Have you ever noticed how the closer you are to someone, the harder it is to be respectful?
We’re polite to strangers, and new friends – remembering our manners and not interrupting when they speak. We acknowledge and pay heed to their boundaries. We respect others opinions when shared at dinner parties.
But the people close to us – our mothers, partners, siblings, best friends … they get the sharp side of our tongues. They get questioned, accused, smothered, coerced. We tell them that they’re wrong. We don’t give them enough space. We sigh and roll our eyes when they tell the same old story for the hundredth time.
Respect comes from the understanding that others are separate from you.
They are their own beings, entitled to freedom of thought, word, opinion, action and values. They are not yours to change or boss around.
People can only thrive when given enough space to express themselves in the way that they want. When they’re treated with respect that says, ‘You’re important, you’re smart, and you’re strong enough to find your own way.’
I’m learning how to give those closest to me, the ones I love so dearly, enough room to breathe. Kind, respectful words. Time alone when they need it. Space to share their opinions. Restraining myself from the familiarity of closeness which can, if unchecked, breed contempt.
Practice with me.