R – Respect and Reciprocity
Dear Mom –
Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you have enjoyed this booklet of love letters filled with lessons you’ve shown me. Every lesson is built on some form of relationship. We are meant to be in relationship with others – from Christ to friendships to marriage to colleagues. I’ve watched your relationships at each of these levels and one of the driving forces to them being successful has been respect.
You’ve taught me that before I can expect people to respect me, I must first respect myself. This is so vitally important in relationships. When I respect myself I’m aware of my values and don’t compromise them for career gain, relational influence or romantic interest. I remember this lesson so loudly as it related to dating – when men see that you respect yourself which means you have boundaries then they have only 2 choices: respect you or roll on. This lesson did most of the surface hard work for me during my dating years because it would automatically eliminate dead beats on sight lol! Thanks mom! In all of my mentoring of young girls from Nashville to Columbia to Knoxville to Chattanooga, this is the lesson I always try to leave with them that you’ve taught me – respect yourself and others will mirror back that level of respect for you. 😊
Once I was in a relationship of mutual respect, then I was able to lean on this last lesson of reciprocity. Respect and reciprocity are truly the recipe for remaining in relationship.
Reciprocity can be hard at times, but it truly gives L.I.F.E. to our relationships if we remember that reciprocity requires:
Most people say that communication is the key to relationships, while I agree I would go a bit deeper and say that listening sustains relationships. We often associate communication with initiating or engaging in conversation, but what I’ve learned is that oftentimes our loved ones are communicating (verbally and non-verbally) but we aren’t listening. Reciprocity requires active listening to truly hear and understand so that you can mirror back what’s being given out.
You’ve taught me to be a wise, strong and kindhearted woman that is capable of being independent but able to be interdependent. This protected me from unbalanced and unhealthy relationships of co-dependency. In interdependent relationships both people are strong and maintain their values and uniqueness while also respecting and nurturing the wants and needs of the other. There is no misplaced weight of “completion” that’s created by the other, but rather 2 complete in Christ individuals come together to complement one another.
Oooh wee this is the big one! Lol! There is absolutely no reciprocity without forgiveness, daily. I’ve learned that having a heart to forgive without rehearsing the other person’s wrongs allow me to be able to reciprocate the goodness and mercy that Christ gives to us. This aspect of reciprocity exposes our level of faith in Christ because this runs counter to our natural predisposition. Flesh wants to get back and His Spirit in us propels us to forgiveness.
Empathy is the last requirement of reciprocity that gives L.I.F.E. to our relationships. Empathy is very dependent on listening to understand and then share in the feelings of the other person. You and daddy have been married for a long time, and I’ve heard and watched empathy in our home growing up. Empathy requires compassion, practicing acts of kindness, undivided attention listening and love!
I pray that I’m able to share these lessons that you’ve taught me with other people and most importantly, that I live these lessons each day. Hopefully these open letters have inspired others to take hold of these 6 (really 12 😊) pearls of wisdom to not only look good but to most of all LIVE BETTER!
Mom, I LOVE YOU and I’m so grateful to spend Mother’s Day 2017 together! God is so good, and I am grateful!