Be kind and respectful to all beings. Two-legged, four-legged and any other living thing. It’s not a matter of whether you think someone “deserves” to be treated that way (though I believe all beings deserve respect), regardless, do it because it’s who YOU are, and it is how you have chosen to walk through this world. It is what you have chosen to contribute.
It makes me cringe when I hear someone say, “I don’t need to be respectful to someone like that.” I don’t know, it just doesn’t sit right with me. I mean, I get the reaction, because it’s hard to be cool when someone pisses you off, right? But just pause for a seeeeeeeeecond. A split second. There might be 2 things to consider:
1. See if you find ANY compassion for the person or the situation …even a millisecond will do. If you can find any understanding buried in there, try to expand it. See if you can find even a shred of yourself in them…we’ve all been accused of being selfish, self-absorbed, ignorant, mean, thoughtless, forgetful, or we’ve done the wrong thing…either intentionally or UNintentionally. If we’ve screwed up, does that one thing DEFINE us, make us worthless, unforgivable, unrecoverable…doomed to Hell? …. OR, did we learn or grow from the situation, did we improve, did it teach us a valuable lesson, did it humble us? If that was OUR story, could it be theirs someday? Of course. There is also the idea of - did the other person perceive [my selfishness, mistake, etc.] incorrectly? So could we be perceiving THIS person incorrectly, is that possible? Maybe.
Sometimes, when a crazy driver acts like a jerk and cuts me off and speeds past I say, “what selfish jerk, you’re an idiot! Who do you think you are? So freaking entitled to break the laws and stress the rest of us out, I hope you get a ticket!” (okay, truth be told I can swear with the best of them…like a sailor, even. Sorry mom)…but anyway, there is THAT thought, but then I’ve learned to tell myself a story in my mind that goes something like this; “he just got a call from home and one of his kids is in trouble. He’s worried, stressed, he’s got to get home NOW. Poor guy!” – when I think THAT thought, compassion floods in and the dialog in my mind goes something like this: “oh no! hurry! Here, let me give you some room, GO, GO, GO! Get to your kids!” this makes me feel a million times better. Both stories are fiction. I just like the way my day feels when I tell myself the second one. I like how I am with whoever is with me in the car. I like the vibes I send him, and I LOVE how fast I let it go.
2. Let’s say you can’t find even a millisecond of understanding, compassion or peace with this current ‘bane of your existence’…Impossible! you say. You hate what they did. Here’s where you have a CHOICE to decide who YOU want to be. Your thoughts and actions reflect who you are and what you believe; your reaction is YOUR CONTRIBUTION to the world (and yourself). Instead of saying “this person doesn’t deserve my respect,” instead, maybe they don’t deserve your time, attention, thought, etc. You could choose to NOT carry them around with you for one second longer. Mentally, or energetically. That’s the win. You don’t become what you hate, you don’t contribute more negativity… instead, you move forward into the world remaining strong and respectful because THAT is who you are. You are free.
3. - okay, I've thought of one more important one...
Lastly, I believe we must look at all non-human creatures with compassion. These little souls, little lives, have thoughts and feelings, and if we have the power to affect their lives, we also have the responsibility to do well by them. If you’ve brought them into your home, love them, give them your time, attention, comfort and patience. Be kind. Always.