The happiest people we know nurture warm and appreciative relations with the people around them, sincerely wishing for them to be happy.
The ninth of the 16 Guidelines For Life — respect — warms our heart, strengthens our sense of self and lifts our spirits when it is both given and received.
Scientist Albert Einstein’s investigation into the nature of the universe convinced him that human beings are interdependent rather than independent. So mutual respect and co-operation are necessary for all of us to thrive.
“Respect can be neglected in our society, especially with our elders. Taking the time to understand one another’s position in society and looking at one another with loving kindness and compassion can plant the seeds for change,” says former Beamsville resident Carmen Straight.
Fern Gue, 85, of Burlington, has trained child-care workers for 35 years. “My father was my hero because he earned the respect of every life he touched. He lived what he said. That is what children expect from teachers, clergy and others in authority.”
Her husband Frank, 84, is an engineer, educator and policy advisor. “I see myself as a change agent. I can be on very good terms with members of other parties with different views. You can learn from your opponents as you hope they are learning from you.”
Fern laughs, adding: “At City Hall, we hear ‘Here comes Frank again.’ Not necessarily agreeing with him, but they respect him and admire his commitment to causes.”
Try this: Who has been the role model for your life? Which of their strengths do you yearn to have and which do you have in common already? What is your unique way of expressing these strengths? During the next week, notice and celebrate every time you put them to good use, and remember the person who has inspired you.
Dekyi-Lee Oldershaw, former director of The Centre for Compassion and Wisdom in Burlington, is coauthor of 16 Guidelines For Life, available at website centreforcompassionandwisdom.com.