I love watching little kids discover the excitement of building blocks. Their pudgy little fingers slowly stack one brick on top of another squealing with amazement when the lopsided house they built comes tumbling down.
Kids might not realize it, but we all know that a house build on a shaky, soft or unsteady foundation will never weather the elements or the test of time. Our lives are the metaphorical houses built out of the relationships woven into them.
From our first day on this planet, are lives are all about relationships. No matter which way we turn we can’t escape them. Even when we force ourselves into seclusion we can’t escape the relationship we have with ourselves. From the moment we are born, until the day we die, we build our lives one relationship at a time. Some are loving and successful relationships, while others are draining and weaken the fabric of our self esteem and lives.
So what makes some relationships better than others? What is the one key element that is found in every single successful relationship? What is the foundation of every strong union between two people? What is the most important building block that lends strength to our very essence?
Respect. Not one sided respect. Mutual respect.
It’s a simple word that rolls easily off our tongues, sometimes even said with casual irreverence. The question is how well, if at all, do we put it into action in our day to day lives?
Think about every heated argument you’ve ever had with anyone and I can promise you that if you break it down to the basics, there was no mutual respect between the parties. Each side wanted something badly enough to not treat the other side with respect.
Treating someone with respect does not mean agreeing with them. Treating them with respect means that you can hear their point of you, you can disagree with them and still love them for the amazing person they are.
When there is respect, compromise is easy because it is coming from a place of love and appreciation, and it’s not a feeling of having given in. It’s a feeling of give and take.
So how do you put mutual respect into action. Simply put, you need to work hard at treating other people the way you want to be treated. When you treat with respect, you will be treated with respect.
What do you think is the most important building block for relationships?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our contributor, Susie Newday in Israel. You can find her on her blog New Day New Lesson.
Photo credit to the author.
I’ve had a lot of trouble in my life with “treat people the way you’d like to be treated”. For a very long time I was the best, most loyal friend anyone could wish to have … and got “burned” over and over again. The other person really didn’t care about me and my feelings … they kept me around only for what I could do for them and give them. That pain of betrayal sticks around for a long time. Especially because I’d add insult to injury by telling myself things like “of course they don’t really like you … you were stupid to think you belonged with the cool kids” 🙁
I don’t disagree with you, Susie – mutual respect is the best basis for a good relationship, especially in conjunction with unconditional love – but I no longer encourage my children to treat others as they want to be treated themselves. I now teach them to always be polite and respectful …. but to treat others as *they* deserve to be treated! I’m sorry, but real life is unfair. There are many people out there who simply *don’t* deserve access to our hearts.