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The Power of Respect

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

“Something great is seeking to express through you today.”

-Mary Morrisey


When Mary Morrissey declares that greatness resides in each of us, she is speaking of our purpose. No one must give us a purpose. We are born with one. But, to discover and respect our unique greatness, it is most helpful to have it affirmed by the respect of at least one powerful other.


We are purposeful, living systems. From infancy, we express ourselves in ways common to others and yet uniquely ours. For example, universally, humans breathe in fresh air and expel used air. We all need our lungs to function. Similarly, on par with our lungs, we all need each other. But, where we begin to differ is in how we need each other. Social scientists have identified distinct patterns for how we vary in our preferences and applications of our human interactions.


The Enneagram, a tool for personal transformation, has been used for centuries to help individuals discover their own unique ways of being and of serving their purposes. By skillfully using the Enneagram to help people discover their unique profiles, respect is operationally defined in a non-judgmental way. Whereas the persons may have thought of themselves in generally negative terms or in labels or categories, the Enneagram gives them a tool for becoming much clearer about the specific gifts and ways they naturally can serve their own purpose and dreams.


Another way to think of respect is that it is one of four characteristics of love. Coupled with truthfulness, responsibility, and compassion or care, respect conveys the capacity to stand back, with an attitude of awe, as we see deeply through any masks or walls, to know the person’s true value and message. To demonstrate respect requires great courage because the viewer is undefended and open to receive what the other brings to the table. The respecter uses his/her mental faculty of imagination to see the person showing up with worth and value and thus creates an energy field that attracts just that. With this picture of the other in mind, the respecter speaks with both verbal and nonverbal languaging in ways that evoke non-defensive responses. Through this kind of connection, the other begins to feel seen, valued, safe, and more open.


As the communications continue, they lead to further and further discoveries and developments.


In addition, when we choose to respect, we are choosing as follows.


  • To see with admiration

  • To hold in high regard

  • To place the other/s first with generosity

  • To extend praise and express reverence

  • To act boldly yet with consideration and wisdom

  • To refrain from interference/intrusion

  • To carry with care, confidence, even delight


In essence, when we respect, we hold ourselves and others in truth and high esteem while acting with both care and responsibility. In addition, given the universal law of circulation, we can count on the fact that as we give ourselves to creativity and service, we create attractor fields in which we can trust a generous return for our investment. The return may not come immediately. It may not come in any package that we have anticipated, but it will come.


End note: Hopefully you have enjoyed this essay about the power of respect. Taken in combination with the skills of deep listening, conscious waiting, and authentic voicing, respecting forms the basis for nonviolent communications, collective creativity, and transformation of whole systems.


Watch this space for posts on these additional skills sets.

  • Deep listening

  • Emptying or letting go

  • Authentic voicing

  • True community vs pseudo community



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