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This is episode 115 – Radical Respect. We may think we’re being respectful to ourselves and others, when we aren’t. This is a revolutionary view of what “respect” really means and how it can dial up on your personal power in every aspect of life. Hi, I’m Carla Rieger and this is the MindStory Speaker podcast.
So, I’d like to suggest that many of us are unaware of the amount of disrespect we are giving ourselves and others. So, I’m not talking about scolding yourself over being disrespectful in the way that a parent or a teacher might’ve told you as a child, that actually just dials down on respect some more. Instead, I would like to redefine the word respect. It actually means “to have admiration felt or shown for someone or something that you believe has good ideas or qualities.” But often that word ‘respect’ comes up more often in arguments, as in, you should show more respect to your elders, or you don’t respect my choices, or in our society teachers don’t enjoy the same respect as lawyers and doctors when they should. So, many people associate the word RESPECT with scolding others, rather than what it was meant to represent.
Occasionally, people will say, I really respect that person for the choices they made. It’s usually in the context of someone acting in an ethical way, having integrity, when it would maybe be more comfortable for them to act out of integrity. For example, a company leader who admits they made a mistake that harmed people or property, and is willing to take responsibility.
Maybe you remember the song Respect by Aretha Franklin where’s she’s telling off her lover who keeps asking for money and not giving her back what she wants which is a little R E S P E C T – find out what it means to me. Now, of course it’s important to tell the people in your life how you want to be treated, but I want to point to a deeper meaning of the word.
So the etymology or origin of the word RESPECT is from the Latin word respectus – the act of looking back, reconsidering, re = to look, spek = to observe. So, it’s about not passing someone or something by, but going back, really looking, really considering, really seeing someone’s worth. Being present in the moment. As opposed to not really seeing the true intrinsic worth of yourself or others, but instead only seeing through unconscious biases, looking through a filter of old programs or beliefs that aren’t based on truth, that aren’t coming from your true self.
So I’m talking about a respect you just feel inside, where you feel gratitude, admiration for someone or something because you are recognizing good qualities, good ideas, good attributes. And the place we need to do this most is with ourselves. We tend to have a negativity bias for our thoughts, words and actions, and then that extends out to others as well. Those who look for good ideas, good qualities good aspects in themselves tend to also do that in others and therefore tend to have a far more successful and fulfilling life on many levels, health, lifestyle, relationships, finances, career, overall well being. Now, again this doesn’t mean putting up with others crashing your boundaries, but as I’ve talked about in many episodes, there are ways to create strong boundaries respectfully. In fact, people who respect themselves, then to have far less problems when it comes to others disrespecting them. In other words, disrespecting yourself tends to magnetize others disrespecting you. So, starting with yourself can profoundly change your external reality.
So, what do I mean by Radical Respect? A definition of Radical. There are many definitions like someone who goes against social norms, who advocates for social change. It also means departing from the usual or expected to something unusual or unexpected…like when my boyfriend in high school arrived in a souped up Mustang convertible and everyone said “Wow, that car is Rad, man”. So, Rad is also synonymous with excellent in some contexts. But the definition I like and am using here is…arising from or going to a root or source, as in “She proposed a radical solution to the problem.”
So, together, Radical Respect then means – really seeing someone’s worth from the source – beyond all the overlays.
Now of course the problem is, Radical Respect is not often mentored, or demonstrated to us. Many of us grew up in families or in school systems where we mostly saw lots of superficial disrespect. Or, having contempt for someone that you believe has bad ideas or qualities based on ignorance, lack of connection to a source of truth.”
Of course, what you focus on grows. So, if you are looking for bad ideas and qualities, you will find them. Yes, pay attention if there is bad behavior, bad intentions, or someone who doesn’t have the skills that you need for something. I’m not saying to ignore the bad, but being able to see both is important. Often, this negativity bias we are taught to have, means you don’t often see both, you just see the negative, the glass is almost always half empty.
So let’s use the metaphor that life is a game, and we are all in a virtual reality role-playing situation, playing out a story, what we like to call a mindstory. The story in this game is meant to develop you as a person, as a soul. So if you were the writer of this story, which at a certain level – you are, you just might not be conscious of it, there’s this thing that writers do that really works for them, which is to respect all characters. Respect the villains as much as the heroes. I’m sure you’ve seen in certain, perhaps, historical movies where the hero is looking for a worthy adversary.
As a writer, if you create a really strong hero, and a weak villain, the hero overcomes the villain very quickly and the story is over and it’s kind of boring. If you create a really strong villain, and a very weak hero, then they kill off the hero really quickly and again there’s no real story. What you want is to have a strong hero and a strong villain who are well matched, and then the story begins, and it makes us interested to go on the journey with the characters to see who will win, how they will win, how they will overcome the obstacles.
Therefore, if you don’t respect both villain and hero, if you don’t give them both great qualities, and highlight those great qualities, you won’t have a very good story, you won’t have a great learning journey. For example, in the Lord of the Rings, what if Frodo just walked straight to the Mount doom and dropped the ring in there, with no interference. The book would be a lot lot shorter.
If Dorothy arrives in the land of Oz and the house doesn’t land on the bad witch and so she gets rid of Dorothy there and then with her evil wand. End of story. The Munchkins freak out and run back inside their houses, the witches continue to rule. Nothing changes.
So, to put that in the context of our everyday lives, let’s look at it from the perspective of your relationship with yourself, your relationships with challenges, and your relationship with others who might seem challenging to you. Let’s start with your relationship with yourself, because usually challenges with others go away, once you sort out challenges within yourself. Most of our challenging relationships externally in our lives are often reflections of inner issues anyway, as hard as that is to admit sometimes.
So let’s say, there are aspects of yourself that you don’t respect. And it could be something really simple such as, you don’t like your nose, or your gluttonous behavior when it comes to desserts, or how you nag your spouse, or how disorganized your workspace is, or how neurotic you get if someone seems to be critical, or how your back goes up when you try to pick up a pencil from the floor, or how immature you act around your mother, or how needy you feel with that certain friends, or how petty you get when it comes to sharing the tab in a restaurant.
We could look at each of these as the villainous or weak or flawed archetypal characters within the self. What if you could respect that character in a radical way? By that I mean, what if you really honored the part of you that is needy, immature, neurotic, unattractive, weak, flawed? What if those qualities were there for a reason, so that you would have a worthy adversary from within?
Because, if you were self-assured, mature, wise, attractive, strong, with no flaws… What would there be to work on? Now, you might be thinking, that sounds great, I don’t really want to have to work on anything. I get it. It’s normal to want a successful, easy, comfortable life where every goal you go after works out really easily, every investment you touch turns to gold, every relationship you have is marvelous, you wake up in the morning looking fantastic, every single day for every decade of your life, you never get sick, everyone likes you. But I tell you, life would get pretty boring, no story, no adventure, nothing to test your ingenuity to solve it. You simply wouldn’t grow, you’d stagnate. Nothing wrong with that. But stagnation is one thing, and movement and growth is another. At some point, we all need to decide what timeline we want to be on.
So, I’ll give you an example. You might relate to this if you have pesky health issue. I often have a pain going down my left leg. Somehow my pelvis or hip joints are the or ankle are misaligned, so if I do a lot of exercise then I can easily have inflammation all down the right side of my leg. I’ve tried many things over the years to fix it, Pilates, yoga, physio, but it just keeps coming back, and more often the older I get. So, after few years I just decided to put up with it, until I started thinking about it from this radical respect point of view. What if I could respect this villain, this pain that sometimes keeps me up at night, that will go away no matter what I do. How is it a worthy adversary? So pick something in your life, one thing, and ask yourself that question – how is this thing I don’t like a worthy adversary? What is it bringing out in me as the hero in my story, that wouldn’t come out if it wasn’t there? How can I reconsider, re-look at it from this deeper, less superficial, more source-based way? How is it helping me go on the adventure, living out the mythical MindStory of my life?
Now, you might not get an answer right away, but if you posed that question to the higher mind, it really wants to go find you an answer. It will work on it at night when you sleep, and you might wake up in the morning with an idea, or when you are going on a walk, ordered during a quiet still moment. So this is what I got. This misalignment shows me where I am out of alignment with myself. Many people view the right side of the body as representing the masculine side for both women and men. It can describe how you feel about and value yourself, your confidence, other perspectives is that it’s about how it describes your future path. When I studied educational kinesiology we learned that most of us have a dominant eye, a dominant year, a dominant hand, and a dominant leg when it comes to doing activities. Most of us know whether we use are left or right hand to write, but which leg do you lead with? You can find that out right now by just imagining yourself kicking a ball. Which foot do you kick with? Whenever I taught on that subject, half the room would say they kicked with her left foot in their mind, and half would see the kit with the right foot. I was kick with my right foot. So I lead with my masculine, lead with my right, push myself quite hard. So it struck me that this is a manifestation of all my years of pushing myself, leading with this masculine side which over the years through my alignment out.
So this gives me a sign, it points to this deeper source, this radical change that needs to happen in terms of this imbalance. The women in my family were generally very career-oriented, not motherly, nurturing, feminine types, so I just followed in their footsteps. I didn’t have children, I focused a lot on my career, achieving things that mostly men used to do. Nothing wrong with that, but I did it at the expense of cultivating the feminine aspects of my nature. Now that I’ve spent a lot of time doing that, I don’t feel the need to chase after goals so much, and as I seek that balance, the old traumas lodged in the tissue, the fascia, the muscles, the ligaments in the joints of pushing so hard with my dominant leg, start come to the surface. As soon as I recognize that, I started taking very good care, using this nurturing, feminine energy to soothe the inner masculine, let him rest, and that this feminine side come to the surface more. That started to realize my pelvic floor and bring balance back to both legs. So, try that activity with whatever is your Achilles’ heel.
You can do the same thing with someone in your life who feels challenging. It could be a person, or group, or system, whatever has been recently causing you to feel negative emotions. So, a man I know had a son who he’s estranged from. He’s an adult and they have very different views on many things. Afterwhile, instead of arguing, they just fell out of contact. His closest friend had a great relationship with his son. They would go hiking together and sharing meals with the family together. This caused him to feel pain about not having that kind of relationship in his life. So he did this exercise where he wondering how his son was a worthy adversary, as an archetypal character in the mind story of his life. Although they got along when he was a boy, as soon as he became a teenager they were at odds with each other. Of course, that’s fairly common between boys and their father, in their teens they often need to differentiate himself by choosing an opposite stance from whatever the father represents. But in his case is just gone on well beyond the teen years. So he asked himself that question, how might he offer radical respect to his son as a worthy adversary? Nothing came to him at first. This is normal. But he just sat with it, mulled on it, wrote about it, and stories came to mind from different arguments they’d had.
One common theme was about living a traditional life, versus a more adventurous life. He loved to live a more adventurous life, not following the norms, having been a teen in the late 60s and 70s when the hippie movement was happening, some of those values stuck with him over the years. On the other hand, his son was more interested in living a traditional life, fitting in with society, not rocking the boat. He thought his son was missing out on important aspects of life by doing that, but this inquiry made him think about what his son could teach him. He never thought about that for. He’d just blanketly written off all his choices as bad and wrong, and his son had done the same to him. So for the next few weeks he made a list of all the qualities he appreciated in his son, even if those were qualities that were very different from his own. Of course in every society there are people who live by more traditional values, and others who live by less traditional values, and often you’ll find those different types of people in the same family. Everyone shared the same values, we never be able to look at things from different perspectives. Soon after, they were both at a family funeral and reconnected. He could tell that his son finally felt more scene, more radically respected, and over time he returned the sentiment towards his father.
A third example is dealing with world situations that affect your day to day life. There are many aspects of what’s happening that you may find challenging, so zero in on one…like keeping a small business going, or dealing with travel restrictions or unsure how to make the right choices given all the uncertainty. How might this state of affairs be a worthy adversary, how might you offer it radical respect? What’s it teaching you? What could it bring out in you that’s important for your life journey? Why do you have this situation at this time in your life? See where it takes you. I find that once you even just agree to learn the lesson of this part of your journey, things start to transform for the better…even if you don’t know what that is yet. If you’re open it will come to you.
And, if this is a harmful aspect in your life, this can also be a useful activity. There’s that old saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Within our social lives, there will always be people who we don’t like, who feel competitive towards you, who won’t like you. In families, the same thing. There are systems or groups you may feel at odds with.
Now, that line became famous when it was used in the film, the godfather. But, it actually comes from The Art of War, an ancient text written by Sun Zhu. And, in another context, it means to try getting to know someone you don’t get along with too well. What makes them tick? What might you learn from them? How might you better protect yourself because you better understand their motives? You don’t have to like them, or put yourself in a vulnerable position with them, like doing business with them, but they might give you a broader perspective of what’s possible in life because they do things very differently from you. And, it might actually keep you safer and wiser, helping you grow your skills in ways you wouldn’t if you didn’t get to know them. If you only hang out with people who like you support you, you aren’t going to grow and thrive in quite the same way.
If you like the idea of looking at your life as a mythic journey, and want to learn more, you can check out the MindStory Blueprint Course, which was created by my partner and I Dave O’Connor, to help people develop good habits of mind. You receive 15 short audios on the most common areas of mind retraining that our clients seem to need. In particular #10 is called Your Hero’s Journey, where you learn how to reframe your life as a mythic journey, with you as a hero and your obstacles as worthy adversaries. All are designed to retrain and free your mind so that you have good thoughts, that create good feelings, that create good action and therefore good results. You can also find more information on that product at mindstoryacademy.com on the homepage, just go down to the orange square. I’ll also give the link to that in the show notes.
Also, my fantasy sci fi fiction book will soon become available, on Amazon. It’s called Helio Tropez and it’s getting rave reviews. So, if you like a good pager turner, check it out.
So, I hope that was helpful. Okay, that’s it for today. In the meantime, please hit subscribe, please like this episode and do share it so others can find it. Until next time, thanks for listening.