R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Find out what it means to me…. I can hear Aretha Franklin belt it out. But how do you get it in the workplace and on production sets today?
Here are 3 thoughts and lessons I’ve learned.
Know and exert your boundaries.
One of the hardest things to learn is when to stop. I still fail at this sometimes. I’m one who likes to push the boundaries but I’ve learned over the years that sometimes you just need to throw in the towel and give it a rest. It often comes down to our self-worth and wanting to be “enough” but even more than that, wanting to be exceptional in the eyes of others. In our inward-focused social media world of comparing ourselves with others’ endeavors and achievements, this can bite back, overwhelming us with exhaustion.
Not being able to say no can also be an invasion by others of your time and energy that interrupts your ability to achieve all God has called you to do. Wanting to help and encourage others is admirable but can also be a disruption to what God’s called you to accomplish. In both of these cases, it diminishes respect because it robs us of success. Boundaries inspire others to respect your time and expertise and it can also show others how to manage their own time and purpose.
Stop trying to be perfect and impress everyone.
You’ll never reach perfection and you can’t please everyone. It won’t happen. This took me years to learn because of an older brother who died as a child. I always was trying to replace him in the eyes of my parents, who, because of their loss, unknowingly talked about him and idolized him to me. He was their perfect child who did no wrong when he walked the earth. I was an adult before I realized how their constant reminders of him had affected me. Don’t try to be perfect or impressive, be real. Be vulnerable and be willing to accept others’ imperfections. Admit when you have failed and then look for opportunities to turn failures into victories. Take the time to look people in the eye as well. Be confident in what you can do, knowing you will never be good at everything. You will gain respect for being real.
It’s amazing to me that I have to talk about this in today’s world, where we can afford to look better for much less. I know torn jeans and, sweats, and hoodies are the go-to choices today, especially after the pandemic, but looking put together, having a style (and I might add smelling clean) will always gain respect. It may seem superficial, but it makes a difference in what people remember about you.
Research says that we size a person up in less than 8 seconds, deciding instantly how much attention to pay that person. First impressions stick. There is also a reason a fresh haircut or manicure makes you feel good. It affects your attitude, energy, and choices. It reflects what you value and affects how others perceive and value you. Others won’t respect you until you respect yourself.
Respect comes down to knowing who you are and being courageous. Courage isn’t about being fearless. Courage comes with making the right choices, even if you feel afraid. If you want to be a “respected hero,” make the right choices. You’ll become the person who stands out and is looked up to by others. It’s worth more than gold, and it’s what God is cheering you on to become. He wants us to be a reflective image of Himself – mind, spirit, and bodily. When you carry respect, it reflects the One exalted high and lifted up. It’s a reflection of God living in you.
Do you hold onto offense easily? How do you navigate relationships when it seems like the brokenness in others (or yourself) continues to get in the way? Dr. Donna Marie Hunter addresses this important topic that we all face. Find out how you can set healthy boundaries, navigating your way to healthier relationships with others and deeper intimacy with God.
Dr. Donna Marie Hunter is an engaging TV show host on her show, Grace & Space, arousing honest conversations that encourages viewers to continue dreaming by building healthy habits and genuine relationships. She has co-authored two #1 International Best-selling books, Women Who Rise and Women Who Empower. Dr. Donna received her BS degree at Pepperdine University and her Master’s in Educational Leadership; she has a Counseling Credential and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University.
She is an intuitive coach for personal and professional growth, a knowledgeable consultant in education and leadership, and an inspiring champion for equity, access, and inclusion for individuals with disabilities. With over twenty years of awarded leadership as a counselor and administrator, Donna is a well-respected expert in public education. Her mission is to educate, enlighten and empower individuals with knowledge that transforms thinking and leads to actionable steps toward positive change.
Kathleen Cooke: One of the biggest challenges today is having meaningful deep relationships with those with differing world views without offending each other. What has God taught you recently about standing for what you believe and yet being “gentle as doves?”
Dr. Donna Marie Hunter: Being unoffended is one of the most freeing dispositions to hold. My ministry, Grace and Space, has been my focal point and banner even before hosting a Television Show. I intentionally focus on forgiveness or grace, which lowers the tendency toward being easily offended and judgmental. Giving space allows for time and distance and to gain perspective, enabling us to see our predispositions and biases more clearly toward people, places, and things. God continues to teach me lessons on being unoffended, which produces the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” Hebrews 12:11 invites. Growing closer to God and letting people off the hook has helped me love my brother and sister as myself. It allows me to esteem the individual while recognizing the imperfection of our humanity; it has freed my soul. When we rise above being offended, it elevates our ability to impact and influence others positively. We become light in the shadows when darkness appears. We take on a righteousness that is not of our own and are able to suspend our ranking and judgment of someone else’s motives, intentions, and actions.
Kathleen: How can we choose right relationships? What’s the one thing we should consider in choosing a meaningful relationship?
Dr. Donna: Relationships are God’s chosen method to heal. We are broken in relationships, and we are healed in relationships. Isolation is usually an invitation to offense, creating barriers. Barring times of consecration when God is setting us apart for intentional growth and ministry, we need one another for our health and healing. When choosing to enter a relationship with someone, it’s imperative to hold the mirror up to ourselves and acknowledge our imperfections. Then, we’re more open to connecting with flawed individuals we choose to be in a relationship with. Appreciating the uniqueness of an individual while simultaneously offering grace and holding true to your boundaries (giving space) is the sweet spot of loving thy neighbor as you love yourself (Matthew 22:39). I’m not sure it’s possible to be in a healthy relationship unless we honor the Spirit of God within ourselves. God’s love flows through us first and then to others, touching us first and extending out.
Kathleen: Relationships are also about drawing boundaries. How can we decide where we need to draw them?
Dr. Donna: Boundaries are the language of love. I love you, and I love me; thus, I want the best for both of us. Understanding my limits and limitations allows me to fully love and express unbridled care for another. Boundary setting starts from a place of honesty and authenticity within, recognizing our brokenness and need for a holy God heal and save our souls. Our propensity toward sin, selfishness, and neediness has the potential to invite extremes and may cloud our ability to communicate authentically and avoid unhealthy situations and people. It is both loving and honest to say, “thank you, however, that does not work for me right now.” We offer grace and space by communicating our portion of the wrongdoing, taking responsibility for the mishap, asking for forgiveness, communicating an ending, and giving space or time for God to heal.
Kathleen: Our influence impacts our relationships, and relationships impact our influence. They work in tandem. What have you learned about how we can influence others?
Dr. Donna: Influence, both intentional and unintentional, is a weighty gift. Hence, my goal is to be intentional in loving and purpose-filled in my impact in the communities where I serve and inspirational in sharing my faith and the message of hope that fuels my passion. Influence is the telltale seeds we’ve sown over our lifespan, the fruit that remains after we have passed by, passed through, and passed on. It bears witness to the gravity of our impact. The legacy we desire to leave in this world is a direct result of our influence and interactions with family, friends, and foes. My favorite hashtag is #MyHopesAreUp. These words are indicative of a life, legacy, and influence I desire to intentionally leave upon the earth.
Connect with Dr. Donna:
Grace & Space Season 1: https://rvntelevision.com/tv-show/grace-space/
Facebook & YouTube: @drdonnamariehunter