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A Word About Respect

A Word About Respect

Think Aretha!

Aretha Louise Franklin was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist.  She is without doubt one of the most influential artists of our time.  It is one of her dozens of classic hits: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Give yourself a treat.  Click on her image, pump up the volume and enjoy!

Think Rodney!

Jack Roy, popularly known by the stage name Rodney Dangerfield was an American stand-up comedian, actor, voice artist, producer, screenwriter, musician and author.

His prevailing comedy schtick was, “I get no respect.”  One of my favorites among his thousands of one-liners is, “I get no respect.  I willed my body to science.  Science is contesting the will!” (Insert rimshot here.)

Think Relationships!

In relationships, there are many “triggers” that result in misunderstandings, tension and conflict.  Among the “top ten” are money, sex, children, in-laws, work, household chores, etc.  But the conversation that partners need to have is not about any of the above.  It is about what these triggers mean to each person.  What is the meaning of money, sex, children, etc?

In couples counseling sessions, we usually find ourselves focusing on a few meanings that are foundational to every healthy relationship:  Trust, Power, Safety, and yes, Respect.

What we have learned is, as two people become more proficient in their dialogues, that is, as they become better speakers and better listeners, they will be better able to avoid damaging the relationship.  In addition, as two people become more thoughtful in the way they treat each other, the triggers mentioned above will have less and less negative power in their relationship.

So the next time you find yourself “triggered” by something your partner has or hasn’t said or done, spend some time seeking to identify the real issue(s) behind the trigger(s).  Is my safety being threatened?  Am I feeling controlled?  Can I trust what is being said, and is my partner treating me with r-e-s-p-e-c-t?

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