Just a little bit? Actually, when it comes to RESPECT, it is either given whole-heartedly, or it is not given at all. There is no “just a little bit” or “middle ground” or an “in between”. The same way it is impossible to love or trust anyone any more than you love and trust yourself; it is impossible to respect another person or property if you do not have any respect for yourself. RESPECT is due to things as well as people.
What does the word RESPECT actually mean and how do we get about in a world that suffers terribly from a lack of it? Well, like everything in life, it begins at home—it begins with you.
In common terms, RESPECT is simply a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Additionally, the dictionary goes on to state RESPECT is a due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others. So basically, if you’re not “feeling it” and have no “regard” for (yourself or) others, respect ain’t happening. Make’s sense. This is pretty much the scheme of things in the world we live in.
Now, in Hebrew and in spiritual context, RESPECT—or “KAVOD כבוד”—- is a word which holds greater depth than its English counterpart. In fact, it is a derivative of the Hebrew word “KABED כבד”—meaning “heavy”. RESPECT in Hebrew has a lot to do with honor, value, and dignity. It is not a word to be taken lightly, and it is not based upon how you feel or what you think.
Let us bring it home for a minute. (Remember: If you don’t have respect for yourself, you will have no respect for others or anything else.) There are two persuasions that are polar opposites to (self) RESPECT and both have a lot to do with what we think of ourselves. Mind you, I am providing you with the extremities of both:
- INFLATED EGO. This is the maxed-out “Diva” who thinks the world of herself and always starts her sentences with the big “I”. She is full of grandeur doting on her inborn talents, status, and circumstances. She requires a lot of attention, actually, she demands respect, only because she needs to be noticed. She puts on a show wherever she goes. Haughty and proud, she aims for the edge on everything. In fact, she is the woman who looks like she has everything, when tragically, she probably does—every thing that doesn’t matter in this life. She’s full of Fake Honor. No Dignity. No RESPECT. None to give, none to get.
- NEGATIVE COMPLEX. This is the worn out woman who always has a story of “Woe” upon her lips. She feels she has no worth, whatsoever. Even though she professes to have faith in something, she lacks belief in herself which translates to her in believing in nothing at all. She is obsessed with the thoughts of others. She walks like a victim, talks like a victim, and is quick to stage her helplessness as a victim. She’s always ‘too’ something—too ugly, too fat, too sick, too scared, too tired—too unsure of herself, etc. She is a major-league of problems and can’t see opportunities, even if they are thrown in her face. With such low self esteem, she is an embroidery of False Humility. No Value. No RESPECT. None to get, none to give.
I am sure many of us have been in the soil of these two traits at some time or another in our lives. I know I have. But thankfully, it does not have to take root. There is no Diva-nation (Divination/Sorcery) against Israel and it is high time we turn our Woe into WOW! Irrespective of what we think of ourselves, what matters most, more than anything, is what our Creator thinks of us. Once we gain this understanding, the Woman of Proverbs (a woman that exudes RESPECT) will become real to us and not just some noted reference in a chapter in a book.
KEEP IT IN THE POCKET
If you find yourself out of balance and teetering between these two poles (aka Latter Day Karen and Debbie Downer), only the Creator can get you to where you should be. To keep your flesh in check, this is the best balancing act I know:
Run outside and grab yourself a handful of dirt. Put it in your pocket. Now, tear off a piece of paper and write these words upon it: The World Was Created For Me. Put it in your other pocket . . .
When you are overcome with woe (low esteem), or just too full of yourself (ego), stick your hands in your pockets. The dirt is a reminder from the Creator—YOU ARE NOTHING MORE THAN DUST. The words are a reminder from the Creator—THE WORLD WAS CREATED FOR YOU. (I am pretty sure you can figure this one out, but just in case . . . The words speak to the woe; and The dirt speaks to the ego. Balance.)
A VISION OF LOVE AND RESPECT
So what does RESPECT look like? Well, like a Proverbs 31 Woman! (Immerse yourself in truth and look yourself in the mirror!)
- This is a woman who realizes all she achieves in life comes about by honoring her Creator and actualizing her inner potential.
- She honors the gifts and talents her Creator has endowed to her and she is able to appreciate those of others.
- She is a craftswoman. She uses her talents as tools and attends to growing herself, spiritually.
- She is modest and goes about her business without a lot of fanfare, harnessing all her inner talents to do what the Most High has called her to do.
- She never exhausts or wastes her energy trying to prove herself to others, and she has no need to compete.
- She has clarity and grows herself, daily.
- She stays in the center of expertise.
- She knows her priorities.
- She understands that mistakes are correctable.
- She understands forgiveness.
- This is the woman who falls down and knows how to get back up with dignity.
- She RESPECTs herself and others and everything she puts her hands to.
(Cover Photo by Kira Schwarz)