Today I’d like to talk about some interesting elements of human behaviour. To point out what these elements are so that we can look at ourselves and say, “Is that us? Is that me that’s doing that?”
Then we can say, “Is that the way that we want to be living? Is that the way that we want to be doing life?”
There are two things that I think are the most important things every single one of us as humans want in life.
Love and respect.
I don’t know too many people who would say they didn’t want or need any kind of love in their life, and I don’t know too many people who would say that they didn’t want or need some kind of respect in their life.
There are probably others as well, but for now I’d like to focus on those two things, because what I’m noticing is people who are quite outspoken about different forms of love and respect that should be given to people – they may be outspoken about minority groups, they may be outspoken about leaders, they may be outspoken about lots of things – like I am!
Very often, the kind of respect people are asking of other people around them is not necessarily matching the kind of respect that they are giving the people around them.
The best example that I’ve seen lately is in relation to wearing masks. In my understanding, in Australia in 2020, it is still optional in 90% of locations to wear a mask. You can currently choose whether you wear one or not. Recently, I’ve seen a number of people online (who I would respect as people that stand up for issues and themselves and for other people) making derogatory comments about people who choose not to wear a mask.
This is not about whether or not you should wear a mask, this is about what is the level of respect that we want to give to other people around us at all times, in all circumstances.
It’s not good enough for us to demand respect in one situation but then not give respect to someone else in another situation. That’s not okay. It’s not aligned human behaviour, and yet so many of us are doing this exact same thing.
I’m seeing it happen all the time online. This is not about politics. It’s not even about what you think. It’s about what you are able to offer to the person beside you, or the person online, or any other person whether you know them well or not.
What are you willing to extend as a human being and offer to them in the form of respect?
Is it conditional? I don’t want your respect if you are offering it to me in a conditional manner. I’m not interested in your respect if it’s conditional.
I’m interested in unconditional respect.
We respect each other as intelligent humans, no matter how we think differently.
All of us like to believe that we’re right. We all think we’ve done the research, we’ve looked into this, we believe that. It’s fascinating to me how ten different people with ten different thought processes about something can all very, very firmly believe in their “rightness”. The more that we believe in our “rightness”, the more we allow our desire to be right to trump the need to respect other humans or our need to provide love to other humans, then we are on a slippery slope.
Psychologists have a term for that called cognitive dissonance. It means you’re saying one thing, and you’re doing another thing.
Let’s call out my own (and everybody else’s on the planet) cognitive dissonance.
Where in your life are you saying that you’re a loving and respecting human being and you’re giving love and respect to everyone around you, except those people?
Except that person that looked at me funny, or except that person that I don’t like.
There should be no exceptions when we are talking about giving love, when we are connecting with other human beings, when we are demonstrating respect.
Respect is respect, no exceptions.
No exceptions for the person in Aldi that pushed in front of you in the checkout line. No exceptions for the person that has made a different decision about wearing a mask. No exceptions for people of a different race.
We either give love and respect freely, from the deepest part of who we are as humans, or we might as well not bother, because if we start making an exception here, an exception there then what we’re really doing is saying, “We can be perfectly respectful approximately 10.2% of the time, if the conditions are right.”
It sounds ludicrous when I say it that way, and yet in practice, that’s what some of us are doing.
I’m not here to call you out. We should call ourselves out. We are grown up. We are adults.
If we are truly conscious humans and we are truly connecting with each other at that high level of consciousness, it means we have a high regard for each other.
It means we have a high need to feel like we’re helping the other person’s life to be better than what it is.
That is what love and respect truly is. Love is truly looking at the person you walk past on the street who is homeless and sitting there and sending all of your love bubbles to that person. Talking to them, giving them some contribution, whatever it is that they need from you at the time.
That’s love in a practical sense.
Respect is sitting in a meeting and noticing when someone who is the quiet person at the end has not said a single thing during the whole meeting, and you (as the person who is demonstrating and showing respect) invite that person into the conversation and say, “So what do you think about this? What does this matter? In what way does this matter to you?”
It’s about giving people a voice. The more voices that we hear and the more genuine authentic voices that are coming forward, then the better off we’re going to be as humans.
I think there’s at least one thing that we can argue about, and that is that as humans, we are motivated and we need and want to give love and respect.
Those are the two things that in my world are the non negotiables. They’re the ones that never have an exception. They’re the ones that you can never put to the side and say, “Oh, but..”
They’re the ones that you can never blame on somebody else. They’re the ones that have the consistent experience that I believe as humans we want to have.
Let’s step back and have a look inside our own lives and see if we are actually living in alignment.
Are we doing what we’re saying that we’re doing, every step of the way, every day with every person with every human?
I know it can be a tall ask, and that for some of us, that takes practice. That’s okay too.
It’s that focus on us being better versions of ourselves today than what we were yesterday. Then, when we wake up tomorrow, our goal is to be a better version of ourselves tomorrow than what we were today. It is a step by step process, and it’s also one where we can really step back and have a look at our own lives.
If we could more consistently in each moment, in each breath, come from a place of giving love and giving respect, suddenly, our perception and our world around us would instantly be different.
Let’s live in that world.