As Joe and Janet sat with their banker in his small cubical at their local branch, they became increasingly irritated with one another.
Joe was angry and ashamed because he thought Janet didn’t respect or trust him, especially with money.
Janet was surprised because she thought he was being unreasonable in that moment.
The two of them had been dating exclusively for about a year and had decided to take the next step and move in together.
With that decision came a whole lot of other decisions that challenged their relationship but…
This one really hit some unexpected hot buttons!
Because they were merging their households, they wanted to open a joint checking account but there was one glitch…
They needed another account to tie overdraft protection to and Janet refused to use her savings account that had $25,000 in it for that purpose.
Since Joe had $200 in his savings account, they couldn’t use that one for overdraft protection so they left without it.
In the car, he blew up and told Janet that she didn’t respect or trust him.
She argued that she did but that she wanted to keep that money separate.
That particular argument died down but their disconnection didn’t.
That’s what brought them to us for coaching…
As we talked with them, here are a few “ahas” they realized about respect…
1. Respect is completely subjective and made up
Each person has his or her own idea of what respect means to them and we forget that.
For Janet, she respects other people by being on time and doing what she says she’ll do.
She feels respected when other people listen to her and they follow through with what they say they’ll do.
For Joe, he mixes respect and trust together in his mind and if another person’s actions don’t fit in with the way he thinks they should act toward him…
He feels that he’s not respected or trusted.
As they listened to each other, they saw that they were each making up what “respect” means and they certainly hadn’t been speaking the same language when the accusations flew.
2. Respect is transitory
You can feel respect in one moment and not the next no matter what the other person is saying or doing.
When Joe settled down, he realized that at times he really did feel Janet’s respect.
When he believed his thoughts that were loving toward her and how kind she was to him, he felt her respect.
When he believed his thoughts that she was being selfish about “her” money and didn’t trust him because she thought he’d spend all of it…
He didn’t feel her respect.
When Janet settled down, she realized that there was a lot of fear around losing her savings that came and went and had nothing to do with Joe.
She wanted to keep control of her money because then she felt like she’d be safe.
But she realized that this was all thinking she was believing in the moment and she could make a choice whether to believe that thinking or not.
They both realized what they had each been making up wasn’t very helpful.
3. Respect is an inside job
You are responsible for respecting yourself and not look to others for what you perceive you need to feel respected.
With that being said, you can certainly make a choice whether to be in a relationship with someone who you perceive isn’t treating you the way you want.
Joe realized that he had carried around shame about how he had spent money in the past and that he was the one who didn’t trust or respect himself when it came to this topic.
He could start over with a new attitude toward money.
Janet realized that she didn’t have to let the fear of losing money rule her life. She saw that she could treat each situation in a fresh, new way with an open mind.
The two of them discovered that this crisis over “respect” wasn’t about that at all.
If you’re upset because you’re not being respected, take a step back and just for a moment, remove whatever’s going on without labeling “respect.”
Allow your thinking to settle and with it, your feelings will settle as well.
When your thinking settles, you will be guided to what your next step is.