The thought for today is RESPECT.
Gandhi taught “Language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.”
Respecting yourself and others means making a choice not to use profanity or ‘put downs’. Let our language be based on respect for those we address. The life of peace excludes no one. Let your words reflect your respect for others. Apply the same with your thoughts. Speak and think from the depth of your heart and soul.
Another side of respect is listening – listen to others with the respect that what they have to say matters.
The act of listening has a calming effect on others. Even if they are in a heated tirade, just listening models a nonviolent response.
When someone is going through something very challenging and is at the height of their emotions, they are not able to think clearly. They cannot discern. In order to do that, they need to release and process their thoughts and feelings.
During these moments, the best gift we can offer is silence — our mere presence, our listening ear.
Our silence shows respect for the other — for what they’re going through and whatever else they’re feeling or thinking at the moment — full acceptance, with no judgment.
Silence indeed can be golden, when used appropriately.
In the Philippines, my country of origin, respect for elders is highly valued.
When asked by someone older, rather than answering in the affirmative with “oo,” responding with “opo” is a sign of respect. Ending the sentence with the word “po” also shows respect for the other.
Instead of kissing on the cheek, greeting an elder by kissing the back of the elder’s hand and holding it against one’s forehead is another show of respect, while saying “mano po.” It is a gesture that elicits a blessing from the elder, who responds with “Kaawaan ka ng Diyos” (May God bless you), while making the sign of the cross, just like a priest does.
Several years ago, when I was still a practicing Catholic and churchgoer, after attending a Mass at a church in Singapore, as is customary, my friends and I greeted the priest with this gesture. The priest smilingly acknowledged our gesture and said, “Oh you must be Filipinos. Only Filipino churchgoers of this church do that to me.” 🙂
Respecting another also comes in the form of acceptance — of the equality of all beings. We may have individual differences, but we can live harmoniously when we accept each other for our uniqueness.
The differences in our beliefs, color of skin, religion, cultural background, shape, size, social or economic status, educational attainment, professional endeavor, marital status, sexual orientation, lifestyle — all these do not define an individual nor do they make one more valuable than the other. We all are valuable and we all are lovable. And we all are deserving of respect.
Today: As I interact with and observe people during the day, I will be aware of ways in which I respect each person. I will draw a picture of someone for whom I have a great deal of respect, then frame the picture with words that describe this person.
64 Ways in 64 Days Nonviolence Daily Reflections Day 26 – Feb. 24, 2012
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