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If you’re walking ’round
Think’n that the world
Owes you something
‘Cause you’re here
You goin’ out
The world backwards
Like you did
When you first come here

~The Staple Singers, Respect Yourself (check out their 1972 live performance)

Respect yourself.

It seems like such a modern idea, doesn’t it?  Or an obvious observation, at the very least.  It seems that way, and yet it can be pretty damn hard to actually carry out.

Just for fun, I asked Chickadee what it meant to “respect yourself”…just to see what she would say.  And she had no answer.   Really?  REALLY?  My kid had no idea what it meant to respect herself?

So I asked her what it meant to respect someone else.  And she gets that.  Translated from kindergartner: be courteous and compassionate, show tolerance and give people the benefit of the doubt, demonstrate honesty and forthrightness in your dealings with others.  And then I asked her how she could direct those ideas to herself.

Her answer was to ask mom to help fix a bubble bath and a hot chocolate when she’s had a bad day at school.

Kids are brilliant.

At the end of the day, respecting ourselves is about knowing when we’ve had a bad day (or a good one).  Respecting ourselves is about knowing when to indulge in ourselves, or when to invest in ourselves, or when to discipline ourselves.  Respecting ourselves is about taking the time to forgive ourselves when we didn’t measure up, about celebrating when we did.  Respecting ourselves is about being in tune with our needs, and asking for help when we need it.

Respecting ourselves is about recognizing our health (emotional, physical, and spiritual) as the foundation for what can go out and do in the world.

Sometimes that means we quit…a job that beats us down or a relationship that belittles us on a daily basis.  Sometimes that means we persevere.  Respecting ourselves can mean walking away or taking a stand.  It can be about our values, or our value.  It can mean overcoming a challenge–whether it be the challenge of allowing ourselves the occasional luxury (my problem) or the problem of giving up too many luxuries.  The manner in which we show respect for ourselves is varied…but the basis of it is dependent on our ability to appreciate ourselves both as individuals and as part of humanity.

respect yourself