Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB
So sings Aretha Franklin in her classic song.
In the song Aretha is saying she knows she is fabulous and gives her husband everything he needs – but needs her husband to respect her more.
I think respect is a concept many of us struggle with, to a greater or lesser degree:
Respect for the environment and our impact on it.
Respect for the opinions and feelings of others (particularly prevalent on social media, where it sometimes seems people appear to think they can say what they like because there’s not a real human at the other end. Or maybe they forget.)
Most of all, I think our struggles with respect centre around respect for ourselves (especially us women).
Respect is something that has to be earned, and that respect will be earned only if we respect ourselves as well as others.
The song Respect is an anthem of a strong woman who knows who she is and what she wants out of life. She is not afraid to ask for it.
Do we emulate Aretha by knowing who we are, what we want, and to ask for it?
I know it is something I have struggled with.
Things like respect for my needs and boundaries by not putting up with people who do not respect me or my feelings. This aspect of respect is something that has grown (perhaps inevitably) as a result of losing Hugo. Taking less crap from people, knowing when to walk away, knowing when I need a bit of quiet time. Respect for my boundaries relates to having the confidence to defend those boundaries when needed, build them up when required, and reshape them when necessary.
Respecting my time remembering that busy does not always mean productive. Remembering that self-care is not an indulgence but a necessity to keep yourself going. Learning to not be such a people-pleaser, to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty and without fearing that everyone will hate me as a result.
Respecting who I am: a woman, a mother who is brokenhearted without her baby son, living with grief and trauma, trying to move forward with life with positivity and optimism, trying to relinquish my desire to control everything in my life to feel like I can cope with it all… while coming to terms with and accept an ever-shifting ‘new normal’.
Trying to integrate this ‘new normal’ (oh how I dislike that term!) with who I am underneath all of the mess: a passionate, compassionate, creative woman who loves meeting and spending time with people.
Not trying to be someone I am not, pretending to be someone I am not. Not aspiring to be someone else (aspiration and ambition is brilliant, but constantly wishing you were someone else without doing anything about it, or wishing you had a lifestyle that is never going to be attainable, is almost guaranteed to lead to unhappiness).
Respecting life: celebrating the fact that I am alive when I could be dead; making the most of my life, for me and for Hugo; acknowledging pain while allowing myself to feel joy, enjoying all that is beautiful in the world.
It takes time, of course. I think self-respect can come only if you respect your boundaries, your time, who you really are, and what you want out of life.
From that self-respect comes:
Being a strong person. Standing up for myself, for others, for the things that I believe in.
Becoming empowered, a force to be reckoned with.
As Aretha might say, I am taking care of business (it’s what TCB means in the song, apparently!)
Sock it to me, show a little respect.