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And Then There was Aretha

1950s illustration of woman flexing her muscle with a caption WE CAN DO ITAll I want you to do for me

Is give it to me when you get home…respect (re, re ,re)

Yeah baby (re, re, re ,re)

Whip it to me (respect, just a little bit)

When you get home, now (just a little bit of respect)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Find out what it means to me

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Take care...

~ Aretha Franklin

MARI SELBY: Respect - it’s what every woman wants. Respect is what every woman needs. Our individual definitions of respect have as many shapes and colours as there are women. Another name for respect is worth. How do we define our worthiness, is it from the respect we feel from others or from how we respect ourselves? Perhaps we instinctively sense what respect or worth feels like in our bodies and souls?

The mystery is how do we know respect or worth when we seldom feel respected by anyone around us? Do we know respect or worth in the coding of our souls? Or do we know respect because we know denigration, condescension, abuse, and tolerance so well? Feeling respected by those around us may initially be elusive. However the dichotomy and truth is that respect will be more forthcoming the more we respect ourselves. The more we value ourselves, the more we are perceived as having value. This can be an uneasy conundrum to solve. How can we birth that self-respect we instinctively know when we don’t see that respect in the mirrors or in the people around us?

We can begin by believing we deserve respect for simply existing as human beings. We further deserve respect for surviving in cultures that don’t fully support women for being our awesome and beautiful selves. Currently here in the US there are many men in power who believe such anachronisms like there is no such thing as pregnancy with legitimate rape. As if there was such a thing as illegitimate rape? When we encounter disrespect in any form we have choices. Do we ignore those external and internal voices that disparage our souls? Or do we begin with respecting ourselves and honouring our intuition, feelings and dreams one courageous act at a time?

Like a newly developed muscle we develop respect through self-care, affirmations, following our joy, and choosing people who are accurate mirrors. We further build up that muscle by giving up our victim stories of how awful…whine, whine, our lives have been. No matter how much abuse we experienced in the past, and how horrific our lives the past is the past. We cannot change the past, only live more in the present. The more we let go of those victim stories the more we are truly ourselves. The more we build up our muscles of self-respect, and worthiness the more our souls shine. The more our souls shine the more we know a soul full tune of RESPECT.

When I first heard Aretha sing about respect in the 60’s I was floored and unbelievably excited. This was my kind of woman! She sang about my deepest needs as a girl. Back then I did not have a definition for what respect meant. I did know however what being disrespected meant as a girl. My father was very traditional; girls and women’s territory was the kitchen and boy’s played with tools. Being the eldest of three children in our house, my father first turned to me to help him with his projects. I loved handling the tools and feeling like I was doing something that mattered. A small little seed of respect was planted.

Suddenly when my brother turned five I was no longer needed in my father’s workshop. No explanation, just a dismissal to the kitchen. At the time I was hurt, then enraged at my father’s callousness. Now I am glad that he saved my hands from cuts and scrapes, and tossed me back into the circle of women. The seed was set nonetheless I work with tools in the garden, do small carpentry projects, know my way around a computer, and can repair my car when necessary.

This week’s exercise has three parts:

The first part is to reflect a moment on your well of self-respect, and self-worth. How full is your well? Do you need to prime the pump and pull forth more from your deepest self? Or are you feeling content and accepting of who you are today? Maybe you are ready to jump into life with a big “YES”? Maybe you have no idea how much you respect yourself. No matter how full and clear your well of self-respect may be you can dredge deeper and express your soul’s path further.

The second part of the exercise is to look into a mirror and say 3 times, “Thank you God, Good for me!”

The third part to the exercise is to write down how that felt to look at yourself while saying, “Thank you God, Good for Me!” Now how full is your well of self-respect? Imagine you are a woman who trusts and respects herself. A woman who listens to her needs and desires. You are that woman who meets her needs and desires with tenderness and grace.

 
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More from Mari Selby

 
 

Article Pic Biography
For over three decades Mari Selby has comforted, and assisted hundreds of people as a family therapist, healer, and spiritual advisor.

Currently the director of Selby Ink , a publicity and marketing firm, Mari promotes authors by developing name recognition through traditional publicity efforts as well as social media. Selby ink specializes in the genres of body, mind, spirit, relationships, environmental issues, and social justice.

This summer Mari’s 2nd poetry book, 'Lightning Strikes Twice' will be released. She is also co-founder at 'Of Sticks and Stones' a publisher that celebrates women's transformation of life's challenges through creativity. Mari's columns can be found on San Francisco Book Review's , 'After the Manuscript' and her blog 'Fierce Grace'. You can also find Mari on Facebook and Twitter @selbyink

 
       
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