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  • Kamran Mashayekh

A Father’s Day Lesson on Respect

The cornerstone of any successful relationship is respect. The term is widely used, and Aretha Franklin demanded it, yet what is really meant when someone says, “I respect you”? Let’s look at the formula for demonstrating respect, letter by letter.


Reverence

To revere each other is to treat each other at all times as an honored guest. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

In the Far East, people bow to each other as a sign of reverence. This gesture represents showing honor to one another as human beings, regardless of race, creed, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or social/economic status. It embraces the diversity of all beings. To adopt such a mindset and awareness, one must actively root out any pre-conditioned and/or implicit bias that one may harbor towards others due to social conditioning and upbringing. Consider each person that enters your life as a gift. Treat them as an honored guest to show you revere them. Honor their humanity and value them as a person.


Equality

We all want happiness and we all want to avoid suffering – everyone’s tears are salty, and everyone’s blood is red. ~His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama

There are presently nearly 8 billion people on Planet Earth. On the surface, there seems to be insurmountable differences between individuals –in age, race, gender education, levels of intelligence, religious beliefs and in social and economic status. However, if we look below the surface, we are all equal in one area – we all want to be happy. Part of respecting someone is treating them as your equal, even though you may possess more education, make more money or have a higher social status than they do. Remember, these are only surface differences – they do not reach to the core of who we are. The next time that you meet someone, imagine that the person you are meeting is just like you – you both want happiness in your lives. This simple, common desire should be the basis for treating each other as equals.


Space

If there is no understanding your loved one is in a prison called love. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Space, in the context of relationships, means freedom. The freedom to be WHO and WHAT you are. Freedom to express yourself without any judgment on our part. Freedom not to feel controlled or dominated. Giving space is a gracious act. For your relationships to flourish, it is essential that physical and emotional space be given to the other. To do anything else is a form of invasion. You must give encouragement to your friend or partner to become the best version of themselves. Give them space to be themselves and watch them blossom in their own time.


Patience

In this country, we have a wait problem. ~The late Robin Harris

In the age of fast food, same-day shipping and streaming, we have become impatient. In relationships, impatience manifests into judgment. A patient person refrains from judging when mistakes are made. A patient person waits until that person’s actions can be viewed in their entirety. Relationships are constantly changing – the only permanent thing in life is impermanence. If you are not patient when your loved ones get angry, frustrated or sad and allow them to fully express the full range of their emotions, then you are dishonoring your relationship and, perhaps, creating lasting damage.


Equanimity

A champion is one who can treat victory and defeat with equal grace. ~Rudyard Kipling

When we speak of having equanimity, we are talking about calmness, composure or level-headedness. How difficult it is to not react with harshness, anger, bitterness or rage when someone whom we care for does or says something unkind? You might say almost impossible, and I agree with you! That is where the person with equanimity or a level head will calmly cool the fires instead of sending the place up in flames. Sometimes, to preserve the honor of the relationship, it is best to walk away without uttering harsh words and returning to discuss the issue when emotions have cooled. The most fundamental issue in any relationship is always to maintain the dignity and honor of the other person. By maintaining a level head, you preserve the reverence of the relationship regardless of the issue on which you disagreed.

Once, a teacher was walking with his student when suddenly an angry person shouted insults at them for no apparent reason. The teacher simply walked along and ignored the fool. The student, in utter amazement, asked why his teacher did not react to such foolishness. The teacher replied, "If one offers another a gift and the other rejects it, then the gift returns to the giver."

Chivalry

Is chivalry dead or just forgotten? And if chivalry is dead, can it be resurrected? Or have we all been defected? ~NC Lenore


In my opinion, one of the most beautiful sights is a couple in their golden years out in public. The man opens the door for the lady, pulls out her chair and stands ready to be attentive to her needs. I extend a challenge to all men to be chivalrous and exhibit an attitude of reverence in the presence of every woman. Do not let any opportunity go by without opening the door, pulling the chair and allowing the woman to feel the distinct privilege of being a woman. To the ladies, I challenge you to accept nothing less than being treated with honor and dignity, for it is your birthright. A man will only treat you according to how you set your boundaries. Demand that he be chivalrous with you. The day that a woman understands immense power that she has, she will transform the world.

Time

Time is the currency of relationships. If you want to invest into your relationships, start by investing your time. ~Dave Willis

Spending quality time with someone means asking the other about their goals, dreams, fears, experiences and sharing the same with them. It’s time spent to know the inner being of the person you want in your life. It’s giving one hundred percent of our attention to the other and listening while they share themselves with you. Remember that without quality time, your relationship will not survive.

Each letter in the RESPECT formula speaks volumes due to the significance it plays in mastering our day to day relationships. Remember, people might forget what you say or do, but they will never forget the way you made them feel when they were around you.