If you respected yourself deeply, what choices would you make?
I've been asking this question a lot lately. In my experience, we don't spend as much time as we should thinking about the ways in which we respect and disrespect ourselves. And yet, many of our decisions - at least unconsciously - are based on that very fact: whether we're willing to deeply honor what we want/need or whether we're willing to settle for less.
As humans, we're able to say we want something, proclaim that we desire it strongly and still internally block it. Why? Because we're afraid. Sure, we grow up learning to tell ourselves that we're not afraid. We cover our fears with a veil because they make us feel vulnerable. Acknowledging fear is important, though - the very recognition is a litmus test of sorts. Of course, I'm not suggesting that you wallow in your fear, get stuck there or use it as excuse to not move forward.
Rather, it's an opportunity to be honest with yourself: How do I really feel? What does the fear tell me? In what ways do I need to be courageous?
Deep respect is comprised of two important principles:
Let's explore the concept of never settling for less than what you want. This about knowing your own worth and internalizing the belief that settling for less is never worth it. Settling costs you at every level - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially.
Sometimes I hear comments like, "Isn't it selfish to focus on what I want?" And I answer, "No, it's not selfish. Knowing what you want and taking action based on that information puts you in greater alignment with yourself." And when you are in alignment with who you are and what you want, you act with greater ease, energy and clarity. As a result, you have more to give others, you're more productive at work and at home, and you make an even greater contribution to the world.
In any situation you face, ask yourself, "What do I want out of this situation?" Gaining that clarity will transform your life, particularly if you take the corresponding action.
Now let's examine the balance between when to take charge and when to let go. In each moment, we're called to accept what is. And particularly when we're uncomfortable with a situation, we have multiple choices - and most of our choices fall under the headings of either "taking charge" or "letting go."
Taking charge requires taking action: either through thought, word or deed in order to get our needs met. Taking charge does not mean complaining, rehashing old details or blaming other people. It's simply determining to the best of your ability what needs to be done and doing it - no matter how afraid, nervous or apprehensive you might be. You identify what's not working for you and take the steps to articulate and act on what you need.
Letting go means that you've chosen to release a situation, a person or an outcome. In some cases, you choose to withdraw your energy and free yourself. In other cases, you take charge or set an intention and then choose to remain unattached to the outcome.
When we're in the grip of fear, we often do the opposite. When taking charge is required, we convince ourselves that we simply need to put up with what's happening. When letting go is necessary, we hold on for dear life. While this is a common fear-based response, it's universally counterproductive.
Here's the great thing about deep self-respect: you don't have to earn it, prove that you deserve it or go out and acquire it. It's available to you each minute of every day. It's yours for the taking. Use it as your barometer, your scale, your measure of deeply understanding what's most important to you.
If you respected yourself deeply, what choices would you make today?