Respect has been on my mind a lot lately.

On a personal level, I’ve had cause to respect the efforts of someone close to me, their reaching out with an olive branch, offering peace and a positive future. Also personal, I’ve been scuba diving again, something I do to enhance my self-respect (through effort, learning and courage) and appreciation of the natural world. The reward on a recent trip was to be surrounded by inquisitive and playful seals and inspected by grey nurse sharks, both creatures I have utter respect for and who seemed to respect me.

On a broader level, I have felt respect for the forces of nature, the altruistic actions of those who help despite cost to themselves, those who take a stand when rights are threatened, and for a leader on the opposite side of the world who has remained strong and calm and forceful despite the horrors of war.

So, what is respect?

For the purpose of this blog post, the relevant meaning is a sense of the worth of something: a person, a living thing, a place, an institution, a culture, an inanimate thing.

It is due regard for people’s feelings, wishes, or rights.

It is a recognition of value in someone or something and a demonstration of that.

Of foremost importance is respect for ourselves. We need to care for our own wellbeing, value our own worth, and appreciate our own thoughts and inclinations before expecting respect from others. How can we expect others to value us if we don’t value ourselves? How would we know when we were being disrespected? How would we even know what to respect in others if we didn’t understand and value our own minds, if we didn’t respect our own actions?

Having self-respect guides our morals and gives us strength, enabling us to respect others thoughtfully. Equally, it enables us to remove ourselves when there is no respect coming our way.

Respect is a primary foundation for our physical and mental health, the health of our relationships, and the health of our planet. Without respect, people become destroyers of themselves, others, their relationships, and the environment.

It is good practice to show respect first, to assume other people and places are worthy, and of value. Doing no harm, being polite, actively listening, and being helpful are all good ways to show respect.

I believe respect is imperative in any loving relationship. Feeling and showing respect for a partner, a friend, a child or parent, and requiring respect in return, makes for a healthy relationship.

Once respect is lost in a relationship, unless it can be rebuilt, it is doomed. If someone’s attitudes or actions cause us to think they are unworthy of our regard, the relationship is no longer viable.

I believe respect for the natural world is imperative in saving the planet. Our lack of regard for it has damaged it severely. Learning about it, treating it as important, understanding how we fit within it, immersing ourselves in it, getting our feet wet and our hands dirty, and therefore discovering its worth, is the only way to salvage it.

Finally, showing respect for things we don’t fully understand, for the differences between people, cultures and attitudes, for each other as a general rule and not just on special days, will surely help us get along better, repair what we have broken, and enhance our enjoyment of the world.

I’d like to suggest we keep RESPECT forefront of our minds.

How would that feel for you?

‘Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you or makes you happy.’ Robert Tew (American writer)

‘There is no respect for others without humility in one’s self.’ Henri Frederic Amiel (Swiss writer and philosopher)

‘If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.’ John W. Gardner (American novelist and poet)

‘You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.’ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German writer, scientist and statesman)

Trainer, Mentor, Tribe: Helping Us Achieve Our Goals

Trainers, mentors and tribes are terrific tools in helping us achieve goals.

These days, these three are found across many fields of interest and disciplines, from the sports world to the creative or corporate worlds, to simply, the local community.

Personal trainers in exercise have become hugely popular amongst fitness-oriented, ordinary people, because they work. Find a good one, that is, one who’s qualified, has good interpersonal skills and who we can connect with, and we’re far more likely to be consistent in training and reach our goal, whether that be short term, I want to lose belly fat, or long term, I want to be fit and toned. Their involvement increases the intensity and quality of our efforts and therefore, the results. And they make it more fun. The number of times I’ve laughed during a workout is countless – I think good PTs dream up some exercises to challenge our brains as much as our bodies.

Mentors have been around since humans first talked. A mentor is a guide, a teacher, a guru. A good mentor is someone who is more experienced in our area of study, career, spiritual practice, or hobby than us, and helps us improve in that area by giving advice based on their understanding of our personal, individual challenges. Once again, if we find a mentor we connect with, they’ll be able to see our needs more objectively, point us in the right direction, and keep us on task. They can help us learn and help us achieve.

My last blog post described my writing style and the angst I suffer because of it. I expressed my fear that novel writing might not be for me, considering how long it takes me to write. At the end, I decided I needed to do something different – after all, if you repeat the same action and expect a different result, then you must be crazy, right? So, I took a step back, away from the computer, and returned to basics. I used coloured cardboard, index cards and felt pens, and had some fun. I played with my characters and their stories and analysed what I had. I found a clear message, the truth, the essence of my novel. And on the computer, a lot of words – 176,000! The story ran like a film in my head but was still not expressed in all those words. So, it finally dawned on me. I need help. I need a mentor. The moment I engaged one, I felt lighter, less fatigued, and my enthusiasm soared. I feel like I’m going to succeed.

The final tool in the shed of helpful resources is the tribe. When we find one, we’re never alone, we’re supported, and we feel part of something bigger than ourselves. When we’re connected to others through values, interests and sensibilities, our minds and hearts are nourished. We’re also encouraged in our personal pursuits.

My writing tribe frequently makes my day brighter. They’re there to share all things writerly – serious or funny – and also to support one another; in times of need (writer misery) and times of success (writer bliss). Thanks to The Twinklings 😉.

My other tribe is my community. Talking about big and small issues together (over afternoon tea), being active together (in walking shoes or kayaks), and pulling together to achieve a common goal, or just help someone out, makes each of us feel integrated and important. Being a part of community, amongst like-minded people, a tribe, gives me a sense of value, of enhanced self-worth. Anyone who feels like that, will be far more likely to achieve their goals. They’re also good enough to share my blog. Thanks to Sussex Inlet Pals😊.

I hope that anyone trying to achieve a goal, succeed in an undertaking, or fulfill a dream, would consider getting themselves a trainer or mentor or joining a community to find a tribe. You’ll reach your goal faster and have more fun along the way. I’m so glad I did. Will you?