberal has absolutely NO morals."

Okay,  first of all, that was a really insensitive comment. That's something an ignorant person would say and I know my child is not ignorant.  Secondly, I am a Liberal and I HAVE MORALS!!!  He knows I do. But, it was way too early in the morning and I certainly hadn't had enough coffee to argue so I just let it slide. It makes me so sad when people consider those with different lifestyles, likes and dislikes, beliefs, opinions, ideas, political views, etc. as misguided, immoral, or just plain stupid. I don't want my son to be like that.  I want him to have respect for others despite their differences.

I adore my son.  He's a good kid - kind and generous and I am so proud of him.  I have no problem with him disagreeing with me. Okay, I secretly wish he shared my political views and thoughts on marriage equality, a woman's right to choose, global warming..... but he has different ideas and I refuse to insult him because he doesn't think like me. I want him to think for himself and speak up for what he believes.  But I want him to do it with love and respect for those who believe or feel differently than he does. My son definitely needs a refresher course on respect despite differences.  Hopefully the time we spend together over the next few weeks will help. If not, his lack of respect will create tension and a gap between us. His air of superiority concerning his political views is just a reflection of a larger issue. Evidently he lacks respect for anyone who thinks, feels, or acts differently than he does. I know who he gets this from and it breaks my heart. If he continues on this way, he will always cause friction and isolate himself and others.  He'll have difficulty in all his relationships.

Respect. A great relationship cannot survive with out it. 

I recently ended a relationship. Lack of respect is the reason why. When we first met we had common likes and dislikes. We were drawn to each other because we enjoyed many of the same things and had similar values and goals for our lives. We were also very different but those differences are what intrigued and attracted us, especially on his part toward me.  He was attracted to my spirituality, creativity, my eco-friendly ways and how I viewed the world. He was intrigued by my vegetarian lifestyle and passion for health, wellness and yoga.  In fact, the whole yoga thing really turned him on. He used to think my love for animals and how I wept over every dead bird, opossum, or a cat on the side of the road was absolutely adorable. I was unlike anyone he'd ever met but eventually all my differences caused a huge gap between us. We fought all the time. He wanted me to think and be like him. He wanted me to view religion and politics his way, give up my ideas, hopes and dreams and eat a piece of chicken, for god's sake!  Even my recycling efforts (separate cans, paper, plastic, glass) he thought were a major pain in the ass. He used to think this was a noble, necessary effort and I had different bins for each. It wasn't that difficult!  Rather than love, accept and respect me for the ways I was different, he despised and insulted me. Everything about me that used to be inspiring and fascinating to him suddenly became idiotic, inconvenient and unacceptable. He lost respect for the differences he once found attractive and sadly, our relationship came to an end.

No two people can ever agree on everything. A combination of our similarities and our differences is what usually attracts us to another person. What we have in common help us to identify with the other person. Our differences make them and the whole relationship more interesting. When we spend long periods of time with someone, occasionally we make the mistake of expecting them to be more like us. We want them to eat the same foods, watch the same TV programs, read the same books, enjoy the same movies, have the same views and values, have the same saving and spending habits. In extreme cases, we might even demand they think and feel as we do. If they don't, sometimes we will hurt, humiliate, punish or reject them. Why? We've lost respect for their differences. If we can't respect the differences in others, our relationships are destined for failure.

I used to believe that all I wanted was for someone to understand me. If I could find one person who really understood me, that relationship would be a successful one. That might be true but more than understanding, I need respect.  No one can ever completely understand why I think, feel, act, believe or even vote the way I do. Especially if my views, thoughts and actions are so much different.  Why? Because they have never lived my life and no matter how hard they try, they will never see the world through my eyes.  To be respected, regardless, is the true desire of my heart--in any relationship I have: with a lover, a friend, my parents and even my son.

There's always going to be some body who thinks, believes, acts, lives, loves, worships, or votes differently than we do. What would happen if we decided to respect them for those differences rather than reject, isolate, or insult them?  Give up our right to be right for once? Could we ever just say, "Look, I don't agree or understand but I totally respect you anyway?" I think this is the greatest expression of love.

I think every single person in the world is longing to be loved, accepted and respected exactly as they are, differences and all.

And this is my Daily Cyn..........

No comments:

Post a Comment