Many of us find that as we practice treating others fairly, with love and respect, we ourselves become magnets for love and respect.
…In All Our Affairs
I remember before coming into the program, when someone was treating me in a way that I did not like, I'd get defensive and critical, or I would yell, or I would emotionally withdraw from the person so that they would feel isolated from me. All of these things were tools that I used to try to get the other person to treat me differently – that is, I used to try to control their behavior. When I started behaving in this way, I then felt like I had to remain committed to that course of action because otherwise how would I “train” the person not to act that way again if I just caved and stopped yelling or stopped being angry?
During and after every such circumstance, I did not feel good about myself or the outcome, no matter what happened. I know now that the reason is because I acted in a way that I was not proud of. At the time, however, I was only focused on the actions of others and never stopped to assess my feelings on my own behavior. Today, in all my interactions, I try to focus on my own behavior and make sure I am acting in accordance with my conscience. In my recovery program, we refer to this as “keeping my side of the street clean.” That is to say that I act in a way that is respectful and loving of others regardless of their actions. This does not mean forcing myself to suffer or internalize abuse. To me, “keeping my side of the street clean” means being loving and respectful to others and myself in my interactions. When my boundaries are crossed, I respectfully state that I am uncomfortable. If the behavior continues, I remove myself from that situation while at the same time practicing love and compassion for myself and the other person. Once I started doing this, to my great surprise, the people around me started treating me with love and respect, also. I think this is because it is impossible to have an emotional or verbal tug-o-war if one person does not pick up the rope.
Today, I try to practice love, compassion, and respect for others because I now take responsibility for my part in all of my interactions. When I behave in a way that that I am able to be proud of and comfortable with, I am at peace with whatever the outcome is.
A meditation for March 05, 2013.
Respect – Aretha Franklin