11 Feb 2013
A Simple Way to Deepen Love
I’m hearing Aretha in my head, wailing the anthem that carried many women into a new paradigm in their personal and professional relationships. I’m seeing images of Gloria Steinem from her recent HBO documentary, giving her interviewers and deriders her full attention and straightforward responses. And I’m appreciating all the interactions I’ve had with Gay over the years that built this solid, yet flexible structure. Respect has poured the foundation for all of the experiences.
When I look up “respect” in my dandy visual thesaurus, up come words like honor, prize, esteem. These words just point to the power of looking at your partner, friend or colleague as someone you genuinely value. So many people think their relationships entitle them to expect certain behaviors and attitudes from their partners no matter what their own behavior wields. I know that one huge shift in my relationship made all the difference in generating respect. I committed to seeing Gay as my ally. And then I recommitted when it looked like he was doing something that an enemy would do, like countering something I’d said. From the victim filter, it sounded like he was criticizing me. From my commitment to seeing him as my ally, it looked like caring feedback to expand my effectiveness. I chose seeing him as my ally. And lo, he always was, and I experienced giving and receiving that flow of respect.
I came to FEEL the respect that flows between us. I experience it as a facing into life, being completely met energetically, as if I’m leaning out into the wind and Gay’s presence beside me creates the broadest sails. My breath deepens, and my timing gets easy and precise with no effort. I relax into what wants to happen because I know, feel and have a track record of listening deeply, considering, valuing and being valued. I wish this experience for everyone, because when life shifts, as it always does, respect holds. Would you be willing to cultivate respect in your close relationships?
Drs. Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks
Drs. Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks were two of our featured love luminaries in The Art of Love Relationship Series. If you want to learn more about the series, please click here. Over 50 of the world’s foremost experts on love and relationships shared their most recent wisdom and insights into creating and sustaining deep, connected, passionate relationships. This series was the biggest GLOBAL event on LOVE ever!