I try not to make it so obvious when I write about situations that happen with my friends, but I’m pretty sure this friend will know immediately this blog is about him. However, I’m not really writing about what happened between us as much as I’m trying to understand this need for respect. As I look deeper into respect and what it really offers, I also see what respect takes away, leaving me unsure what positive purpose respect really delivers.
So I decided to look up respect so I had all the meanings available to me as I write out my feelings. Let me be clear, all that I write comes down to my feelings on these various topics I choose each week, as this is a blog and really my way of working through thoughts, situations, and ideas I run into on a daily basis. The idea of respect has been on my mind for a while, mainly due to that lack of respect I have been feeling from friends and in the workplace. With friends, I am less upset and in my feelings because I know the ups and downs that can come with friendships. While friends are friends due to shared interests and enjoyment, each person still has their separate ideas, separate agendas, and separate processes for how to live each day. Sometimes that separateness will drive the other crazy but the friendship should be there to temper any hurt feelings. Respect for the friendship should still calm any ill will that can and will arise, as individual express their individuality, but even there one could feel the other does not respect the friendship, leading me to still question the purpose of respect. But I try to focus on longevity as opposed to respect, giving me shelter to regroup and address whatever issue needs my attention. Work is a little different and where respect tends to hold more weight for me.
I pride(bad word) myself on my work performance. I’m always of the mind, ” This is not my business. I am working for someone else so I will do as they wish and at my best.” I sound like someone you want on staff, but being one of few that have this work ethic is a tough pill. I also look to be the one who is stressed and more serious at work. In truth, my stress comes from other associates. I see all the things that need to be done, but my coworkers only see no customers and break time. They forget that downtime is to prepare for the next wave of customers, and if they would get ready for the inevitable, they would be able to relax more and with ease because the work is truly done. My pet peeve is when that doesn’t happen, forcing my to either do the work, nag them to assist, or sometimes take my issue to a higher authority(most times it’s just me and the Dharma).
I’m sure you’re asking where does respect come in? At work, I begin to feel disrespected often. I know I work hard and often times do the work of others, but I don’t get recognized for the extra that I do. Honestly, I’m not even doing extra, I do my job while others do half of theirs making my job more than it needed to be but again I’m just doing what needs to be done so do I really need recognition? Do I need the respect of my peers and those above me for just doing my job, even though sometimes it’s my job and the job of whomever I’m working with that day? Pride and ego say yes and lately, I’ve listened but after the blow up I recently had at work, I had to look deep. What I found upset me more than scared me, but both were present in my mind and both helped in this new awakening.
I took a moment and began to re-read Going Home by Thich Nhat Hanh. Just ten pages in made me realize I had stopped my daily practice of mindfulness. I was watering the wrong seeds of pride and ego, instead of understanding and compassion. I was seeing work as a competition where I was on top due to my work ethic, and the rest were behind me. With that kind of thinking, it’s no wonder I had always had a difficult time at work. I saw myself being used due to my need to get the work done, then holding resentment towards my coworkers who were laughing amongst themselves while I did their share. In my mind, I sometimes saw their laughter as being pointed at me. This is no way to work and no way to live but many of us do it hoping that someone on high would recognize our struggle and give us the respect we deserve(another bad word).
Respect isn’t ego but the need for it is. Even taking pleasure out of finally getting what you feel is owed kind of brushes up again the pride and ego that resides in all of us. But what’s wrong with being happy finally getting recognized? Nothing but it is taught in Buddhism and I’ve experienced that clinging and wanting of that praise brings nothing but anger, resentment, and more strife as one competes with the other for more and more. My need for respect comes from me needed to be recognized; it comes from me feeling used first, and the actual good job I’m doing last. A whole host of other emotions are thrown in from resentment, pride, anger, frustration, envy, and so many others. If you look deep at why you need respect or recognition, you would find some of those feelings and others mixed in with those desires. And while most things are a hybrid of one thing or another, I am finding I am much happier when I decide I don’t need my name in lights, on a trophy, or above anyone else’s.
Having this work issue woke me up to where respect needs to be in my life. I choose to respect life and the hard journey we all are on. Each day we deal with so much just to get to the next moment. There is traffic, illness, car troubles, light bills, a 45-minute wait at your favorite restaurant, Panera being out of everything bagels when you really need one( every time). We already have a long list of requirements that society says we need and then our inner ego wants to double that, all taking away peace and joy that is already available to us. I needed the trouble I had at work to wake me up.
Today I’m woke.