Respect is the most important building block of the ABCs. Respect is a pattern of behavior that is found in healthy relationships. You have to give respect in order to get it, and it is something everyone deserves.
People who respect each other trust and support each other and value each other's independence. They also have the freedom to be themselves, talk honestly and freely, and make decisions and compromises together. They respect boundaries and encourage each other to spend time with friends and family.
The best way to be respectful is by making sure you are respecting yourself. You should have opinions, express your opinions, and feel good about a relationship. You should not feel pressured to do something just because it seems like everyone else is doing it, or because someone else is trying to get you to do something.
Show respect not only with your actions but also with your words. Belittling, put-downs, and unreasonable accusations are forms of verbal and emotional abuse. They are not a part of a healthy relationship.
Some examples include: someone calling you stupid, ugly, or fat (in front of others or when you are alone); or someone ignoring you when certain people are around, calls you constantly, is jealous of everyone, or needs to know where you are at all times.
How does respect fit into the ABCs? You can have and give more respect through:
- Awareness: Be aware that you deserve respect whether or not you are being respected.
- Balance: Have mutual respect for the relationship and for one another.
- Choices: Make conscious choices that are respectful of yourself, your relationship, and whoever else is involved.
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