Respect is the basis of love, in all its forms. Love has a thousand forms and directions, but whether it is love for oneself, for loved ones, for one’s dog or even for the place where one lives, it can never exist without there being respect.
Respecting each other is the first step to loving
When we accumulate stress and feel overwhelmed by life’s tasks, the first useful thing to do is to begin to “say a few “no” in order to say more “yes”.Understandign when our bodies are tired and need rest, for example, leads us to be able to say no to that extra outing with friends so that we can rest and come back the next day with more energy. This is a gesture of self-love and arises because we have respect for ourselves.
Give instead of sacrifice
One of the pillars on which our society has been based for a long time is that of sacrifice: sacrificing one’s own well-being in the name of others’, constantly putting others before oneself. Of course, done with balance giving time, care and attention to others is essential to leading a healthy life and nurturing community, but we should have clear in mind that we’re talking about “giving”, not sacrificing.
Sacrifice is a symptom of disrespect: when we demand that others sacrifice for us, we are not respecting them; when we sacrifice for others, we are not respecting ourselves.
Gift instead is a side effect of love: when we accept the gift of a friend’s help, we are opening our hearts to love, respecting our need for love and mutual support; when we choose to donate our time and energy to a person, project or place, we are allowing ourselves to live in love.
To love is to respect the uniqueness of each person
“In order to love others you must first love yourself,” how often we hear this phrase giving it little weight, yet it is in the trivialities that the truth dwells. Sometimes it is also difficult to listen to these kinds of “banalities” because to accept it would mean becoming responsible for ourselves, and that is scary: it is easier to leave it to others to love us.
But why can it be difficult to love oneself? Love dwells in the acceptance of all that exists, respecting everything as it is and not as we would like it to be. Surrounded as we are by messages that invite standardization, it comes hard to realize that love is synonymous with diversity, with uniqueness. As a result, we lose the habit of cultivating respect for ourselves and others.
Respect yourself to respect the planet
Reclaiming one’s uniqueness is the key to nurturing love. When we accept ourselves as unique beings we begin to respect what differentiates us from others: whether physiognomy, character traits, desires, dreams or priorities, everything that makes us “us” becomes important, respectable and as such the object of our care.
By taking care of ourselves we will then begin to nurture love for others as well, until it extends to everything around us; respecting our own bodies will result in a respect for the bodies of others, which in turn will become a respect for every physical entity with which we interface. If we are unique beings and as such important, this means that the tree in front of our house, the sea in which we bathe in the summer, the groundhog we encounter on the mountain trip are likewise unique and therefore deserving of our respect.
Like any relationship, the relationship with the planet on which we live requires commitment. Starting by small commitments of care toward ourselves, this will inevitably lead to chain-generating a series of small acts of care toward the place where we live. Do you want to know what practices you can put in place to do this?
I list below four of the many small behaviors you can adopt to take care of yourself and, as a result, the planet:
- When you take a walk to the park or the beach, bring a bag and gloves to pick up some of the trash you find lying around – a simple yet important gesture.
- Do you travel a lot? Pack yourself a light and respectful travel kit: plant-based, solid bath products are enough to already make a difference.
- Whether it is sunscreen or moisturizer choose one that is natural and not harmful to the environment, the sea and its inhabitants will thank you.
- Always choose seasonal fruits and vegetables that are grown without chemicals -your body will be happy and the environment accordingly.
I look forward to hearing from you in the comments about what acts of caring you do that impact the planet in a positive way 🙂
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