Friday, January 29, 2010

Respectfully Yours...

While many of us have joined hands to work against various issues facing our country, there are some real ground issues that we need to tackle. The very basic psychological need of any human is respect (in its true sense). What would respect mean?

Well, to begin with let us say it is to honour each other's presence! Now, all of us, from the very beginning are so used to of being taught everything, its very rare that we self learn things. So, who teaches us this phenomenon. I would probably appoint "the mother", for no one can be a better teacher for a child than his/her own mother.

My question is- Is that happening? The answer in all probability would be don't think so? We have come to terms with parents providing sex education to their children however, I am yet to see any mother inculcating that emotion called "respect" in her child. But many wonder what is the point that I am trying to make, should we have lessons on respect now? My answer is Yes! It is important for every girl to understand the thin line between self respect and ego; it is important for every boy to understand the thin line between power and dominance.

Things in the past were so simple, the roles were so clear. The mommies were given the portfolio of home management and the daddies had to manage everything else. I still remember my friend's mom giving the job desciptions (JDs) & KRAs of the organization called "family". Here it goes-

Daddy: the one who goes and gets the bread and the butter
Mommy: the one who toasts it and applies butter
Child: the one who gets the first bite

Life was so simple back then. But now, the mommies are in the race to outshine the daddies. In such a situation it becomes very important for every human to understand this concept called "respect". Many marriages are breaking for the want of "respect". I see many times it is not respect but ego! Both men and women fail to respect each other's existence and do not understand the thin lines between various realms of life and proceed to lead a happy and balanced life.

With the roles getting complicated and intertwinned, the concept of respect needs to be schooled to each one of us so that it is not messed up with ego! ELAINE SIHERA an expert author, public speaker, media contributor and lifestyle columnist has worked on the concept of respect and following are the excerpts from her writings:

Often a lack of respect comes from a misunderstanding of the word. We throw around the word 'respect' very glibly, as a single cure-all for our feelings. But respect is not just one term. It carries six other dimensions within it:

1. curiosity: We have an interest in that person. We want to know as much about them as possible, or at least a few key things to start with.

2. attention: If curiosity is satisfied, we move to give that person our full attention.

3. dialogue: We communicate verbally as much as possible because we respect that person enough to want to hear what they have to say. We also take the greatest pleasure in conversing for its own sake.

4. sensitivity: This is at the core of respect. Accepting the person as they are without wanting to change them to suit us; fully acknowledging their values, culture, identity and who they want to be; valuing their contributions, opinions and inputs and genuinely listening to them and sharing their concerns. These are all essential elements of showing sensitivity to the person they are, and wish to be. When we put ourself and our needs first, and can only see our values, cultures and opinions, we are lacking great sensitivity to those we care for and are actually denying them respect, no matter what we say to the contrary.

5. empowerment: Being curious about someone, giving our attention to, having a dialogue with, him or her, and being sensitive to their needs represent the greatest form of empowerment we can grant to another human being. It shows we value them greatly if we are willing to give them our attention and time, and also care about what they value. Anything else lacks respect.

6. healing: Respect has the capacity to heal, especially when we have had past experiences that have been very hurtful or traumatic, so this last dimension is important. When we have had a bad time it is very affirming to be respected and valued by the new person we are attracted to, or the people we interact with, and it is effective in speeding up the healing process.

If we are not really demonstrating those six concepts in various ways, with regards to the one we say we respect, we are not showing them much respect at all.

I find the definiton so beautiful as it fits in every relation- in-laws, lovers, friends, spouse, colleagues and fellow citizens. In a way is that not what our constituition also frames in the form of fundamental rights!

More to follow as I experience life........

Cheers! Kanika

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