For this week’s post I wanted to muse on the concept of respect (we’ve finally hit the R week with the Pagan Experience).
It is a wide ranging topic, expanding well beyond the bounds of Paganism so I am hesitant to launce in to any detail today but I wanted to share some musings on the nature of respect in relation to my own faults and foibles.
Personally I find respect a strange commodity (so to speak). It is something hard to earn and easily lost; and once gone it is almost impossible to regain it.
Some people find it easy to inspire others to respect them, for some it is almost impossible to inspire the same in others. Equally some people give respect to others grudgingly, whilst others are willing to give it regardless of what transpires around them.
In the big wide world of social media there are a multitude of different paths and opinions out there and it is a given that we are not always going to agree with everyone we meet. Its would be nice to see more respect of such diversity, not only in terms of approaches to paganism and magical practices but across a wider spectrum of race, religion, sexual orientation and so on. Sometimes it is giving people the opportunity to explain their positions/opinions or recognising that they are entitled to their difference of opinion is a good place to start. Sometimes this means being patience and polite, even in the face of overwhelming provocation because to gain respect we much first give it.
Personally I try to treat everyone with the level of respect I would like them to accord to me in turn. This comes from my own spirituality. I see that not only are we connected by the same thread of the Divine, which unites all of existence, but we are exactly the same at the atomic level. We are star stuff, born of Earth and Stary Heaven. To simply disrespect an individual or group based on their mere existence is to engineer a situation where I deny that common thread of humanity and that is a very slippery slope.
I’ll be the first to admit I am only human. I may never loose that basic respect for life however there are people and attitudes for which I have no time or respect for. I’m will always afford people the time and chance to earn a deeper level of respect, or equally find enough rope to hang themselves in that metaphorical sense, but I always give people a chance.
I will also own my actions. I realise I’m human and that my irritability gets the better of me sometimes. There are times I can’t suffer fools at all never mind lightly. If I have not shown any to in the first place then I neither demand it or complain when I don’t receive it. I am realistic, I know that to receive respect I must first give it and I don’t demand respect from other’s as soon as I ‘walk’ into a room, beyond that of common curtsey, simply because I happen to know (or think I know) something.
A little mutual respect for each other as a fellow human beings goes a long way. This world has already seen what happens when this last shred of respect for human life is abandoned, though as it passes from living memory we seem determined to repeat those same behaviours. Perhaps starting from there will help improve the wider world in the long run.