The issue of respect, is often misunderstood. Often, it is said Respect is not given, instead it is always earned. This simply isn’t so. Respect is not earned, instead it is always entrusted. When one respects another, they entrust them with faith in their decency, in their humanity, but more so even still in their nobility.
Respect is to Balance, as
Honor is to Truth.
Often, while teaching students of the Way at CrossSwords Battle School, the topic of respect comes up. Usually, it is mentioned in relationship to bowing toward partners and opponents before duels, or after matches. But the Way must always rush to mention that this display is not merely respect, it is more connected with Honor: bowing is an act of respect that oaths to fight with honor. In the Way, Honor is associated with the principle of Truth. Honor says: “may what is true about my skill and yours, about my determination and yours, and about my character and yours be made known in truth to us and all.” Such it is that one who strikes an opponent while disarmed can have their honor called into question, for this does not reveal their skill. Their skill was revealed when their opponent lost their weapon, and nothing is gained by another attack. However, Respect is more akin to the great principle of Balance. Respect says: “I will entrust you with my faith and my belief in you, that in balance you may do the same to me and we will be made at harmony with one another.”
Why this is important today, even outside of those who train the Way, is to not confuse these two great marks of nobility with one another. To say “you must earn my respect” is to throw any relationship into imbalance, for it puts the burden of both sides of good faith on the one demanded of. Instead, entrusting respect in one’s neighbor has the two fold effect of harmonizing the one who respects with the world, and also empowering the one being shown respect with the necessary motus for acting with honor!
For what such a one intends to communicate, should they have meant well, is that they want their companion to display such Honor. What they mean by “earn respect” is actually more of a request to “show the truth of your character.” Certainly, one can withhold respect in the void of such awareness. It may even be prudent to do so! However, it is vital that Honor and Respect are not overly mingled. For if one is set on withholding their respect until completely aware (i.e. seen the truth of) another’s character, then they will hold onto it forever. Instead, entrusting respect draws the truth of the respected one to that one’s own awareness. It is this Truth which will temper them toward Honor. It is not for us to judge who is worth of respect, and who honor can be demanded. No one but God sees the hearts of all. Nothing but the Way discerns the complete spirits of humankind.
Because of this, the task ahead of each individual is not to demand displays of Honor from another, before entrusting them with respect. Instead, they move within by Honor, and to their neighbor by Respect.
Each one must abide their own oaths of Honor, and become empowered within themselves as they are tempered by the Truth. Each one must entrust Respect to others in faith, that this will manifest Beauty into the world we all share. This is the true power of the Way, that by grace: the knowledge of our own need for growth can direct our actions toward it, rather than condemning us by lack of it. It changes the truth from a thing to fear, into an opportunity for sacrificing ourself today, to grow our better-selves tomorrow! It changes the needs of others around us from competitions with our own needs in opportunities for service: for being filed by the Way itself lets us pour without restraint into those around us.
If you are reading this today, take this encouragement with me. Though the Way is no easy path, it will gain both the power of truth and the elegance of beauty to those who take up its cross.
The task ahead is twofold:
- Sacrifice our desire to critique others and prefer to challenge ourselves, and
- Take hold of the good we see in others…by doing this we water its seed and grow good in the world.
This is the #HumbleRebellion.
This is the Way.